Competitive Dance

McKenzie French

What is it?

Competitive dance is a popular activity in which competitors perform any type of dance on stage. Styles such as acro, ballet, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, modern/contemporary, and tap. These dances are performed in front of a group of judges that score their opinion on the dance. The season starts in September and goes until the next July.


Dance studios arrange for their classes to compete in groups. Groups range from 4 people to over 20. Advanced dancers may be chosen to compete solo(s), duo(s), trio(s), and maybe even advanced small groups. They then take these groups, etc. to competitions during competition season. This is from January until July. The judges at the competition score you based on performance, technique, costume, and how they like the concept of the dance. Scoring is usually out of 300 points, but that can change depending on the competition. Competition regionals (based on size) will go from 2 pm that Friday until 2 am that Sunday. Nationals are in the summer and can go from Tuesday until Sunday.

Social & Cultural Impact

People dance for many reasons- to mourn, to heal, to celebrate, to entertain, to understand the body, and to preserve cultural heritage. Dance can connect people to people or people to nature without thinking about it. Dance can have many purposes such as expression, connection, communication, therapy, recreation, or entertainment. It may function in personal, social, religious, and spiritual environments.
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Contemporary dance began at the start of the 20th century and then dancer Isadora Duncan (1878–1927) broke away from ballet and developed her own style. Then soon after, more styles were developed. Its hard to find when the competitions began.

Economic Impact

Economics affects the way people spend their money and their time. During prosperous times, people are more willing to spend money, and they are also more willing to spend time doing things other than working, like dancing. People could be suffering financially, but dance and culture are still able to prosper.

Political Impact

Dance has been used to celebrate American culture, to voice social protest, and to raise social consciousness. People have said "the U.S. government employed dance as a vehicle for cultural diplomacy and to counter anti-American sentiment".

Rules include...

  • Time limits
  • Acrobatic requirements or limits
  • Costume guidelines
  • Music requirements
  • Use of props
  • Production guidelines
  • Scoring systems
  • Levels