Pictured above: A behind the scenes look from our adjudication table as one of our DECAdance soloists receives their live critique!




Age Divisions:

Petite: 6 and Under

Mini: 7 - 9

Junior: 10 - 12

Teen: 13 - 15

Senior: 16 - 19

Dancers will compete in the category of their age as of January 1st.

DECAdance Competition Levels:

Debut: dancers new to competition

Intermediate: skill-based

Advanced: skill-based

DECAdance competition levels are not determined by hours of class taken in a week, they are based upon skill.

We are happy to answer questions to help you decide which level is best suited for your dancer(s). The following guidelines will help you get started:

  • Turn sequences exceeding 5 or more turns will be considered advanced.

  • Routines with mastery of an advanced skill, excessive speed, intricate patterns and rhythms will be considered advanced.

  • Routines with tumble passes out of multiple turns, tucks and multiple switching leaps will also be considered advanced.

    • If a skill is advanced and is not executed with mastery, it can be considered an intermediate routine.

If all 4 judges unanimously agree that a dance should be moved up or down to the appropriate level, the routine will be moved to that level and scored accordingly.

Dancers may not compete in all 3 levels.


With our DECAdistinctive method of adjudication, dancers and their choreographers get more genre-specific technique scores plus they are guaranteed to receive feedback from a pre-screened judge who is an expert in the genre they’re competing in -
because we staff every judge’s panel to ensure it. ACRO, TAP, + HIP HOP INCLUDED! For a detailed description of our distinctive scoring system with weighted technique scores, please click here.

Every routine will be scored by four judges. Each judge will have a total score of 75 points.

Adjudication Breakdown:

Technique: 25

Performance: 15

Level of Difficulty: 10

Choreography: 10

Presentation: 10

Age Appropriateness: 5

The technique score from the judge that specializes in each specific genre carries a higher rank in the overall tabulation - and their critique is even offered live for soloists in that category. For instance, a group jazz routine will receive critiques and scores from all four judges, but the technique score from the judge designated to the jazz genre carries more weight. If the piece is a solo, in addition to the weighted technique score from the jazz judge, the dancer receives 30-45 seconds of live feedback from that jazz-specific judge.

We are happy to answer any questions about this method of scoring! We've also provided a detailed explanation here.

In the event of a tie, the technique score will be used.



DECAdent Diamond: 295 - 300

Diamond: 289 - 294.9

Platinum: 279 - 288.9

High Gold: 269 - 278.9

Gold: 259 - 268.9

High Silver: 258 & Below

Intermediate & Debut:

Diamond: 289 - 300

Platinum: 270 - 288.9

High Gold: 260 - 269.9

Gold: 250 - 259.9

High Silver: 249.9 & Below

DECAdent Choreography Award: recognizing the routine that the judges feel exemplifies extraordinary choreography. All group routines are eligible.

DECAdent Entertainment Award: recognizing the routine that the judges felt was most entertaining and executed with abundant performance energy. All group routines are eligible.

DECAdent Dancer Award: recognizing dancers who stand out because of their passion and execution as well as commitment to their piece.

DECAdent Technique Award: recognizing the studio with the overall highest technique score. Overall technique is determined by the 5 highest scoring group routines from each studio. This award will be presented in the intermediate and advanced divisions.

DECAdance Special Awards are a creative celebration of any and all routines that our DECAdance Specials Awards Judge feels called to recognize. All five adjudicators may weigh in on DECAdance Special Awards during each session. They are a fun and fabulous way to build confidence in performers of all ages and levels.

Highest Scoring: The highest scoring routine in each genre will also be recognized! The following genres must have more than 3 entries in order to be recognized.

  • Acro

  • Ballet/Pointe

  • Contemporary/Lyrical/Modern

  • Jazz/Jazz Fusion

  • Hip-Hop

  • Tap

  • Musical Theatre/Open


All Soloists in the Intermediate and Advanced divisions are eligible for title. To determine the DECAdance Title Winner, the highest scoring solo routine in each genre is selected. If there is a dancer with multiple highest scoring solos, the highest is eligible. From those routines, the top three highest technique scores determine the 2nd Runner Up, 1st Runner Up and Title Winner. DECAdance Competition does not divide title by gender.


  • If a dancer has multiple solos, only the highest scoring solo can place in the overalls.

  • Top overalls will be awarded to solos, duo/trios, groups, lines and productions that have a minimum of three routines in each division.

  • Select winners will be awarded additional scholarships, prizes and opportunities at the discretion of the judges. All dances are eligible.


All season long, DECAdance Competition will recognize the highest scoring routine of each event in the Intermediate and Advanced levels for 12 and under and 13 and over. All highest scoring advanced routines will be eligible for the LEGACY CUP. After the final regional event of the season, the final three highest scoring routines from the season will be announced. Those routines will be invited to perform once more at our Nationals event in July 2024. They'll be featured after the opening number for the DECADance-Off on the final day of the competition. After all three routines perform, they will be brought on stage with the previous winner and the NEW LEGACY CUP WINNERS will be announced and presented with the cup!

Legacy Cup recipients will house the physical award until the first group event of the season, taking place in February. All Legacy Cup winners will receive a plaque to have in their studio for years to come!


"I really feel you saw them - they are not gymnasts, they are dancers."

"My granddaughters attended the Lancaster, PA competition this past weekend, April 1. I just wanted to say, this by far was one of my favorite comps. Not just because my granddaughter's did well, but I really feel you saw in them what I have always seen.

They are not gymnasts... they are dancers. In other contests they are never awarded for their grace in movements & acting out their dances. I'm just so glad for them, I really feel they were/are getting a little disheartened with competitions. This past weekend gave them a new life. Thank you."

- Proud family member (Lancaster, PA 2023)


Each DECAdance Event will host four judges on the panel. Each judge holds various areas of specialty. Each routine's technique score only will be weighted slightly higher by its specialty judge. For example, if a Jazz routine is on stage, the Jazz judge's technique score will be weighted slightly higher. All soloists will receive a live critique after their performance on stage by their specialty judge.

DECAdance judges are all highly qualified. All dances will compete in their registered category and if any dance does not follow the guidelines for each level, DECAdance reserves the right to place any and all dances in the category or level the judges deem appropriate to ensure a fair and level playing field for all competitors. If all four judges unanimously decide that a dancer should be moved up a level, the studio director will be notified.

DECAdance stands firmly behind dancers dancing to age appropriate music, in age appropriate costumes and performing age appropriate movement. If age appropriateness is neglected, that will reflect in the score the dance receives.

DECAdance reserves the right to disqualify any number that is deemed inappropriate. In the event disqualification is the action, the choreographer/studio director will be contacted directly in regards to the matter. DECAdance Competition reserves the right to withhold the release of any photos or videos that are deemed inappropriate.


Every entry will be placed in one of the following categories based on the descriptions that follow:

Solo- 1 Dancer

Duo- 2 Dancers

Trio-3 Dancers

Small Group- 4-9 Dancers

Large Group- 10-17 Dancers

Line- More than 18 Dancers*

Production- More than 18 Dancers**

*Routines entered as a Line are to be entered as one style of dance AND only have zero to minimal handheld props.

**Routines entered as a Production can have multiple styles of dance and will compete under the "Production" title. Productions can include props, sets and scenery etc.

Please note, that Line and Production routines will not be combined in overall awards.


Music will be uploaded through the registration portal. Studio directors are advised to provide backup copies on iPod/iPad/Cd.

All music must be uploaded no later than 7 days prior to the event. Any music uploaded within 7 days of the start time of the event will be subject to a $25 late fee. If you have any difficulties, please contact us at


Time Limitations:

Solo: 2:45

Duo/Trio 3:00

Small & Large Groups 3:00

Line up to 6:00

Production up to 10:00

Any routine needing additional time must contact DECAdance directly.

$1 per additional minute per dancer.


No props should exceed 8 feet.

No liquid or fire.

Any items needing to be swept must be removed by a representative from the performing studio.

Props should be set up within 2 minutes of the first piece entering the stage and removed within 2 minutes from the time the dancers exit the stage. Prop set up and removal times that are exceeded will result in a point deduction in the overall score from each judge.


Any studio wishing to attend must hold their spot with a $500 deposit. Full payment must be received 30 days prior to the event. Payments after the deadline will be subject to a 10% late fee. Payments can be made via check, venmo or credit card.

In the event a deposit is made and you do not submit payment by the event registration deadline, the deposit is non refundable. In the event you need to cancel your reservation for a DECAdance event, that deposit can be rolled over into a later event within the same season.

Flexible deposit and payment options are available. Competition events must be paid for 10 days in advance. In studio convention events must be paid in full 48 hours prior to the event. Events canceled or postponed due to state guidelines will be refunded. Deposits are non-refundable but can always be used for future competition events or in studio convention events within the same season/year.

Any routines not paid for in full by the day before the start of the event will not be permitted to compete.


For the safety of dancers, please refrain from having multiple teachers backstage.

We also ask that parents refrain from the check-in and backstage areas.

Studio staff will have DECA ID tags. This will allow you backstage and up at the booth in the case of emergency or technical issue

After the completion of your studio's routine please clear the backstage area.

Security staff will be placed throughout the venue to ensure that doorways, halls and other entry and exit routes are clear in the event of an emergency.


All DECAdance events will be professionally photographed and recorded. These files are included at no additional cost.

All studio directors will have access to photos, videos and judges critiques within 30 days of the event.

All files will be password protected for the safety of each and every dancer.

No photography or videography is permitted.

Any studio filming another studio's routines will be disqualified from overalls and compete for adjudication only.

Any person filming routines from another studio will be asked to leave the premises.

Any event that is live streamed will be password protected for the safety of the dancers.

This information is not shared publicly by DECAdance Competition.

Please contact your studio owner directly for any links for photos, videos and livestreams.

All events are intended to be live-streamed. Each venue holds certain limitations on internet and there is no guarantee that the livestream will be available for every event.


We are proud to partner with these amazing industry leaders who are paving the way for a healthy and inclusive dance industry for ALL. Not just dancers, but adjudicators, studio owners, artistic leaders, educators, families and their communities as well.

Read more about our partnerships and their contributions to DECAdance Conventions and Competitions here!

Get In Touch

If you are ready to reserve a competition date or have any questions, let us know!

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