Frequently Asked Questions

Updated 11/14/23

When will my students perform?

 We make a custom schedule for every competition, but this is how we typically (but not always) run an event:

If the event starts on Friday night, we typically start with Petite and/or Junior solos. On Saturday, we will complete Petite and Junior solo competition if needed, move to Petite and Junior Duet/Trios and then finish with Petite and Junior groups. If time permits, we will start Teen and Senior Solos and/or Duet/Trios. All Teen and Senior groups (as well as any solos or duet/trios that did not perform on Saturday) will typically, but not always, compete on Sunday.  A tentative outline of the schedule will be posted to our website two weeks prior to the event. A detailed schedule with performance times for each routine will be emailed to studio directors at least one week prior to the event.   Parents, please contact your studio director for questions about performance times.

I have a quick costume change.  What should we do?

We do our best to allow at least four numbers for costume changes.  Please see the stage manager during the event if an issue arises.  If you have a special request that needs to be handled prior to the event, please email  Unless arranged ahead of time, routines that are not performed within three numbers of the scheduled order are subject to a 5 point deduction.

Do you accept independent dancers?

We do not accept independent dancers.  All dancers must be registered under a studio name and we require a minimum of TWO participating students from each studio. This rule does not apply to soloists that have qualified for Grand Finals and are attending without their studio.  Independent dancers can register for Encore Extreme convention classes, but can only compete a solo if they are entered under a studio name.

Which levels should my students enter?

Shining Star:  An inclusive level for students with intellectual and/or development disabilities.  Overall winners in this level are eligible for Gift Certificates.

Recreational: For those students who participate in dance class and/or extra rehearsals up to 3 hours per week. This provides a less intimidating approach to the competitive experience for those dancers new to competitions or who have less experience.  Recreational Overall winners are eligible for Gift Certificates, but ineligible for cash awards. Students in more than 5 duet/trio or group routines cannot enter a Recreational Solo and must move to competitive for a solo.  Recreational duet/trio and group routines cannot contain Elite dancers. (This rule does not apply to productions.)  Dancers that compete more than one solo must compete in the Competitive or Elite Division.

Competitive: For students that participate in class and/or extra rehearsals for 3-6 hours per week.  Dancers that compete more than one solo should be entered in the competitive or elite division.  Competitive Overall winners are eligible for Gift Certificates, but ineligible for Cash Awards.  The highest adjudication a competitive routine can receive is a Diamond.  Students striving to achieve a Mic Drop should enter the Elite division.

Elite:  Our Elite division is for Junior, Teen and Senior students who participate in class and extra rehearsals for more than 6 hours a week. Elite dancers are the only dancers eligible to receive our Prestigious “Mic Drop” Award.  Elite Overall winners are eligible for Gift Certificates and/or Cash Awards.  Elite dancers cannot compete in recreational duet/trios or groups (other than productions.) Only Elite overall winners and members of the Dream Team (selected at Encore Extreme in the fall) will be invited to perform in the Grand Finals Gala Opening Number.  The following dancers from the current year are invited to participate in this advanced number:

Elite Division 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Overall Solos and Super Solos
All Elite Division 2nd runner up, 1st runner up and Title winners

Elite Division 1st overall duet/trios
Dream Team Members for the current year

Please note that a minimum number of participants are required at regionals in order for a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner to be announced. Only students announced at regionals as 1st, 2nd or 3rd (as explained above) are eligible for the opening number. Students ages 9 and over that did not pre-qualify are invited to audition at Grand Finals to be a part of the Opening Number.

Pro-Am: Any routine containing a professional must compete in the Pro-Am age division. A professional is defined as any person 20 years of age or older who is or has ever been a teacher, assistant teacher, or professional dancer. A group division containing only one professional forces that group division to compete in Pro-Am.  Pro-Am entries are ineligible for cash awards.  

Mini and Petite entries cannot compete in the Elite level. Any division changes must be made by teachers prior to the first day of competition. Because dance competitions have no way of knowing how many hours a week a student trains, placement is ultimately left to the teacher’s discretion.  However, if 2/3 judges on the judges’ panel see repeated elements of a higher level, they reserve the right to move the routine to the next highest level. 

 No more than 40% of the dancers in a duet/trio or group routine can be dancers from a higher level.  For example, if there are 10 dancers in a recreational routine, a maximum of 4 of them can be competitive level dancers. In addition, Encore DCS will implement a “head judge” at each event.  This judge will provide a teachers only critique and can offer helpful suggestions about dancers, choreography, costuming, level placement, etc.  for the teacher’s ears only!  This judge will also be responsible for making sure rules are being followed and for alerting the auditor if the panel feels that the routine should be bumped to another level. 

What is a Super Solo?

Students who perform more than 1 solo (not including vocal or song and dance) are placed in our "Super Solo" Overall Awards.  The highest two solo scores for each Super Solo are averaged to determine the Super Solo score for overall placement.  ALL Super Soloists should compete in the competitive division.  All super solos will be recognized with a special award.  Students performing only one solo per competition will be judged separately and will compete for the Top Soloist in every age division. 

Do you have a Title competition?

 Soloists are eligible to compete for Title at an additional charge.  Regional Title scores are based on Showmanship and Overall Appeal.  All genders are combined for title, but winners will be recognized in each age division and level.

“Solo Title Entry” must be checked on the registration form to compete for title.  Vocal entries are ineligible for Title. 

There are TWO ways to compete for Title:

1) If a student competes only one solo they would be eligible for Title Winner AND regular Overall Solo awards.

2) If a student competes multiple solos, they would be eligible for Title Winner (by selecting just one of their solos to compete for title) AND their top two scores would go into the running for Overall Super Solo.

 Can we take photos and videos from the audience?

Video recording and photography is not allowed. Professional photos and videos are available at no extra cost.  Please see below.

 How do I access Photos and Videos?

Encore DCS is excited to include photos and videos of each routine with entry fees.  Media will be available via digital download and/or email within five business days of the event.  Passwords for downloads will be provided to all teachers that have paid in full.  Teachers will be responsible for distributing the studio password to parents and students.  To locate media after the event, visit our website, choose the city you attended, and click on the link for Photo or Video. Video recording and photography is not allowed when a videographer or photographer is contracted by ENCORE DCS. Thank you for complying with these rules and helping us protect teacher choreography.

 What should we do with props?

Each venue is different, but most locations have an area for trailer parking. Please see the stage manager when you arrive at the event for help with props and trailers. 

Are there assigned dressing rooms?

 Each studio will be assigned a dressing room based on the number, size, and type of entries. There is a designated Male Dressing room when space allows. 

Do you have a photogenic competition?

 We offer a photogenic competition at Nationals only.

Is there an admission fee to watch the competition?

 There is NO admission fee at the event.

 Does everyone receive an award?

Everyone that performs on the Encore stage receives an award. In addition to recognizing 1st-5th place in each category, every routine is recognized with a Silver, Gold, High Gold, Platinum, Diamond, or “Mic Drop” placement. Please see the awards section of our website for the full list of awards and prizes.

For complete rules, regulations, and awards information please visit the respective pages on the website.