Rules & Regulations

2020 Rules and Regulations will be posted very soon!!


2019 Rules and Regulations

Important changes or additions for 2019:

  • In the past, we have donated funds through our 5678 Donate Program to many large national organizations.  For the future we really wanted our donation program to focus mainly on helping dance families that we see at our events.   As we did this past season, we are going to continue to make donations privately at each event to families who are experiencing some hardships and need a helping hand.  Studio owners and their staff will play a huge role in nominating a family from the studio who may need financial help.  Just send us an email to tell us a story about this family you would like for us to consider for a donation to help them financially.  With this personal approach we have met several families who really needed assistance and being able to give them a donation face to face with the studio owner present is something my wife and I will remember for years to come.
  • THE TRIBUTE TO DANCE AWARD which is presented to the studio with the highest scoring group number of the event from Small, Large and Lines and all ages combined, will now be given in both levels.  One (1) for the Honor Level Group and One (1) for the Supreme Level Group.  A $500.00 cash prize will be awarded to these routines.


At Tribute, we understand that the director and teachers will know the performance level of their dancers and will use their own sound judgment when entering routines. We have listed suggestions for training hours dancers have per week for each level.  However, we also understand that every dancer has their own strengths and abilities.  In determining a level, there is more than just in-classroom hours that define the level of each dancer from your studio.  Routines that are under placed can be elevated by the judges at any time if all 3 judges are in agreement.  A routine that contains dancers of different levels should be entered in the level that applies to 50% of the dancers.

Tribute Has Two Levels

Honor Level – defined as a novice, amateur. This level is for the beginner and intermediate level dancers who only have a few years of performance/competition experience. Dancers who have approximately 5 hours or less of in-classroom training per week should be considered for this level.

Supreme Level – defined as of the highest quality and degree. This level is for the advanced dancers that have a higher level of performance/competition experience. Dancers who have over 6 hours or more of in-classroom training per week should be considered for this level.

A soloists may only perform in one level


Petite Division: 8 years and under
Junior Division: Ages 9-11
Teen Division: Ages 12-14
Senior Division: Ages 15-19
Pro Am Division: Ages 20 and Over

Any performer 20 years or older dancing in any solo, duet/trio or group that act is NOT eligible for the High Point and is considered to be in the Pro Am Division. Pro Am Division includes Teachers, Professionals & Parents. The average age will determine the age group for all groups. Example: Average 11.0 to 11.9 = 11 years. ALL AGE DIVISIONS ARE DETERMINED AS OF JANUARY 1, 2019. Single ages will apply for each division in all categories ages 4 & Under, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19.  Performers must be responsible for proof of age at the competition (if required).

BUMP RULE: Duet/Trios or Groups including dancers of different age divisions will compete no more than one age division younger than the oldest dancer, regardless of average age. For example: if a group includes a dancer Age 16 (Senior) and the average age is 11 (Junior), the group will compete one level above Junior to Age 12 (Teen). This rule does not apply to the Production Category or Family Category.


Deadline for all entries will be 28 days prior to your event.  Each dance studio is required to register a minimum of six routines to participate. Independent entries may not register for a Tribute Event and all registration must be through the dance studio.

Entries will be limited to the amount of time available for each event.  Registration may be done at our on-line registration page from our website.  No faxed or paper entries will be accepted.   We accept certified check, Visa, MasterCard or Discover.  There will be a 3% fee for all credit card transactions.  All returned checks will be charged a $35.00 returned check fee. There are no refunds after the deadline date.   Tribute has the right to refuse any entry at any time.

• All 2019 entry fees are posted on the studio online registration accounts.
If you are attending Tribute for the first time once you create your studio account all information on entry fees will be listed.



(Parents and dancers over 35 will not be charged)

Any Small Group, Large Group and Line that has an average age of 4 & Under will have a reduced entry fee to $20.00 per dancer.  We want to encourage the importance of dance at a young age by giving more of our younger dancer’s opportunities to grow and learn.  As we all know; starting dance at a young age is very important and the amount of self-esteem and self-confidence that young children experience from being on stage and dancing is fundamental.  We also know that dance is about learning and remembering, and the more a young dancer is involved the quicker they will advance and master an art that is so gratifying.


Special Angels Category – We all know of children who might have Down Syndrome, Autism, Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy and other Developmental Disabilities or might even be confined to a wheel chair.  So we invite each studio in attendance to enter one additional group number that consists of special needs children to perform at any Tribute Event. There will be no entry fee for this number and I would ask that those who would like to register a performance in this category to please contact us so we can help you with the entry process.  This category is not intended for solo registration.

Production Category (Line Only) – At Tribute we know that many times a production performance includes many dancers from the studio.  Production has always been a way for studios to have their dancers of all ages together as team maybe even using a number that is the recital grand finale.  Therefore, we are making this category time limit longer.   Time limit will be up to 10 minutes and must contain a minimum of 20 performers and may incorporate any style of dance. There is no extended time in this category and the bump rule for age divisions will not apply to this category.

Family Category – fun routine for dancers, moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles or just family friends to perform together as a family unit. This number is for Small Group, Large Group & Line and will perform for scores and comments only and will not be in the overall awards.  The performance can contain any form of dance. There is no extended time in this category.  The Family Category entry fee is $25 per dancer and in addition any performer over age 35 will not be charged. 

“Just for Fun” Category – This category is for first time dancers or non competitive dancers who have NEVER attended a dance competition or performed on stage in front of judges.  Each dance studio that attends a Tribute Event that has registered a minimum of 10 group routines can register ONE additional group routine (Small, Large or Line) in this category FREE OF CHARGE.  This will allow for dancers to experience a dance competition to see the excitement of performing in this environment.  This will also give parents who have not attended a dance competition the opportunity to see firsthand what dance competitions are all about without having to pay an entry fee for their children.  There will be no overalls for this category and will be for scores and comments only.  VERY IMPORTANT: THE DANCERS YOU REGISTER FOR THIS ONE ROUTINE CAN NOT PERFORM IN ANY OTHER ROUTINES FROM YOUR STUDIO AT THE EVENT.

Acro/Gymnastics – Routine using controlled moves such as walkovers, limbers, handstands, chestrolls, etc. Must contain dance moves, steps and choreography.

Jazz – routine containing jazz technique, steps and choreography.

Tap – routine consisting of primarily tap work.

Hip-Hop – routine contains hip-hop technique and street dance styles

Ballet – routine containing classical ballet movements and steps.

Pointe – routine must be performed in Pointe shoes. Includes classical ballet choreography and movement performed on Pointe.

Lyrical – routine consisting of ballet and jazz techniques. Movement should be used to interpret meaning and express emotion.

Contemporary – routine contains modern dance techniques that depict strength and flexibility with an emphasis on performance.

Modern – routine contains modern dance elements and choreography.

Musical Theater – routine that incorporates “Broadway” dance style or music from plays, musicals and films.

Character – routine that depicts a recognizable character. May incorporate any style of dance.

Pom-Pon – routine that includes the use of pom-pons. sharp, precise movements.

Drill Team – routine consisting of cheerleading or dance team technique with sharp, precise movements. May incorporate the use of hand props.

Song & Dance – must contain singing and any style of dance listed. Prerecorded vocals not permitted. A handheld wireless microphone will be available. Please understand that our judges have a dance background and do not specialize in vocal performance.

Clogging – routine that utilizes clogging technique (either traditional or contemporary).

Pro Am – for any solo, duet/trio or group that has a performer 20 years or older are not eligible for Top Ten.

Open – routine that incorporates movement from any of the listed categories or for other forms of dance not listed.  Tumbling and Acro/Gymnastics would fall into this category.

Extended Categories – are for Small Groups, Large Groups and Lines Only for the above categories (not including Production and Family)


On our website you will find all of the information you need for the event you are attending.  Approximately 10 days prior to the event a studio time report is uploaded to each online account for that city.  After all studio directors have their times, a basic time schedule will be posted 7 days before your event.  We prefer to have the studio director and teachers see the schedule first before posting them online in order to prepare their own documents to share with their dancers and families.  Each competition schedule will vary from show to show and there is really no set age order and it is based on the number of performances registered for the event.  At Tribute, we understand that conflicts can take place due to other family activities or events not related to our event.  We will do what we can to help with those conflicts.  It is asked that every effort be made for all performances to compete on the designated day and time they are scheduled. Routines that compete outside of their scheduled day and time are subject to adjudication only.  There will be times that we will run ahead of the printed time schedule therefore we ask that each performer or group be ready to perform at least 1 hour before the printed time.

After the final time schedule is posted online, TRIBUTE will post the OFFICIAL PROGRAM BOOK in a PDF format for everyone to print for FREE no later than 2 days before the event.  Remember program books are not printed or sold at the event.


Tribute will have judges with extensive dance studio experience and knowledge in all phases of dance.  Our judging staff will be selected to represent our organization in a very positive and professional manner.  We want all dancers and teachers to appreciate the excitement and caring attitude of our judges.  You enter a competition to learn and achieve goals that you have set forth and receiving energy and excellent comments back from the judges will be important in achieving those goals. A detailed scoring report along with judges comments will be uploaded to each studio account after the event. All routines will have 3 separate comments.

Each performance will receive up to 100 points per judge based on the following criteria. Technique (15-40 points), Execution of Performance (15-30 points), Showmanship (5-20 points), Choreography/Musicality (1-5 points), Overall Appearance (1-5 points). Musicality is the attention and sensitivity to the musical elements of dance while performing. Each act will be judged from an adjudicated point system with multiple 1st and 2nd place awards presented within each age group for each category. There are multiple 1st and 2nd place awards within the same age division of the category that will be broken down and announced in placement order lowest to highest in that age.

The scoring scale breakdown for both levels:
Supreme 1st Place – 285 – 300 points
Elite 1st Place –  278 – 284 points
1st Place – 270 – 277 points
2nd Place –  255 – 269 points

Since the scoring system is the same for both levels, even if a routine is in the Honor Level it can still receive a total score from our judges to receive a Supreme 1st.  The confusion comes into play because our highest score (supreme 1st) is also the name of one of our levels.  The judge’s panel will break any and all ties for the overall Top Ten Finalists. Should a tie occur, the computer will add the 3 technique scores together; if still not broken the 3 scores from execution will be added, and if still not broken, the judges will make the final decision.

APPROPRIATENESS STANDARD: In our everyday lives there are things that our children see or hear that can make a lasting impression.  At competitions, censoring the moral judgment of others is a challenge due to the variety of opinions and beliefs.  Some may see something to be unethical and inappropriate, while others might see it as non-offensive or harmless.  We look to the parents as being responsible for what they allow their children to do and the morals they instill in them.  However, if a routine that is performed at Tribute is deemed offensive or inappropriate by our judges we will decide at that time what actions to take.


All music be submitted on a USB flash drive for all your routines. At Tribute, we want your music to play at the highest quality and clarity as possible.  Since there can be issues with durability, scratching and skipping, CD’s will no longer be used for a music option. All music must be in the format of mp3 so please make sure that your music is saved properly in this format.  When using the USB flash drive we ask that you save your music on a playlist and each song should be properly labeled and titled for the sound technician in book number order based on the program book which is uploaded to our website 2 days before the event. If there are any questions regarding music submission please contact our office.

For backup, we ask that you bring a phone, ipod or tablet just in case we have any technical difficulties playing your master music.  We will not offer speed control so please record your music accordingly.  All music or devices can be turned in for the entire weekend as long as they are labeled and in order based upon the program book.   All music and/or players are the director’s responsibility. Any flash drives left behind will be taken back to our office.


Props must be set within 2 minutes. There are no prop height restrictions; however, for safety a dancer may not stand above 6 feet on a scenic piece. No dangerous props or weapons are allowed on stage. Example: fire, metal swords, metal knives or any metal items having sharp points or edges. Littering: No form of liquid, gel, glitter or any other substance may be used that would affect the dancing surface.  Tribute has the right to not allow any routine to perform if it is brought to our attention that props or materials being used in an upcoming performance will not be acceptable. Please be prepared to completely clear the stage in the event of any loose items (feathers, streamers, etc). Absolutely no items may be thrown or shot off the front of the stage only dropped. Any violation of the above rules will result in the act not being eligible for the top ten and the awards will be announced for adjudication scores only.  If you have any questions regarding props please contact our office.  NOTE: DANCERS MUST PERFORM ON THE STAGE AND ARE NOT ALLOWED TO JUMP OFF THE STAGE OR DANCE IN THE AUDIENCE.

“We all know that many choreographers choose to include creative props or materials in their routines and I have seen some wonderful concepts over the years.  Many times I receive calls and emails regarding the use of props and design questions if certain things are acceptable or can be used.  My personal feelings regarding props are simple The Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  So I ask that you please take into consideration the other studios and their dancers when using props.  If you were watching a number on stage and your dancers were next to perform and the stage was heavily littered or altered how would you feel?  Dancers and teachers become upset and very timid to perform on a stage that has just been altered from its original condition.  In most situations the studio refuses to perform until the stage is safe and clean for their dancers.  Our staff can clean a stage to the best of our ability however that will not take away the mental fear for the dancers.  So please consider others when using props or materials that might cause dancers to hold back and not dance “full out”.  The fear of slipping or stepping on a nail or sharp object which might cause them to be injured while performing can be very intimidating.  Thank you for taking this into consideration”.


Tribute does not award gift certificates at our events.  All awards are in the form of a check which is mailed to the studio 3 days after the event.  Each Solo and Duet/Trio performer will receive a special award for their placements. For all Small Groups, Large Groups and Lines each member of the performing team will receive an appropriate lapel placement pin.  All routines are automatically eligible for “High Point” with the exception of the Family and Pro AM categories.   CASH PRIZES WILL BE AWARDED EQUALLY IN BOTH LEVELS.  Each Petite, Junior, Teen and Senior Solo High Point winner will receive a $100.00 CASH award.  Each Petite, Junior, Teen and Senior Duet/Trio High Point winner will receive a $100.00 CASH award. Each Small and Large Group High Point winner will receive a $125.00 CASH award and each Petite, Junior, Teen and Senior Line High Point winner will receive a $150.00 CASH award; The Top Ten Finalists for each Petite, Junior, Teen and Senior division will be announced and will receive a plaque.  In the top ten, the highest scoring solo will appear in the top scores meaning a soloist can only be in the top ten once per age division. All cash prizes will be mailed to the studio owner.

THE TRIBUTE TO DANCE AWARD  is presented to the studio with the highest scoring group number of the event from Small, Large and Lines and all ages combined in both levels.  One (1) for the Honor Level Group and One (1) for the Supreme Level Group.  A $500.00 cash prize will be awarded to these routines.

THE TRIBUTE TO MY PARENTS AWARD this heartfelt award will be decided by an essay submission from a dancer attending a Tribute Event.  The essay must be sent to our office via email 10 days before the event.  This essay must describe why you feel your parents should receive this award for things they have done for you during your years in dance.  Remember you are writing this as a Tribute to your parents and this should be written by the dancer only and not shared with the parents.  The parents who are selected by my family to receive this award will be invited on stage and portions of the essay will be read by the dancer to them for the first time.  The winner will be announced during one of the award segments and will not be notified prior to the event.  As a gift for their love, support and contributions to their children, Tribute will be returning all entry fees that were paid by the parents for the dancer who wrote the winning essay. A commemorative award will also be presented as a reminder of this special moment.  One award will be presented at each regional event.

THE JUDGES CHOICE AWARDS will be presented to the studios with the most entertaining numbers of the event from all ages combined from both levels. The judges will decide this not by score, rather by discussion.  The two winning numbers will each receive a $200 cash award.

THE TOUCHING HEARTS AWARD will signify and acknowledge thoughtfulness, compassion and love towards others at each event.  We ask for everyone who attends our event each weekend to play an important role in the selection process.   We ask for others to nominate studios simply by filling out a provided card and placing it in a nominating box at the merchandise area listing the studio you want to nominate (other than your own) and a short example of something you witnessed or experienced by that studio and its dancers.

CHOREOGRAPHY AWARDS will be selected by the judges from Small Groups and Large Group and Lines combined for each age division from both levels for a total of 16 per event.

TRIBUTE TITLE AWARDS: One Petite, Junior, Teen and Senior male as well as one Petite, Junior, Teen and Senior female will be selected from the Solo division of competition from both levels. The selection will be made by the judges on the basis of the performer exhibiting the most professional entertainment skills. This selection is separate from the scores the judges will be giving for the overall performance. Each soloist is automatically registered for title. The judges will award a Winner, 1st Runner Up and 2nd Runner Up for the title in each age division.

COSTUME AWARDS: One Petite, Junior, Teen and Senior will be selected from the Solo division of competition from both levels. The selection will be made by the judges on overall design, creativity, fit and workmanship. Each soloist is automatically registered for costume. The judges will award a Winner, 1st Runner Up and 2nd Runner Up for costume in each age division.


From day one at Tribute,  we have not charged a MEDIA FEE and prefer to NOT make revenue from the sale of videos and photos that are being purchased by studio owners, teachers and parents. We want to allow the studio owners to decide what is best for their families to provide important keepsakes for memories that are cherished. Each studio in attendance will be given FREE OF CHARGE photographer and video passes to use during the competition.  All ID passes must be worn by the studio representatives at all times. Tribute reserves the right to inspect cameras brought into the theater at any time. Tribute has the right to revoke any photography or video pass at any time for any reason.  Passes will be given to the studio owner at the event.

LIVE FEED: I have had this question asked many times so I wanted to clarify my reasoning for this decision.  If you look at the rules and regulations for almost every dance competition and convention you see this rule; “For the protection and security of those participating at our events, absolutely no video and photography is allowed during a performance on stage”.  This takes me to my own philosophy and views on LIVE FEED.  As a parent, I understand that live feeding an event is a wonderful feature for those parents and family members who cannot attend.  However, there is no way to control who is watching and viewing the kids on the internet.  So if there is a rule by events that says no video or photography is allowed to protect the dancers, why is it acceptable to allow these dancers to be seen by anyone at any time online?  In addition, over the years and still today, there have been times where others have video recorded routines and duplicated the choreography done by other teachers which now is even easier through live feeds or YouTube.  Because of these reasons I will NOT live feed our events.


Absolutely NO COACHING is allowed.

Smoking is not allowed in the performers’ area.

Absolutely NO ALCOHOLIC beverages are allowed and visible at a Tribute Competition.

Unless the venue gives permission, no food or drinks are to be brought into the auditorium, dressing or backstage area.

Tribute will make every effort to assign or designate dressing space based on the number of performers per studio.  When assignments are made more than one studio may be assigned to a single room.

As a courtesy to those viewing in the audience, we ask that you make every effort to enter and exit in between numbers and not while performances are on stage.  We know there are circumstances where you have no other option. Good Sportsmanship is expected at all times from performers, students, parents and those in the audience.  The use of profanity around children is strictly prohibited.  Tribute has the right to ask those who do not adhere to these standards to leave the event at any time.

Dancers competing in a dance competition take certain inherent risks including but not limited to sprains, bruises, pulled and sore muscles. Participants agree not to hold Tribute National Talent  Competition LLC, its officers or staff responsible for injuries, illnesses, theft or damages sustained while participating in any activity related to a Tribute National Talent Competition LLC event. Tribute is not responsible for lost or stolen property.