You already know to be respectful, kind, work hard & have fun. All the other details on how we run our competitions are below.

General Rules
& Basics



Gems does not accept independent entries and all must be registered with a studio.

Entries are accepted on a first come, first served basis until the allotted competition time is filled.

Entries may be paid by credit card or ACH only.

Registration will not be considered complete without full payment. If you secured a discount through early registration or RSVP but do not complete and pay for the entries 60 days in advance of the event, the discount will be forfeited.

Award certificates credited against entry fees submitted online must be postmarked within 3 business days of the online registration.

In the event a child is unable to perform due to a documented injury or illness, Gems may issue a refund or an award certificate to be used for future entry fees or Gems merchandise at the discretion of Gems directors.

Routines are expected to perform as scheduled.


Gems will be taking photos and video during the competition; All contestants consent to the use of photos and video by Gems for the purpose of marketing, advertising and social media.

Flash photography and video cameras are not allowed during competition routines.

Failure to adhere to these rules may disqualify your studio’s routines.


No dangerous props (weapons, fire, etc.) are allowed.

Helium balloons are only allowed if secured to a person or prop and only if the building allows them.

Prop set up on the stage must be complete within 90 seconds or deductions will be applied.

Props must not damage the floor and must not stand taller than 10 feet.  Dancers may not be more than 6 feet off the floor.

No substances that could affect the dance floor may be used, including but not limited to: liquids, gels, aerosols, or glitter.


Gems will provide three judges per competition that will give verbal critiques and scores.

Our judge’s panel will consist of professional dance judges prevetted by Impact Dance Adjudicators.

All judges scoring decisions are final.

Each studio director will receive all routine critiques and score sheets within 48 hours of the completeion of the competition.


All music must be uploaded on DanceBug at least 5 days prior to the event. 

You should bring a backup of your music to the event on a device that has the music stored LOCALLY (not in the cloud) and can connect to a computer via USB or to a sound system via a standard headphone jack.

Performance venues have notoriously bad cell service and internet access. We repeat: do not rely on a backup of music in the cloud.


Performance Levels 

& Categories


Tap – routine consisting of primarily tap work.  No prerecorded sounds allowed.

Jazz – routine consisting of jazz technique & choreography

Ballet – routine containing classical ballet movement and choreography, must wear ballet shoes

Hip-Hop – routine consisting of hip-hop, street dance & break dance styles of dance performed to hip-hop/rap/R&B music

Pointe – routine must be performed in Pointe shoes including classical ballet movement

Lyrical – routine consisting of jazz & ballet movements while expressing emotion and meaning in the song

Contemporary – an interpretive dance  style that embraces innovation, blending techniques from various genres such as classical ballet, jazz, modern, and lyrical

Musical Theater – any routine that interprets a song from a broadway show, movie, or musical featuring any style of dance

Acro – any routine that combines the techniques of classical dance with acrobatic movements

Open – any routine that does not fit in the above categories or contains elements from multiple categories



Adult                            20 & Over

Senior                          15 – 19

Junior                          12 – 14

Petite                           9 – 11

Mini                             8 & under

The age classification is determined as of January 1st of the competition year.  To determine the average age add all the ages of the performers in the routine together, then divide by the total number of dancers in the routine.  Drop all decimal points and do not round up.

Studio owners, directors, teachers, choreographers are not permitted to compete with any age level from their studio.

Any age protests must be submitted in writing within one hour of the routine in question and must be signed by at least one registered teacher or studio owner.


Gems offers two performance levels for dancers:

Dancers who attend class less than 4 hours per week will compete in our Double Diamond Level.

Dancers who attend class more that 4 hours per week will compete in our Triple Diamond Level.

Because there is no way for our competition staff to know how many hours per week a student dances, we are all on the honor system as to the entry level you choose for your routines.

Take Note: We have and regularly employ a bump rule for DD entries that score at TD levels. See Scoring section for details.


Tricks are defined as acrobatic or gymnastic element where the feet pass entirely over the head. An exception would be shoulder rolls, cartwheels, and non-aerial walkovers.

Ballet and pointe may not contain any tricks. 

Jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, and musical theater may contain up to 2 tricks.

 Hip hop and open can contain unlimited tricks.



Every competition entry receives an adjudication award of silver, gold, high gold or platinum based on the total points scored and the scale applied to the entry by its division.

Group entries will receive a custom lapel pin indicating award level for each dancer and a custom studio plaque.

Solo, Duo, and Trio entries will recieve a custom medal for each participant indicating award level.

If 3 or more routines are competing in the same age level, category, and division we will award a first place.


For each division – Double Diamond and Triple Diamond – Gems will recognize the 3 highest scoring routines from each age group for the day: Mini, Petite, Junior, Senior and Adult.

These awards will be distributed at the award sessions following completion of all entries in the age group. 


Costume – Creative or original costumes

Choreography – Artistic/original choreography

GEMS Stage Star – Performance quality

Making the Impact Award – IDA sponsored award, awarded to a routine that the judge’s felt deserved special recognition for making an impact

Hidden Gem Award – Any routine with a score of 295 or more

Excellence in Teaching Award – Awarded to any studio that brings 5 or more groups to compete in different genres of dance. The studio will also be awarded a partial scholarship for an in-studio workship from DanceWerks.

Activate Your Artistry Scholarships – Choosen by our judges, 10 dancers ages 5 and up will be awarded scholarships to attend. the Activate Your Artistry Workshop at the location of their choosing.

Practice Makes Perfect Award – Highest technical score of the competition for each Double Diamond and Triple Diamond divisions

Diamond Award – A routine that is especially entertaining and deserves special recognition

& Awards

Each routine will receive 100 points per judge based on the following criteria:

Technique – 40 points

Presentation – 25 points

Choreography –  20 points

Appearance – 5 points

Overall – 10 points



Platinum –  285 – 300

High Gold – 270 – 284.9

Gold – 255 – 269.9

Silver – 230 – 254.9



Platinum –  290 – 300

High Gold – 280 – 289.9

Gold – 270 – 279.9

Silver – 269 – 269.9


If a Double Diamond routine scores 290 or above, it is bumped up to the Triple Diamond Level and will compete for Overalls as a Triple Diamond entry. All routines that trigger the bump rule will be recognized at their awards session. 



Unsuitable For family Viewing: Routines that are deemed unsuitable for family viewing (costume, music, choreography, etc.). This deduction will also remove the routine from eligibility for high point and judges’ choice awards.

Time: Exceeding time limits or exiting the stage before completion of a routine (unless due to technical issues)

Coaching: Visual or audible coaching of the dancers during their performance from the wings or the audience. This deduction will render the routine ineligible for high point and special awards.

Other Infractions: Any other rule infractions as spelled out in this rule book can result in a deduction at the discretion of Gems staff or judges.

A Gems staff member or judge will issue all point deductions.  All decisions are final.



Performers must compete on their designated day and time. Routines that compete out of their scheduled time without making advance accommodation with the stage manager will be eligible for adjudication only.


To avoid dancers competing against themselves, dancer(s) may not compete more than once in the same category and age group. This applies to solos, duets, trios, groups and lines. 


Each soloist may perform a maximum of 3 solos, but they must be in 3 different solo categories. Only the highest scoring solo will be presented with an overall award.




Performances will be timed and deductions will be given for overages. Extended Time (Groups & Lines Only) is available for additional entry fee.  Studio owners/managers, see your pricing guide for details.

Solo                             2:45                 1 Dancer

Duet                            2:45                 2 Dancers

Trio                              2:45                 3 Dancers

Small Group             3:00                4-9 Dancers

Large Group             4:00                10-19 Dancers

Line                             6 :00               20 Dancers  & up

Dancer(s) cannot compete more than once in the same category and age group in solo, duet, trio, or group to avoid competition against themselves.

& Expectations

Good sportsmanship is expected from performers, students, parents, coaches, teachers, studio owners and the general audience at all times.

Horns, whistles and other noisemakers are not permitted at Gems events. Signs will be allowed at award sessions only.

Failure to adhere to these rules may result in point reduction and/or disqualification.

Coaching from the wings is prohibited

& Responsibility

Contestants competing in a dance competition take certain risks including but not limited to sprains, bruises, pulled muscles and/or broken bones. Participants agree to not hold Gems or its staff responsible for injuries, illnesses or damages incurred while participating in any activity relating to Gems events.