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 studio check, credit card or  Gems award certificates (only original certificates will be honored).

Returned checks will be charged a $30 fee plus recovery charges.

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

Under no circumstances will refunds be given for submitted entries.

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


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 teachers, choreographers and working professionals.

All judges scoring decisions are final.

Each studio director will receive all routine critiques and score sheets at the conclusion of the competition.


All music must be uploaded on DanceBug. We recommend you bring a back up flash drive or device.

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

Modern – routine contains modern dance elements and choreography

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

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



Adult                            20 & Over

Senior                          15 – 19

Junior                          12 – 14

Petite                           8 – 11

Mini                              7 & 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.


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.



Each group entry will receive a plaque for adjudication placement; group members will receive a custom lapel pin. Solo, Duo, and Trio entries will recieve a custom medal for each participant for adjudicated placement.

Gems will recognize the 5 highest scoring routines of the day.  These awards will be distributed at the end of the competition.

Judges Choice

Costume – creative or original costumes

Choreography – artistic/originality

Practice Makes Perfect Award – highest technical score of the competition 

Diamond Award – for any 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

Bump Rule: If a routine scores 290 or above, it is bumped up to our Triple Diamond Level. Any routine bumped up by Gems will be competing for Overall Awards at the bumped up level.



Up to 20 points for 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. 

Up to 5 points for exceeding time limits or exiting the stage before completion of a routine (unless due to technical issues)

Up to 5 points for visual or audible coaching of the dancers during their performance, from the wings or the audience. Additionally, the routine will be ineligible for high point and special awards.

Up to 5 points for other rule infractions, 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 will be eligible for adjudication only. 



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

 Duet                            2:45                 2

 Trio                              2:45                 3

 Small Group             3:00              4-9

 Large Group             4:00            10-19

 Line                             6 :00           20 & 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.