Rules & Regulations

Important Information for the Competitor and Studio
Table of Contents
Age Groups, Size Divisions, Genres and Performance Levels

1. Age Groups

Each entry will be placed into one of the following age groups, based on their average age as of January 1 of the competing year. Average age is calculated by adding the ages of all performers, and dividing by the number of performers. When calculating averages, drop the decimal.

*No more than 50% of the dancers can be higher than the average age or the routine will be moved to the next age group. So if a group has an average age of 10 and there are 16 dancers, but 9 are above the age of 13, the group will be moved to the 13-15 category.

* It may be possible, at the request of the director, to bump a routine to the next highest age group (i.e. from teen to senior). Such an age bump is possible only if the average age of that routine is at the highest age in the current range. For example, a routine with an average age of 15 may be bumped from teen (13-15) to senior (16-18) at the request of a director. However, a routine with an average age of 14.9 can not be bumped from teen to senior.

Age Group
6 years old and younger
7-9 years old
10-12 years old
13-15 years old
16-18 years old
19 years old and older

2. Size Divisions

All routines will be classified as one of the following size divisions:

*Productions may combine all ages and abilities, and may be a combination of dance styles but should revolve around a storyline or theme. Productions may enter and will compete against one another in combined designated age groups; 12 & Under (combines Mini, Petite & Junior age groups), and 13 & Over (combines Teen, Senior, and Adult age groups). Productions may not compete in the Novice level, only in the Intermediate & Competitive levels.

1 performer
Duet or Trio
2-3 performers
Small Group
4-9 performers
Large Group
10-19 performers
20+ performers
20+ performers

3. Genres

a routine containing acrobatic movement/gymnastics; routine must contain 50% dance choreography.
a routine containing classical ballet technique. No acrobatic tricks are allowed in this category.
a routine portraying a recognizable character. May incorporate any form of dance.
a routine consisting of cheerleading, Pom Pon, Drill Team and Kick Line
a routine containing clogging technique or style.
a routine using contemporary technique and movement to interpret the music.
a routine incorporating one or more ethnic styles of dance.
a routine using primarily hip hop technique and moves.
a routine containing primarily jazz technique.
a routine that contains a combination of jazz, hip-hop and contemporary technique and influence.
a routine in which dancers interpret the lyrics of a song using lyrical technique and maintaining the theme of the music.
a routine that is choreographed utilizing modern movements and technique.
a routine that is theatrical in nature, and is choreographed to music from the theater or cinema.
a routine that combines more than one style of dance or that doesn't fit into any other category.
a routine that contains pointe technique. No acrobatic tricks are allowed in this category. Pointe shoes must be worn.
a routine containing tap technique. No pre-recorded tap sounds are allowed in the music. Tap shoes must be worn.
a routine performed as if in a concert. Must be a slow or love song.
a routine performed as if in a concert that is not classified as a ballad.
a routine performed in character to a song that would typically appear in a musical or other broadway production.
a routine comprised of spoken words only.

* Acrobatic tricks in routines: No acrobatic tricks are allowed in ballet and pointe. Lyrical, contemporary, jazz, modern and tap are limited to three acro tricks. All other categories may have an unlimited number of acrobatic tricks.

* Acrobatic tricks are defined as movements learned in an acrobatic class such as cartwheel, forward roll, etc. A pass into an acro trick (for example, roundoff back handspring) counts as one acrobatic trick. Lifts, illusions, and shoulder rolls are not considered acrobatic tricks.

* Student Choreography: Please note that a routine is student choreographed (choreographed by a current dancer participating in this competition) by checking the box on the entry screen. All student-choreographed routines are eligible for a special award.

** See "Vocal Competition" section (below) for additional information.

4. Special Competition Opportunities

Improv Challenge: The Royal Dance Competition is offering a unique opportunity for all dancers: an improv competition. Anyone can register for Improvisation and it is available for solos, duos/trios and groups, but is not eligible for overall awards. Improvisation is offered at a special price.

Dancers can choose to improv in the genres of lyrical, contemporary, hip hop, tap, ballet, or jazz. Dancers in this category will not hear the music prior to going on stage, but should dress appropriately for the genre.

Once the dancer is on stage, the music will begin. The music will last 1 minute, and dancers must start dancing within 15 seconds.

The Improv Challenge scoring will be different from regular scoring and will be based on the following:

Improvisation Ability
Stage Presence

If there are fewer than 10 entries in the Improv Challenge, all ages, levels, and size divisions will compete against one another. If there are 10 or more entries in the Improv Challenge, there will be 2 divisions; 12 and under, 13 & over (all levels and size divisions will still combined).

Entries in the Improv Challenge will be given an adjudication ranging from 1 Crown to 3 Crowns, with 3 Crowns being the highest. The highest scoring Improv Challenge entry will be crowned the Improv Challenge Champion.

The Royal Dance Competition reserves the right to limit the number of entries into the Improv Challenge at any event as deemed necessary.

Photogenic Challenge: The Royal Dance Competition offers two photogenic awards: 12 and under and 13 and older. Photogenic entries are submitted/registered for the actual competition at the merchandise table. Entries must be received by 9am on the last day of competition to be eligible for the photogenic award. The photogenic awards winner may be featured on The Royal Dance Competition's website and marketing material and will receive a trophy. The winners will be announced during the first awards ceremony in the final day of competition for each event (unless stated otherwise). Performers must submit a 5x7 or 8x10 color or black/white photo with name, age, and studio name on the back. Digital entries are also accepted. Digital entries may be uploaded during registration or emailed to and paid for at the merchandise table. Entries can be picked up at the end of the competition, except for the winner's, which will become property of The Royal Dance Competition.

Vocal Competition: The Royal Dance Competition's Vocal Competition allows for not only dancers, but singers & vocalists a chance to perform and compete on stage. For vocal entries, all levels compete against one another in two age groups: 12 & Under, 13 & Over. Vocal entries can be registered as soloists, duo/trio, and all groups combined.

Vocalists can choose from Ballad, Uptempo, Broadway and Monologue. Ballad and Uptempo are performed concert-style, while Broadway is performed in character. Monologue entries are accepted using the Monologue genre. TRDC provides hand-held microphones and stands.

Vocal scoring will be different from regular scoring and will be based on the following:

Improvisation Ability
Stage Presence

Royal Performance Category: The Royal Dance Competition now offers "Performance" as a type of routine, along with Dance, Vocal, Improv and Photogenic. This Royal Performance type is designed for routines with special needs dancers, or for routines that are more focused on portraying a message or story rather than on competing against other routines or seeking a specific score.

Routines participating as a "Royal Performance" will receive video commentaries, but the judges will focus on positive aspects of the performance rather than technical critiques. These routines will not receive adjudications, but will receive a "Royal Performance" trophy plus ribbons/pins (for routines with 2+ dancers) for all participants.

1 performer
Duet or Trio
2-3 performers
Small Group
4-9 performers
Large Group
10-19 performers
20+ performers
20+ performers

5. Performance Levels

Our goal at The Royal Dance Competition is to create an atmosphere that allows all dancers to spread their wings. We have created three levels so all dancers can compete in their proper category.

* Studio directors should place their dancers at the level they feel is most accurate and would ensure the best level of competition for their dancers. This is at their discretion based on our performance level guidelines and definitions. Directors are encouraged to choose each dancer's level carefully so that each dancer will be challenged, but will compete against others at a similar developmental level.

* However, if a dancer exceeds the maximum number of routines for a level (as listed in the table below), that dancer's level will automatically be bumped to the next highest level. This will affect the level of all routines for which that dancer is registered and the level of all such routines will automatically be re-calculated.

* The performance level of all routines will be auto-calculated and determined by the performance level of all performers in the routine. For solo routines, the level of the routine must match the level of the dancer and may not be bumped to a higher or lower level. All solos performed by a single dancer must compete at the same level.

* If the routine includes dancers from multiple levels, the routine will default to the level in which the majority of dancers are classified. If the routine contains an equal number of dancers from multiple levels, the routine will default to the highest participating level.

* All routines can include dancers of all levels, but a routine can't compete lower than one level below the highest-level dancer. So if a trio were to have one Novice dancer, one Intermediate dancer, and one Competitive dancer; the trio cannot perform lower than the Intermediate level.

* Competitive routines cannot included novice-level dancers and Novice routines cannot included competitive-level dancers. This is for all routines except for Lines & Productions.

* If a teacher participates in a routine, that routine must compete at the Pro-Am level.

* The judges reserve the right to bump up the level of any routine they feel is mislabeled. For example, if they feel a Novice routine is too advanced, they have the option of bumping the routine to the Intermediate level.

* In an effort to keep the levels as accurate as possible, The Royal Dance Competition is placing restrictions on the number of routines dancers at each level can perform. These limits do not include vocal, improv, photogenic or Royal Performance entries:

These dancers need gentle support and guidance. Recreational dancers enjoy the art of dance but have just begun. Encouragement is the key word here. These dancers are in class less than 3 hours per week. Novice dancers can perform in 1 to 9 routines.
These dancers have taken a step out of the recreational branch of dance. Their comments need to be more constructive to better guide them. These dancers are in class between 3 and 6 hours per week. Intermediate dancers can perform 1 to 13 routines, but dancers registered as Novice with 10 to 13 routines will automatically be changed to Intermediate.
These dancers are in it 100%. They eat, sleep, and breath dance and they have the blood, sweat, tears, and calluses to prove it. They want honest straight-forward and constructive criticism. These dancers are in class more than 6 hours per week. Competitive dancers can perform in any number of routines, but dancers registered as Novice or Intermediate with 14 or more routines will be automatically changed to Competitive.
These dancers are non-students and employed by the studio they represent.
Scoring and Awards

1. Adjudicated Scoring

We strongly believe that positive-reinforcement is an invaluable educational tool, essential to the construction of a child's self-esteem. Our Judges strive to employ this philosophy in each of their evaluations.


*Scores are averaged for all judges to determine the final score.

Blue Diamond

Routines that achieve a near-perfect score will be recognized and awarded the Ultimate Blue Diamond during one of the event's awards ceremonies. Routines will be announced if they score at least 98 points (open to the Competitive level only).

*All routines will be critiqued by a well-qualified panel of judges and all judging decisions are final.

*Scores & Video critiques will be provided online within 2 to 10 days of the competition online.

2. High Scores and Cash Awards

In addition to adjudicated scoring, entries compete against one another in their respective categories determined by group size, level, and age group. The overall high scores in each category will be announced and recognized for placement.

Plaques/trophies are awarded to the highest score for solos, duos/trios, small group, large group, and line in each of the following age groups and for each level. For these high score awards, all genres will be combined:

  • mini, 6 and under (all levels combined);

  • petite, 7-9 (Novice, Intermediate, Competitive);

  • junior, 10-12 (Novice, Intermediate, Competitive);

  • teen, 13-15 (Novice, Intermediate, Competitive)

  • senior, 16-18 (Novice, Intermediate, Competitive)

  • adult, 19+ (all levels combined)

  • teacher/pro-am

Plaques/trophies are awarded to the highest score for productions in two age groups (12 & under and 13 & over) and two levels (Intermediate and Competitive).

In addition, cash awards will be presented to the top scoring Competitive-level solo, duo/trio, group (small and large), line and production in each age group as follows: $50 for solos/duos/trios; $75 for small/large groups; $100 for line/productions. In order to receive cash awards, there must be a minimum of 10 entries in the applicable size and level. (i.e. for a cash award to be given in the petite small group Competitive level, there must be at least 10 petite small groups at the Competitive level). Cash prizes will be made payable to the studio or studio director. At regional events, scholarships to nationals are given to the winners in the Intermediate and Novice levels. At national events, scholarships to the following seasons regionals will be given.

*Any solo or duo/trio with identical dancers may only place with their highest scoring routine.

*Each solo, duo, trio and group will receive a trophy and each dancer (excluding solo entries) will receive a ribbon/pin. You must compete in the assigned day and time to be eligible for high score awards.

*Awards are based on composite scores and not on placement within an age group in each category. So multiple blue diamonds, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires will be awarded in each age group for each category.

*For overall categories with more than 75 entries, we may announce the top routines per genre in addition to the overall placement.

3. Title

Soloists in the Intermediate and Competitive levels may choose to enter their routines in The Royal Dance Competition's separate Title category.

All solos being considered for Title will compete in a time block separate from the other solos. Solos entered for Title will be adjudicated and will be awarded Blue Diamond, Diamond, Ruby, Emerald, or Sapphire designation. However, they will not be eligible for overall or high score awards. They will only be considered for Title.

There is no limit to the number of routines each dancer may compete for Title.

Title routines will be charged the rate for solo plus an additional fee. If a dancer chooses to enter the same solo routine for both overall and title, the dancer must enter the number twice (once for title, once not), must pay for the number twice (once at the title rate, once at regular rate), and must perform the solo twice (once with other overall solos, and once with title entries).

Scoring for Title routines is based on a different set of parameters for all other routines:


All title contestants will be grouped by age and level, regardless of gender. "Your Royal Majesty" will be awarded on both the Intermediate and Competitive levels, and in the age groups of Petite, Junior, Teen and Senior.

Title is not available for the Mini & Adult age group.

4. Judges/Special Awards

In addition to the adjudicated awards, high scores and title, the judges have the option to award special awards at their sole discretion. These awards will be based on what the judges deem to be extraordinary attributes of a routine and are not based on adjudicated scores.

The Royalty Award: The top scoring routine at a regional event will be given this award and a $200 cash prize. All non-solo routines are eligible for this award.

Student Choreography Award: To be eligible for this award, the routine must be choreographed by a student participating as a dancer at this competition. If a routine is choreographed by a student, it can be noted on the entry form. The best student choreographed routine will be recognized at the final awards ceremony of the event.

Additional awards may be presented at out events including our National Finals.

Time Limits, Music and Props

1. Time Limits

The following list contains each size division's recommended time limit:

Time Limit
Duet or Trio
Small Group
Large Group

Routines exceeding these time limits must contact TRDC to make further arrangements.

Please make sure all music is cut to the proper length. The length of the routine is determined from the first note of music to the last note of music.

2. Music

All music must be age appropriate and free of any apparent profanity or vulgar language. The Royal Dance Competition is a family-friendly competition. Infractions of this rule may result in deduction of score or disqualification.

Music is only accepted in digital format.

Music MUST be submitted and assigned properly on your studio's registration account, and must be completed on the same date as the event online registration deadline.

If the music stops for any reason, the dancers will be given the opportunity to re-perform without penalty.

Studios are highly encouraged to bring and be prepared to provide backup music should the Royal Dance Competition encounter any technical difficulties with your electronic music. Royal Dance will not adjust the speed or make cuts to any music. When submitting an ipod/ipad at the event (for ipod/ipads submitted, please remove cases, place in airplane mode and provide a charger). The ipod/ipad must contain an individual playlist for EACH entry containing a single track labeled with entry number and entry title matching the submitted title in numerical order. For example: "130 - I Believe". All ipads/ipods must be labeled with the studio name.

3. Props

Studios are welcome to bring props. However, they must be set up and taken down in a timely manner by studio representatives. Any set up or tear down longer than 2 minutes must be approved by Royal Dance prior to the competition, or risk a deduction for the performance. No backdrops other than the Royal Dance backdrop can be used, and no dangerous props are allowed. The floor must be cleared of any feathers, paper or debris immediately following the performance. No powders, gels, aerosols, glitter or liquids of any kind may be used that would alter the condition of the marley floor. All routines must perform in full stage light and no strobe lights or fog machines may be used due to health concerns. Royal Dance is not responsible for any props left in the venue overnight or unattended. Prop coordinators are required to follow all Royal Dance stage crew's instructions at all times.

* Any pre-positioned prop setup may be noted on the entry registration screen.

Sportsmanship, Appropriateness, Registration, Schedule, Discounts and Fees, and Other Rules

1. Sportsmanship

The Royal Dance Competition wants every dancer to feel accomplished. We know how much work these dancers put into preparing for these competitions and encourage everyone to congratulate the dancers on a job well done. All competitors, teachers, family and audience members should treat the dancers and one another with respect and courtesy, and the hard work of the performers and directors and choreographers should be acknowledged. We reserve the right to ask anyone not following these rules to leave the premises.

2. Appropriateness

The Royal Dance Competition is a family-friendly event. Costuming must be age appropriate and all routines presented on stage must be appropriate for family viewing. Choreography and lyrics which are suggestive or violent or contain mature language are not acceptable. Failure to adhere to the above rules may lead to deductions or even disqualification.

3. Registration

Online registration is offered as the quickest, easiest and most accurate method of entering your information. Please create an account at and then click the Register link. After creating an account, you will create a roster of all performers and then enter routines. Students can be added, deleted or modified by the studio until 4 weeks prior to competition. Age divisions, size categories and routine levels are automatically calculated and are available for teachers to view on this account.

All studios must provide a master list of all performers in this online system, listing the name of each student, date of birth, gender, competition level and email address. The email address is used to complete online waivers and to deliver personalized schedules, at the option of the director. Directors can view which dancers have/have not signed the online waivers by viewing their roster of dancers on the online system. Any parents who have not completed an online waiver prior to an event will be asked to sign a physical waiver at the event prior to competing.

A listing of all routine information (age group, genre, level, group size, overall/title for solos, and participating dancers) will be emailed to studios approximately 2-3 weeks prior to each event (this information can be sent earlier at the studio's request once the studio's registration is complete). All changes to age group, genre, level, group size, overall/title for solos, and roster must be made 14 days prior to the event.

Any changes to genre, level, group size, overall/title for solos, and roster made after the preliminary schedule is published will be assessed a $10 change fee per change.

There are NO changes to level or overall/title allowed once an event has begun. (i.e. a dancer can't change a solo from overall to title, or a routine can't be moved from Intermediate to Competitive once an event has begun)

All entries must be submitted with payment in full either by credit card or by a single studio check payable to The Royal Dance Competition. Payments should be made 4 weeks prior to the competition date. Any remaining balances after 4 weeks prior to the competition start date must be paid by credit card or certified/cashiers check (via certified mail) only and may risk being assessed a 10% late fee. Any remaining balances after 2 weeks prior to the competition start date must be paid immediately paid by credit card or certified/cashiers check (via certified mail) only, or the routines will be removed from the competition. Returned checks will be charged a $40.00 fee and only cashier's checks or money orders will be accepted from that studio in the future. A 3% service charge is assessed to all credit card transactions.

Entry fees are non-refundable on both the regional and national level. Gift certificates for future competitions will be issued only with written documentation of injury or illness, and gift certificates will be issued directly to the studio.

Day-of cancellations due to injured dancers will not be issued credits.

4. Schedule

A schedule will be issued approximately 1 week to 10 days prior to competition and will be made available to studio directors. Directors should review their schedule upon receipt and notify The Royal Dance Competition of any requests for change or conflict online through the Teachers Center within the time allowed.

If your dancers register for an event, they must be available for the entire event. Although The Royal Dance Competition representatives will do their best to accommodate requests for scheduling, please be reasonable with these requests and keep in mind that your request may conflict with others' and may not be able to be accommodated.

Entries can perform on a different day or after their respective awards session, but will not be eligible for any overall awards or titles.

No schedule changes are allowed less than 5 days prior to the competition. The final schedule must be followed, with failure to following the order possibly resulting in loss of participation in the awards ceremony and/or high score awards. Contestants must check in with the backstage manager prior to dancing.

All performers should be ready to perform 1 hour prior to their scheduled time. If the competition is running ahead of schedule, they are expected to be ready earlier. Each studio's concierge will keep the studio informed of any time-related changes, such as the competition running either early or late, or changes to scheduled breaks.

5. Discounts and Fees

Discounts are offered at the discretion of The Royal Dance Competition. Please contact us for information on discounts.

Fees are available upon request, or once a studio login in has been created in our Teacher Center. Any discounts offered will be reflected here.

Entries must be received 4 weeks prior to the competition date. Any entries received less than 4 weeks prior to the competition date will be assessed an additional 10% fee. No entries will be allowed less than 2 weeks prior to the competition date.

6. National Finals

The Royal Dance Competition will host one or more National Final events at the conclusion of the Regional Tour.

A mandatory Nationals Fee for each registered dancer competing in a National Final will automatically be assessed and included in each studio's registration fee totals. There is a discount for siblings

During The Royal Dance Competition's National Final events, certain routines will be invited back to perform in The Royal Circle. In order to be eligible for The Royal Circle, a studio must enter at least 10 traditional dance routines (not including vocal, improv or photogenic). Adult entries are not eligible to participate in the Royal Circle.

There are 8 categories for the Royal Circle. In each category, the top 5 winners will be recognized, and the top 3 will place. The categories are:

Ultimate Royal Soloist:

  • Novice/Intermediate (combined) Solo, ages 12 and under

  • Novice/Intermediate (combined) Solo, ages 13 and older

  • Competitive Solo, ages 12 and under

  • Competitive Solo, ages 13 and older

Ultimate Royalty Award:

  • Novice/Intermediate (combined) Non-Solo, ages 12 and under

  • Novice/Intermediate (combined) Non-Solo, ages 13 and older

  • Competitive Non-Solo, ages 12 and under

  • Competitive Non-Solo, ages 13 and older

If a studio has one or more entries in a given category, their highest scoring entry in that category will be nominated for The Royal Circle. Following these guidelines, every eligible studio (see above) will have between 1 and 8 entries in The Royal Circle.

In addition to these high scoring entries, TRDC reserves the right to add between 10 and 15 "wildcards" to The Royal Circle based solely on the judges' choices. These wildcards may not necessarily be the next highest scoring routines, but rather are chosen as the judges feel they have merit and should be in the running for the event's highest honors. Routines from non-eligible studios (those who have fewer than 10 routines entered in the event or adult entries) are eligible for Wildcard entries.

Also during The Royal Dance Competition's National Final events, a National's Team called "The Reign" will perform prior to the start of The Royal Circle.

Dancers are nominated to "The Reign" at Regional events, at which time they will receive information about the obligations which accompany this performance opportunity.

In order to be eligible for nomination to "The Reign", a dancer must compete a solo (at either the Intermediate or Competitive level) at one of the current season's Regional events. Adult and mini dancers are not eligible for nomination to "The Reign".

7. Additional Rules

The Royal Dance Competition gives all dancers access to all photos and videos from their studio's routines, with unlimited sharing and downloading for free. A link with all media will be sent to studios directly within two weeks of each event.

Smoking is prohibited in/around the competition area. For the health of all performers and attendees, we ask that smokers stand at least 50 yards from the competition venue.

Competitors must represent only one studio in a single season. Independent competitors are not permitted at TRDC Competitions, however, are still permitted at TRDC Conventions.

If a director requests, a routine can be announced with the disclaimer "this routine is missing one (or more) dancer due to injury (or sickness)" only if the choreography or blocking is not changed to reflect the missing dancer/dancers. If the choreography or blocking has been changed, the announcement may not be made.

The Royal Dance Competition and its host venue are not responsible for any personal injury/property loss before, during or after the event.

Photography & Videography of any kind are prohibited inside all competition venues. For the protection of the choreographer's rights and the safety/privacy of our performers, we reserve the right to confiscate all recording devised used during an event and/or disqualify an entry. All performers, teachers and studio owners consent to the use of video, audio and photographs for use in promotional material by the Royal Dance Competition without royalty fee and other compensation. It is the responsibility of studio owners to ensure that their participants and guests adhere to these rules.

Performers, teachers, studio owners and prop coordinators are the only people allowed backstage. Team members may be asked to leave the backstage at the discretion of the backstage manager.

The Royal Dance Competition reserves the right to cancel any and all events due to lack of registration, inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances. In these circumstances, The Royal Dance Competition will determine credits/refunds on a case-by-case basis. The Royal Dance Competition also reserves the right to change an event's location, venue and/or dates. If an event's location should change less than 4 weeks from the start of competition and the new location is 30 miles radius or less from the previous venue, studios do not have the option of canceling registration/participation. If any change in location is greater than 30 miles, studios will be contacted and given the option to cancel their participation with full refund. However, The Royal Dance Competition will not be held responsible for any costs involved in this change, including but not limited to hotel fees, transportation costs or bank fees.