Categories and Rules

Symposium Talent

For all information regarding competition rules and categories, please download and read the PDF on this page.



Studio owners: please see a complete list of rules and info on your DanceComp Genie Dashboard




No video recording whatsoever of routines is allowed. No photography is allowed, except at award ceremonies. This rule is in place to protect the children performing at Symposium.  Video recording or unauthorized photography may lead to an entry being “adjudication only”, or ejection from the venue. 




All entries are accepted and processed in the order received.

Entry fees can be viewed after you create a registration account.  

We do not accept Independent entries; we believe all dancers should be supported by a studio.  

Studio Owners must attend the competition.

Please note:  Photogenic entries should be registered prior to the competition start. Photos must be in digital format and emailed to with the child’s name, age, studio name and please specify either still shot or action shot.  Registration fees must be paid for at the registration table prior to the start of the competition.  



  • Please observe all deadline entry dates. 
  • Entries received less than 14 days prior to the competition may not appear in the program
  • Registration deadline is 2 weeks prior to competition date.
  • Entry fees are to be paid in full 3 weeks prior to competition date or studio will not be allowed to participate. No Exceptions!    
  • All fees are non-refundable. 
  • Students and routines removed after the 21-day deadline are considered a fair scratch. No credit or refunds will be offered.
  • All fees must be paid by credit card or cashier’s check. After the registration deadline date has passed any late registrations must be paid by credit card and will have a $10.00 late fee applied per routine. Registration deadline is within two weeks of the competition. 




It is agreed upon entering a Symposium Talent event that Symposium and its staff, it’s sponsors, the hotel, theater or site of the competition will not be held responsible for any accident or injury that may occur to anyone participating or attending these events. Symposium Talent cannot be held responsible for an accident that may have inadvertently been caused due to unexpected flaws in theater stages, backstage, or anywhere on the hosting venue’s property. Persons entering the competition and/or participating as a spectator or in any other aspect MUST assume the responsibility for any unforeseen injury. It is the responsibility of the dance teacher and/or person in charge of a participating group to inform and educate all entrants, their parents, and attendees on the rules and policies of Symposium Talent. 

Your attendance and participation in any Symposium Talent event constitute permission for the uncompensated use of any photographs or video taken during the event in promotional materials including, newspapers, brochures, ads, television, videos, newsletters, Internet or any other commercial use. 

Symposium Talent assumes no responsibility for lost, stolen, broken or unclaimed items (including CDs, photographs, awards, flash drives, iPod, phones etc.). Lost and found, and unclaimed items will not be mailed.  Symposium or its photographers and videographers will not become involved in disputes concerning choreography, rights to performance, costuming, etc.  By submitting entries, you confirm you own or have secured the rights to all elements in the performance.  

FORCE MAJEURE. In the event that Symposium‘s obligations to the registering studio or dancers are delayed, prevented, or rendered impractical by any of the following events: acts of God or natural disaster such as but not limited to violent storm, cyclone, tornado, blizzard, earthquake, volcanic activity, landslide, flood, damage or destruction by lightning, drought; explosion, fire, accident, riots, war(declared or not), terrorist act, armed conflict, invasion, act of a foreign enemy, extensive military mobilization; civil war, riot, rebellion, revolution, military or usurped power, insurrection, civil commotion or disorder, mob violence, act of civil disobedience; act of terrorism, sabotage or piracy; plague, epidemic, pandemic, outbreaks of infectious disease or any other public health crisis, including quarantine or other employee restrictions; act of authority whether lawful or unlawful, compliance with any law or governmental order, rule, regulation or direction, curfew restriction, epidemic, pandemic, quarantine, civil commotion, breakdown of communication facilities, breakdown of web host, breakdown of internet service provider, natural catastrophes, governmental acts or omissions, changes in laws or regulations, national strikes, fire, or explosion. Symposium shall not be liable for any failure or delay in performing an obligation under this Agreement. The registering studio or dancers hereby waive any claim for damages or compensation for such delay or failure to perform. 

Submission of entries also constitutes the following:  You agree to release and hereby indemnify Symposium Talent, LLC, its staff and agents from any and all contracts, claims, suits, actions, liabilities and/or injuries arising as a result of participation in a Symposium event.  You further release Symposium Talent, LLC its staff and agents from responsibility for any loss or damage, court costs, legal fees, and/or medical fees. All activities are at your own risk.  

Symposium will always attempt to reschedule any postponed events. If we do reschedule the event, no refunds or credits will be given. In the event we are forced to cancel an event, Symposium will follow these guidelines:  If the event is cancelled 61+ days prior to its scheduled date a 100% credit will be issued. If the event is cancelled 40-60 days prior to its scheduled date, a 70% credit will be issued.  If the event is cancelled 20-39 days prior to its scheduled date, a 50% credit will be issued. If the event is cancelled 19 days or less before its scheduled date, a 30% credit will be issued. Symposium will always do their best to reschedule any postponed events




Participants, teachers, and studio owners agree that the time, manner, and method of judging the competition shall be solely within the discretion of the Director of Symposium Talent and that all results of a competition are final. All judges are professionals from the field of dance and will not be affiliated with any dance studio competing in the competition. 


The decision of the judges is final. The decision of the judges represents their professional opinions, not necessarily those of Symposium management or staff. Judges break all ties. No teacher, student, or parent may direct questions regarding scores or placements to a judge or competition staff. If there is a question regarding scores or placement, please address your concerns with the Director.  Scores, adjudication, and placement will only be discussed with the studio owner of the routine in question.  Competition director will not discuss scores, adjudication or placement with parents or dancers, without the studio owner present.  




All acts should be suitable for family viewing. Please keep in mind, however, that opinion concerning what is “suitable” varies to a wide degree. We have made available to our judges an opportunity to deduct points for any act he or she considers inappropriate. Symposium director also reserves the right to deduct points, disallow or disqualify any act for any reason, including those that may be considered inappropriate by the general viewing public. 



  • You may not perform a group routine, and also use it as a duet, trio, or solo in the same show.
  • Any routine which received a 1st overall at a Nationals competition may not be repeated in the next Regional season.
  • Coaching of performers is prohibited during performance
  • No fire or live animals can be used in any routine.
  • No glitter, baby powder, or water may be used during a performance or on the stage.
  • Jumping to the floor from the front of the stage is prohibited during performance, as is entrance or exit from the front or rear of the stage (under the stage drop). 
  • Entrance and exit from the stage must be made from the left and/or right stage wings only. This rule has been put into effect for the safety of the performers, judges and audience members. 
  • Solicitation of dancers at competitions is strictly prohibited. Symposium has a zero-tolerance policy regarding this matter and will result in the offending party’s ejection from the venue.
  • Parents are not permitted backstage, unless authorized by their studio owner. 


The Director of Symposium Talent reserves the rights to change, delete, or add to any rules, regulations, or policies at any time deemed necessary.


These rules exist to protect the integrity of the competition and avoid controversy.



Acro – Consisting of controlled acrobatic or gymnastics movements involving flexibility and balance. Routine must include dance technique, choreography, and fluid moves.   


Ballet – Consisting of ballet technique, which may include classical and/or contemporary movement and interpretation. Ballet shoes only.


Clog – Consisting of clogging technique and performed in clogging shoes.


Contemporary – consisting of contemporary jazz and lyrical technique, while still staying true to classical ballet dance techniques. Incorporation of contemporary modern movement, demonstrating control and balance throughout.


Hip Hop – Consisting primarily hip-hop technique or street style moves from at least one of the various styles. Funk, break, pop and lock are also included in this category.  No Jazz technique.


Jazz -A routine that demonstrates jazz technique, which may include classical, contemporary, jazz funk or commercial jazz.  Routines containing only hip-hop, funk, pop, or lock technique should be considered for the hip-hop category.


Lyrical – Dancers must emphasize control utilizing the lyrics and mood of the music, combining jazz, modern, and ballet techniques in fluid, controlled movements.


Most Photogenic – Photogenic Contestants must submit a recent DIGITAL color or black & white photo. All entries compete in the Select level and must be registered and entry fees paid prior to the performance of the first act of the respective competition. Photos can be submitted to– please include: dancers name, age, and studio name


Most Photogenic – Action Shot – Photogenic Contestants must submit a recent DIGITAL color or black & white photo. All entries compete in the Select level and must be registered and entry fee paid for prior to performance of the first act of the respective competition. Photos can be submitted to – please include: dancers name, age, and studio name


Musical/Show – Primarily for musical comedy and Broadway dancing. Mime, lip sync, singing, etc. are allowed. Routine should interpret a song from a Broadway or other musical, while incorporating dance technique and movement.


Novelty/Character – Must portray an easily recognizable character throughout. (e.g. animal, TV, historical, fictional, etc.)


Open – Any form of dance not already listed or which is a combo of two or more performance categories.


Pointe – A routine that demonstrates classical ballet technique, must be performed en pointe.


Tap – A routine that demonstrates tap technique and basic tap floor work.  May be performed with or without music accompaniment. Tap shoes are required. Tap sounds may not be recorded.  Any routines demonstrating clogging technique should be considered for the clogging category.


Vocal – Any solo or duo vocal performance. Must demonstrate vocal ability and control.  Must be performed with musical accompaniment. No lead vocals will be permitted on accompaniment music, although backup vocals will be allowed.  Up to two handheld microphones will be available for use.  Please email the office in advance if a second microphone is needed.    


Pom – Pom Routine which must include such elements as marching, clean, strong and sharp arm movements with poms, arm placement, kicks, uniformity, jumps and splits. Choreography should include incorporating the above skills while utilizing visual effects through levels, formations, and floor work. Any style of music is permissible and pom pons should be used for at least 80% of the music.

**Presses, shoulder stands, or pyramids of any type are NOT allowed, and will result in disqualification of the routine. Tumbling is allowed as long as performers do not tumble with Pom Pons in their hands.


NEW! Precision Dance – Dance team style routine without pompons. Movement should be precise and defined. Dance teams favor strong, bold, linear choreography of the arms and legs. The routine should include basic dance team moves: marching, kicks, leaps, jumps, splits with clean sharp technique. Because dance teams are intended to perform far away from their audience, choreographed formations are crucial and aid in the visual impact of the performance. 




Classic Level:  This level is for dancers with three years or less of training and/or no previous competition experience. This is for the beginner dancer who takes a few classes a week and wants to gain experience at competition without the pressure of competing against seasoned competitors. Classic level routines should not include advanced level elements, i.e. tumbling passes (except for Acro category), turns a la secondé, fouetté turns, toe stalls (tap), or wings (tap), for example. Inclusion of advanced level elements may result in the routine being bumped to the Select level.  This will be decided by the competition director, on a case by case basis. 

This level is judged only against other Classic level entries. Classic level dancers are scored on a more lenient scale and are not eligible for cash prizes. 


Select Level:  This level is for dancers who have between 3 and 5 years of training, who take at least 3-5 hours a week and have previous competition experience. This level may incorporate limited advanced level elements.  Any select routine containing an abundance of advanced elements may be bumped to the Elite Level.  This will be decided by the competition director on a case by case basis.  This level will be judged only against other Select level entries and is eligible for cash prizes.

Elite Level:  This level is for the seasoned, advanced dancers. Elite Level dancers should have 5 or more years of dance training and take at least 5 or more hours a week. Elite level routines should incorporate frequent advanced level elements.  Elite competitors should have adequate competition experience and will be judged against other Elite level entries and are eligible for cash prizes. 

Ages 4 & under are not eligible for Elite Level.  

*Please note:  Symposium has no way of knowing how much training a particular dancer or group of dancers has had.  Level placement is at the discretion of the studio director and teachers. Elite, Select, and Classic routines are awarded separately, you should therefore give very careful consideration in choosing how you assign levels to your dancers per the definitions above when creating your studio roster. You are also encouraged to check your entry confirmation carefully as acts will not be allowed to change competition level once the final schedule is sent out. Group routines that contain multiple levels will be entered based on the average level of the entered dancers.  



SOLO – one dancer

DUO/TRIO – two dancers/ three dancers

SMALL GROUP – 4-9 dancers

LARGE GROUP – 10-15 dancers

LINE – Sixteen or more students close in age and ability level

PRODUCTION – Sixteen or more students with a wide variety of ages and ability levels

PHOTOGENIC & ACTION SHOT – Should be considered a solo entry.  Contestants are allowed to enter both photogenic categories


MINI – 8 & Under

JUNIOR – 9-12

TEEN – 13-14

SENIOR – 15-18

ADULT – 19 & Over  

The average age determines placement for duets, trios, and groups.  Adding all the ages of the contestants and dividing by the number of contestants determines the average age.  This is done automatically by the registration system.  All ages are figured as of January 1st.  If there is a remainder of .5 or over, the average age is moved into the next age category.  Improper age category may result in disqualification.  Any person may request, through the contest directors, proof of age of any student. Students should have proof of their age with them (birth certificate, driver’s license, etc.).  Failure to have proof of age may result in disqualification.  Age will be determined as the age on January 1st.

Teachers or studio owners may only perform in the Adult Age Category. Assistant teachers (under the age of 19 & non-professional dancers) may compete in any area. 



Adjudicated and Placement scoring will both be used.  Our adjudicated system is based on a pre-set scale of points.  Each performance will be awarded a Bronze, Silver, Gold, High Gold or Diamond award based on the total number of points they receive.  

177.01 – 180.00 DIAMOND

174.00 – 177.00 HIGH GOLD

169.00 – 173.99 GOLD

164.00 – 168.99 SILVER

Olympic style scoring will give 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place to the three highest scoring routines in each category.  Individual trophies and ribbons are given in solo and duo/trio entries.  Groups will receive one trophy.  Ribbons will be provided for all members of the group.


Top 5 by Entry Type (HIGH POINT AWARDS)


The top 5 solos, and duo/trios in each division and level will be recognized with a Medal for each participant. In the event there are 20+ entries in a division/level a top 10 will be awarded.  In the event there are 30+ entries in a division/level a top 15 will be awarded.  


The top 5 small groups, large groups, lines and productions in each age category and level will be recognized with one group trophy and ribbons for all participants. In the event there are 20+ entries in a division/level a top 10 will be awarded.  In the event there are 30+ entries in a division/level a top 15 will be awarded.  


For all high point awards: there must be at least 3 entries in the division and level for cash prizes to be awarded.


The highest scoring 12 & Under production routine in each level and 13 & Over production routine in each level be awarded with our magnificent 4-foot trophy.  


There are no minimum entries required for production high point awards


Top 5 by Age Division: (OVERALL AWARDS – Nationals Only)


The top 5 highest scoring routines from each age division and level will be awarded.  This includes all entry types for each age division and level.  Overall Awards are reserved for our National Events only and are eligible for cash awards. Studio must be present to win.  




Mini Miss / Mr. Symposium: Ages 8 & Under
Junior Miss / Mr.  Symposium:  Ages 9-12
Teen Miss / Mr. Symposium:  Ages 13-14
Miss / Mr. Symposium: Ages 15-19


Title participation is open to any competing solo.

Dancers may enter up to 3 title solos. Entry fee for Regional Title is $29, National Title is $40 per routine entered. 

Each title contestant must take center-stage and introduce themselves to our judges’ panel. Their introduction can include saying their name, age, hometown, and performance piece as well as any other information they would like to share. NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT MENTION YOUR STUDIO NAME. This introduction should be no shorter than 10 seconds and no longer than 30 seconds and will precede dancer’s performance.  Please practice and time your introductions so as not to incur any deductions. 


Title soloists will be scored in three criteria, separate from their adjudication criteria. 

  • Introduction Impression 10 points 
  • Technical Proficiency 20 points
  • Overall Performance Quality 30 points

The combined score of these three criteria alone will determine the winner. If a soloist enters more than one routine for Title, then the highest scoring title score of the two will be used. Routine adjudication scores will not be used to determine Title winners. 


Dancer MUST be present at the awards ceremony to win


If there are 5 or more entries in the age division, top 3 will be announced.  If there are less than five entries, only the title winners will be announced. 

First place Regional Title winners will be crowned with a tiara, a Miss/Mr. Symposium certificate, and an additional award.  

First place National Title Winners will be crowned, earn a certificate, and receive a voucher for a free solo entry for one of our 2022 regional events!


The highest scoring tap routine for Classic, Select and Elite will be awarded the SUPER TAP.   These are given in honor of Symposium’s founder, Linda Joseph.  


The highest scoring 12 & under routine will be awarded the ANGEL AWARD.  A portion of the winning routines entry fees will be donated to the SIDS foundation.  


The highest scoring 13 & over routine will be awarded the STRENGTH AWARD.  A portion of the winning routines entry fees will be donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities.


JUDGES CHOICE AWARDS are special awards given at the judge’s discretion.  If a judge sees a dancer or routine that they believe deserves special recognition, that judge will honor the dancer or group with the award during the awards ceremony.  Judges choice awards are presented with a certificate, signed by the awarding judge and a Judges Choice lapel pin for each participant.  


THE ENCORE EXPERIENCE This is an automatic entry for all group routines.  Judges will select one group routine from each studio that possesses special showmanship and demonstrates all around great performance quality.  These selected routines will be invited to perform once again and battle it out for the title of “Best of Show”.   There will be one Encore Experience for 12 & Under and one for 13 & Over.  The winner of each Encore Experience will be awarded a special “BEST OF SHOW” banner.  Encore Experience winners will win a scholarship towards our National Convention!


SYMPOSIUM SUPERSTAR CHALLENGE This is an optional entry for each and every dancer.  Dancers can enter the Symposium Superstar Challenge up until the time of the event.  Dancers will be given 20-30 seconds (depending on the amount of entries) of music that is selected by the director, in which they get to show off their best moves and do their best to impress the judges.  Top 3 will be awarded 

There will be 4 studio awards presented at each session, 12 & Under and 13 & Over.  The awards are selected by the Symposium Staff and by Judges and awarded to the studio or routine that encompasses and reflects (as a whole) the best overall 



**These Awards are subjective and may not be awarded at every show.


DIAMOND DANCER INVITATIONS: Any solo, duo, or trio achieving a diamond adjudication at one of our regional events will be automatically invited to participate in our Diamond Dancer Showcase at Nationals.  Any dancer receiving a Diamond Dancer Invitation as a judge’s award is automatically invited to participate in our Diamond Dancer Showcase at Nationals.  


DIAMOND DANCER SHOWCASE: Diamond Dancers choreography will be posted at in the spring for dancers to learn before our Nationals event.  Dancers and teachers will be given specific instruction as to what they need to have prepared for our Nationals Event and follow up instructions will take place one month before the intended National.  The showcase (live performance) will be a Jazz routine, however short segments of Hip Hop and Tap may be included for the purpose of the video shoot only. 


DIAMOND DANCER VIDEO SHOOT:  Any participating Diamond Dancer is encouraged to attend our video shoot that will take place Friday evening, after convention classes.  Here we will crank up the fog machine, blast the music and let the dancers do what they do best…with cameras rolling.  Convention teachers and the showcase choreographer will be present to work with the dancers closely to help perfect any tricks or combinations that the dancers have prepared for the video shoot. It is intended to shoot all the footage Friday evening, so the dancers may focus on competition Saturday and Sunday. 




Studios MUST upload their music in our registration system, no exceptions.  


Please double check your music before uploading it to make sure it is the correct file and named appropriately. Failure to do so may cause a delay in competition show run, setting the show behind schedule, and resulting in a points deduction for the improperly titled routine.  




ALL STUDIOS ARE REQUIRED TO SUBMIT ONE FORM OF BACK UP MUSIC PRIOR TO SHOW STARTPlease read instructions carefully!!  Improper back up music can result in routines being scratch without refund!


  • iPod or iPhone users please create a Symposium playlist with your studio code in the playlist title, labeling each track with the routine number AND proper routine title. This form of back up music will not be accepted without: 
  1. The playlist properly created as stated above 
  2. iPhone or iPod surrendered to the DJ for the duration of the session and 
  3. iPhone or iPod is unlocked (with no time out) and on “do-not-disturb” or “airplane mode” for the duration of the session. 

Please note: The sound engineer WILL NOT “search” for songs, re-organize playlists, or accept emailed versions of music. Failure to complete steps 1-3 will result in rejection of back up music.  If uploaded music fails, the routine will be considered a scratch and no refunds will be given. 


  • If you are turning in a Flash Drive as your back up, please label each track with the routine number, studio letter and song title (i.e. 135E Rock This Town).  If tracks are not properly labeled, back up music will be considered rejected.  If uploaded music fails, the routine will be considered a scratch and no refunds will be given.  


  • CD’s are highly discouraged, but if it is the only form of back up available for your studio, please put each routine on its own CD and label each CD with studio name, routine number and song title.  Please check your CD in multiple CD players to make sure it will play properly in all types of players. If the uploaded version doesn’t play and the back up CD doesn’t play, the routine will be considered a scratch, and no refunds will be given. 


It is the studio owner’s responsibility to make sure all music is uploaded properly THREE DAYS PRIOR TO COMPETITION WEEKEND, and back up music labeled properly and submitted before the show starts each session (Saturday morning or Sunday morning).

Please feel free to email the office with any questions about the uploading procedure or the backup music requirements.



Solos, Duets, and Trios are allowed 3 minutes

Solo Title routines are allowed 3 minutes 30 seconds (including introduction)
Small and Large Groups are allowed 5 minutes.
Production and Line Groups are allowed 9 minutes.
.5 point per judge for exceeding time limits.
.5 point per judge for too many tricks.
.5 point per judge for wrong category selection.
.5 point per judge for starting over (this will be allowed once if time schedule permits).

The time will start when the music starts.  Be sure that when your routine stops, the music stops.  If you exit to music, this will be timed and included in your allotted time.


Splits in any form, leaps, cartwheels and jumps may be used in any routine.  A special trick is an acrobatic or gymnastics trick such as an aerial, back handspring or running round-off back handspring.  Tumbling passes will be counted as one trick.  A tumbling pass consists of two or more special tricks executed consecutively (i.e. roundoff back handspring back tuck).  Tricks and passes are per person in duets, trios and groups (tricks do not have to be evenly distributed among the dancers you just must stay within the total allocated).  Walkovers, shoulder rolls, chest rolls etc have become more mainstream in dance technique and shall not be counted as special tricks when performed in dance combinations. Backbend kickovers, rows of walkovers, back handsprings, aerials etc are considered acrobatic tricks.





Tricks Allowed
































Studio owners should check their Dance Comp Genie dashboard the week after the competition (exact day depends upon the upload time) to find their Video Critiques, Score Sheets and Results.  Our goal is to have everything uploaded no later than Tuesday. However, due to long travel times and weather sometimes affecting our travel, critiques and score sheets may not be available until later in the week.  We appreciate your understanding in this matter.