Rules and Event Information


Please read level descriptions carefully and be fair and honest with dancer placement. No Competitive Division dancers permitted in Novice Gems and Future Gems Divisions. A recreational dancer may opt to perform in a higher division.

Note: Recreational Divisions will now be split into four age groups: 8 & under, 9-11, 12-14 and 15-19 for High Score Overall Awards when minimum routine count requirements are met. 

  • Novice Gems - For the recreational dancer that meets at least two of the following criteria:
    • Trains two hours or less per week
    • Has had a total of two years or less of training in any one or a combination of dance forms
    • First year competitors (one year is a season of nine months or more)
    • Note: Solos and Duos/Trios must be 100% Novice Gems.Groups and lines may be 70% Novice Gems with the remaining 30% Future Gems. Pointe routines are not allowed in this division.
  • Future Gems - For the recreational dancer that meets the following criteria:
    • Trains five hours or less per week over the past three years
    • Time is inclusive of training in any genre in or out of the studio
  • Competitive - For the competitive dancer who trains more than five hour per week and based solely on age, as follows:
    • Petite - ages 8 and under
    • Junior - ages 9-11
    • Teen - ages 12-14
    • Senior - ages 15-19
  • Adult - For a routine with any one dancer age 20 or older


Any recreational dancer registered in more than five competitive division routines (excluding Productions) will be ineligible to compete in the recreational divisions. Any routine found to be in violation of the Division Conflict rule will be automatically moved to the competitive division and the studio will be notified by email.


Enter dancers according to age as of January 1, 2017. For duo/trios, groups, and lines, average the dancers’ ages and drop all decimals to determine the age group. Age groups are: 4& under, 5-6, 7-8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17-19, 20-28, 29+.


  • Solo - 1 Dancer | 2:45 Standard | 3:15 Extended
  • Duo/Trio - 2-3 Dancers | 2:45 Standard | 3:15 Extended
  • Small Group - 4-9 Dancers | 3:00 Standard | 4:00 Extended
  • Large Group - 10-19 Dancers | 4:00 Standard | 6:00 Extended
  • Line - 20+ Dancers | 4:00 Standard | 7:00 Extended
  • Production - 20+ Dancers | 6:00 Standard | 10:00 Extended

Note: Extended time limits include set-up and tear-down of props and stage sets. Routines must be pre-registered for Extended Time as this cannot be added after a routine has already performed.


Note: Lip sync and vocalization are permitted in all categories. Gymnastic/acrobatic moves are limited to three in all categories except Acro Dance, Student Choreography, Open, Pom/Drill & Production, which allow unlimited moves. A round-off is considered an acro move unless used as a pass preparation. Acro moves performed in unison by two or more dancers are considered one move. Consecutive moves by different dancers are counted separately.

  • Acro Dance - Acrobatic routine incorporating dance choreography
  • Ballet - Routine containing classical ballet techinique
  • Contemporary - Demonstrates a fusion of ballet, lyrical or jazz with modern movement & technique
  • Folkloric - Ethnic dance such as Clogging, Hawaiian, Irish, Spanish, etc.
  • Hip-Hop - Stree Dance, Free-Style, Pop 'n Lock, etc.
  • Jazz - Routine containing traditional or current jazz technique
  • Jazz Funk - A fusion of jazz technique and elements of hip-hop
  • Lyrical - Choreography that expresses the lyrics of the music
  • Modern - Dance emphasizing interpretive movement using modern technique
  • Musical Theatre - Broadway, novelty, or theme-based
  • Open - Any style or combo of genres. Anything goes!
  • Pointe - Classical ballet technique performed en pointe
  • Pom/Drill - Drill team style, with or without poms
  • Song & Dance - Contains live singing & dance choreography. No pre-recorded vocal melody line permitted; however, backup vocals are allowed. Two hands-free or hand-held wireless microphones provided upon request.
  • Student Choreography - Student choreographed routine of any style or group size with no instructor assistance. No repetition of music or major dance combos from other studio routines. Choreographer does not need to perform in the routine. Routine may be registered in regular categories at studio's discretion.
  • Tap - Any style of tap work & technique, including Broadway, rhythm, soft shoe, etc.


  • Interpretive - Impromptu choreography to music selected by Spotlight – approx. one minute in length. Dancer can choose from Hip-Hop, Jazz, Lyrical or Tap. Music will be provided by the Stage Manager approx. 15 min. prior to performance. Competitive division only.
  • Photogenic - Submit a high resolution photo to be judged on overall appearance. Dancer will register in the competitive division based on age on January 1, 2017. Registered competitors only.
  • Production - Theme based or story line routine that may contain multiple ages, levels and dance forms. Production routines may contain one adult dancer.
  • Teacher/Pro - For any dancer 20 years or older that receives payment for choreography, performance and/or instruction. A routine containing any one Teacher/Pro must be entered in this category.
  • Title Solo - For competitive division dancer competing for the title of Mr. or Miss Spotlight. Dancer may register multiple solos for Title.
    • Note: 2016 Titleholders are ineligible to compete in 2017 unless moving to a new age division, but may compete in subsequent years or at another event. The same person cannot hold the title in more than one event in the same year.
  • Vocal - Vocal Performance of any genre. May include limited choreography but must be at least 75% vocal.No pre-recorded vocal melody is permitted; backup vocalizations are allowed. Two hands-free or hand-held wireless mics will be provided upon request.


A unique opportunity presented at Spotlight Dance Cup designed to showcase your studio’s most talented dancers! Register for these awards in advance or at the event. Applies to Competitive division only. You may register multiple combinations for each award; however a routine may only be used once. Highest combined score will receive a beautiful crystal trophy. Additional fee applies.

  • Triple Crown - Choose three solos from the same competitive division. These can be the same or different dancers and can feature any category. Awarded during the solo awards ceremony for that division.
  • Studio Achievement for Duo/Trio - Choose three duo/trios from different competitive divisions. Awarded at the final duo/trio awards ceremony. (e.g. Junior duo, Teen duo, Senior trio)
  • Studio Achievement for Groups/Lines - Choose three groups or lines from different competitive divisions. Awarded at the final group awards ceremony. (e.g. Petite small group, Teen large group, Senior small group)


Register online. Completed online entries, an e-signed Terms and Conditions Agreement, and PAYMENT IN FULL must be submitted for entries to be accepted. Independent dancers may register for Spotlight Dance Cup; please create an online account for more details.


  • Entry Fees - Please log in to your studio account or contact the Spotlight office for 2017 entry fees. Rates will be given to studio directors and teachers only.
  • Registration Fee - Each studio/independent entry will be charged a $25 registration fee. This fee is waived when invoice total exceeds $2000. Studios that require their solo/duo/trio dancers to enter and pay independently under their studio name will be charged a $25.00 per transaction fee.
  • Special Performance Time Request - Spotlight will accept special requests for a $20 fee per routine up to the closing deadline. Payment is due at the time of request. Spotlight will make every effort to meet each request, however, if we are unable to do so the studio will be notified with alternatives which may include a refund for the effected routine.


Payment is required at the point of registration via our online payment system. Payment not received by the closing date is considered delinquent and subject to a 10% delinquency charge of total due ($20 minimum). After 14 days of non-payment following the closing date, an additional 5% delinquency fee, per week, is assessed until the account is paid in full.

Prior to the closing date, e-check, credit/debit card, studio check, cashiers’ check, money order or gift certificates will be accepted. After the closing date or at the event, only certified funds will be accepted – credit card, cashiers’ check, money order and/or cash. Returned checks are assessed a $35 fee; any applicable rebate is forfeited and delinquency charges and/or late fees may apply. Refunds for overpayment will be issued in the original form of payment 10 days following the event.


No entry fee refunds will be issued after the closing date. No exceptions. In the case of medical emergencies, a 50% credit in the form of a gift certificate may be issued upon receipt of an official doctor’s statement.


Studio Directors, earn a 5% - 8% rebate for your loyal support! To qualify, registration must exceed $2000 and be paid in full by the rebate deadline. Credit card payments will receive a 3% rebate regardless of Royalty Reward Level. Visit our website or call the Spotlight office for more details.


Check your invoice carefully and immediately following the closing deadline for accuracy. Any change requested within seven days of the closing date will be made free of charge, after which a $20 fee will be assessed and must be paid at time of request. Changes may be requested until Friday 5:00pm MST, one week prior to the regional event. Any change requested after that deadline must be made at the event. All change requests are subject to event capacity restrictions and are not guaranteed.


Entries submitted after the closing date will be charged a $20 fee per routine. Late entries will be accepted up to and including the competition day if time permits and must be paid at time of submission.

Note: No changes or additions will be made on any account that is not paid in full. Late or changed entries may not be reflected in the souvenir program or on studio group plaques.


Spotlight reserves the right to limit and/or close registration at any time, cancel or reschedule an event, add additional days, extend any competition as a result of the number of entries received, change venues, or to make any other reasonable changes deemed necessary. When an event is closed due to over-capacity registration, entries will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis according to the actual received date of full payment and completed registration. In the event of cancellation, entry fees will be refunded or transferred to another event, as desired by the studio.


Teacher Packets will be available approximately two weeks prior to the event on the registration portal. Email notification will be sent when the schedule has been finalized. Teacher Packets include event schedule, individual studio schedule with entry numbers, facility directions and any additional pertinent information.


Note: Music submitted at the event must be turned in at studio check-in or to the Sound Technician at least 10 routines before performance time. Regardless of how music is submitted, you must have a backup available in the form of CD, flash drive, or iPod.

  • Music Upload - Music may be submitted prior to the event via our website. Simply use the Upload Music button in your registration portal. All music submitted online via the registration process will be transported to the event by Spotlight.
  • USB Flash Drive - Each routine must be labeled as follows: #_routine name_studio code (example: 010_Fever_C). All music for the event can be submitted on one flash drive, in mp3 format with a minimum bit rate of 128. However, if you are attending an event with multiple stages, please provide separate flash drives for each stage.
  • CDs - Record one routine per CD at the appropriate speed - sound technician will not adjust tempo. CD should be submitted in an individual protective case or sleeve; Spotlight is not responsible for damaged CDs and will not accept binders or briefcases. Music labels will be available on the registration portal once the schedule is finalized. If any changes are made to your registration, please be sure to re-label your music with the most current information. Place the label on the protective sleeve or case, not on the actual CD as this can cause damage to the CD player. CDs will only be accepted for current day’s performances; however, can be turned in the evening preceding subsequent competition days.


Props and/or stage sets are allowed in all routines. Fire, knives, weapons, live animals, helium-filled balloons, and fog machines are prohibited. Motor vehicles cannot be started. Props involving electricity must be UL approved, portable, and self-contained. Extension cords for any prop or stage set requiring power must be supplied by the studio and available outlets are not guaranteed. Maximum power available is limited to a single 110 volt/15 amp outlet. Any power necessary over and above that must be approved by our Director of Production by emailing All props must be free standing and may not be attached to any apparatus or stage rigging. Special lighting requests are not permitted.
Props and stage sets must be set up and removed in their entirety within one minute total time, except Productions, which are allowed three minutes. If additional time is needed for props/sets, register as an extended time routine and adhere to stated time limits. Props can be delivered backstage up to two hours prior to a performance and must be removed within one hour following the performance. Storage space for props (and/or prop trailers & trucks) is not guaranteed and the parking location of such must be Spotlight and/or venue staff approved.

Note: Props or objects of any kind may not be thrown off the stage, cause damage, or leave any residue on the stage floor - such as liquids, gels, aerosols, glitters, powders, etc. Stage must be returned to its original pre-performance condition within thirty seconds. Choreography that allows any dancer to be physically placed more than six feet off the ground on any scenic piece or prop may be considered hazardous and result in a point deduction penalty. Routines in violation of these safety standards may be penalized or disqualified at Spotlight’s discretion.


Dancers competing for this prestigious Spotlight award will perform in two categories – Title solo and on stage interview. Scores are combined to determine overall winners; when multiple solos are entered for Title, the highest solo score is used. Title upgrades are allowed at the event if time permits. Title winners receive a custom jacket, sash, Nationals gift certificate and will be featured on our website. Dancers must qualify at a regional event in order to compete for the National Title.

  • Title Solo - Title solos may be in any category and are still eligible for overall awards.
  • On Stage Interview - All contestants in the same division will join the Show Director on stage to perform the following:
    • Biography - Recite a bio that includes name, age, city, state, studio, and teacher(s)/choreographer(s). This can be phrased in any fashion, however, no singing or additional information permitted.
    • Question - Answer one of four questions which may be obtained from the Stage Manager no more than one hour prior to the on stage interview.
    • Dance Combo - Contestant will perform a 15 second or less dance combination in any style without music.
    • Attire - Basic dancewear and any type of shoe is permitted – No costumes or embellishments of any kind permitted on the attire. Rhinestone jewelry and/or hair accessories are acceptable.
    • Noncompliance to any of the above will result in a 5-point penalty per infraction.


All photogenic entries must be turned in to the Spotlight Boutique at the event. Do not mail to the Spotlight office. Registration is allowed up to one hour prior to each division’s scheduled solo awards ceremony. Photo must be taken within the past twelve months and an 8x10 headshot is recommended. Please print dancer name, age, studio name and event on the back of each photo. Multiple photos may be submitted; however, only one dancer per photo. Mr. Photogenic will be awarded when minimum registration requirement is met, otherwise, they will be combined with female entries.

Winning photos will be retained and automatically entered in our Championship Finals. Winners may be featured in Spotlight’s brochures, ads and programs. Photogenic entries will not receive score sheets. It is the responsibility of the contestant to retrieve any non-winning photos from the Spotlight Boutique prior to the end of event. Spotlight is not responsible for the return of any photos or for any photo that is misplaced, lost or damaged.


Directors (or designees) are required to check in either thirty minutes prior to the start of the event or at least one hour prior to their first scheduled performance. At this time, submit your pre-labeled music (if applicable) and receive all pertinent event information. 


A studio representative (teacher, dancer, etc.) must check in with the Stage Manager three routines prior to their performance. Intentional manipulation of performance order (i.e. purposely rehearsing or delaying) may result in penalty or disqualification at the discretion of Spotlight Staff or judges.


Simulates a professional audition where dancers are taught a short, jazz-style combination on stage for the judges. Contestants will be split into performance groups and the winners are chosen through process of elimination. Purchase your ticket at the Spotlight Boutique and register according to age on the day of the event. Prizes awarded to finalists in each division. Dance Downs may be available in the following divisions:

  • Future Gems - Recreational dancers with a suggested age range of 8-14 (select cities only)
  • Junior - Competitive dancers 12& under, with a suggested minimum age of 8
  • Senior - Competitive dancers ages 13-19


Spotlight judges are comprised of championship caliber studio directors, professional dance instructors, and performing dance professionals. Our judges are well trained in multiple genres of dance and are sensitive to the various skills represented by the dancers’ differing ages and levels. This mixture of age, breadth of dance experience, and extensive background in performing arts contributes to the diverse range of feedback our judges offer competitors. Every effort is made to provide feedback in five main areas: Technique, Choreography, Age/Skill level, Execution and Performance Skills.


A panel of three or more judges will score each routine based on a system of 100 points per judge. Ties will be broken based on 1) highest technique score 2) highest presentation score 3) judges’ decision. Judges’ decisions are final.

  • Technique - 30 points
  • Execution - 25 points
  • Presentation - 25 points
  • Choreography - 10 points
  • Difficulty - 10 points


  • Routine Not Completed - 15 points
  • Wrong Category / Division - 10 points
  • Over Time Limit - 10 points
  • Time Rule Violation - 5 points
  • Safety Violation - 5 to 10 points
  • Performance Order Violation - 5 to 10 points
  • Family Friendly Rule Violation - 5 to 30 points
  • Other Rule Violations - 5 to 25 points

Note: Other Rule Violations include, but are not limited to dancer prompting, videography or photography violation, facility abuse, screaming, dancer heckling or other unsportsmanlike behavior. Spotlight reserves the right to assess penalties, adjudicate only or disqualify routines and/or a studio if deemed necessary.


  • Diamond | 261 - 300
  • Ruby | 252-260
  • Emerald | 234-251
  • Sapphire | 200-233


  • Diamond | 264-300
  • Ruby | 255-263
  • Emerald | 237-254
  • Sapphire | 200-236


  • Diamond | 267-300
  • Ruby | 258-266
  • Emerald | 240-257
  • Sapphire | 200-239


  • Diamond | 270-300
  • Ruby | 261-269
  • Emerald | 243-260
  • Sapphire | 200-242


  • Diamond | 273-300
  • Ruby | 264-272
  • Emerald | 264-263
  • Sapphire | 200-245


Each dancer/routine will receive a Diamond, Ruby, Emerald, or Sapphire placement award based on our adjudicated point system (subject to adjustment if deemed appropriate). A category winner award will be given in each category to the routine with the highest score with two or more routines competing.


High Score Overall awards are given in each division and group size, will range from 1-20, and are based on the amount of registration. Divisions, age groups and/or group sizes may be combined. The same dancer cannot place more than once as an overall soloist. A representative from the studio must be present at the awards ceremony to be eligible for overall awards.


Cash awards and/or gift certificates are given for 1st-4th place in the competitive divisions for each group size when the minimum requirements are met. Monetary prizes are the property of the studio and distributed at the director’s discretion. Studios can receive up to double the cash value when used toward National Finals 2017 registration!


“Spotlight Awards” will be given at each awards ceremony in the following areas: Outstanding Costume, Showmanship, Technical Skill, Choreography, and “A Cut Above”. Spotlight Events will award an undetermined number of Special Awards at the Director’s and/or Judges’ discretion, including Judge’s Choice, Sweepstakes and Sportsmanship Awards.


Spotlight Dance Cup recognizes individuals (ages 16-19) that excel both on and off stage through our “Sharing the Spotlight” Scholarship Program. for more information visit


If you, as the studio director, believe that a routine has not been entered in the correct division, you may challenge the specific routine by following our written protest procedures. Please see the Show Director at the event for the appropriate protest form. Any routine challenged and found to be in violation of the division criteria may be disqualified adjudicated only, or bumped to the proper division at Spotlight’s discretion. Protests must be submitted at least one hour prior to the applicable ceremony and preferably within 30 minutes of the performance in question.


Dancers’ safety is paramount at Spotlight Dance Cup. Stage Managers, marley floor, and first aid kits are provided. Spotlight stresses the importance of safety and executing only those skills, techniques and practices that will not cause undue harm or injury to performers, spectators, or the stage. In order to ensure the safety of all, 100% of choreography must be performed within the boundaries of the provided stage area. Dancing in aisles, on or around the judges’ table, jumping off the stage, and/or performing in any other part of the theatre is strictly prohibited. Routines in violation of these noted safety standards will be penalized or disqualified at Spotlight’s discretion.


Spotlight Dance Cup is dedicated to providing an environment that is family friendly. We realize that dance is an art form and crosses a broad range of styles and tastes; however, routines, costumes and music must be age appropriate and suitable for audiences that include children of every age. Offensive language/lyrics, choreography, costuming, and/or the use of dance themes such as rape, suicide, murder, sex, domestic violence, anorexia or other dark undertones presented with a lack of “artistic discretion” may be considered inappropriate. We recognize that this is extremely subjective and sensitive. Therefore, Spotlight judges and staff will use their utmost professional judgment to ensure appropriateness while still encouraging artistic creativity.


Recording and transmitting devices of any kind are strictly prohibited, as in any professional performance venue, in order to abide by copyright law and due to the prevalence of persons of questionable nature. Your cooperation is appreciated to protect the dancers and the work of the choreographers. As a convenience to participants, a professional videographer and photographer will be at the event and their products will be available for purchase. No recording devices of any type are allowed in the dressing rooms. We have the exclusive right to deny any person(s) or studio(s) access to the competition in any way due to misconduct, misuse, or otherwise. Failure to comply with these guidelines could result in penalties or disqualification of the dancer(s) and/or studio. We urge all studio owners, teachers, and especially parents, to help keep our performers photographically safe.


Same gender parents and teachers only allowed in dressing rooms. Family dressing space is available upon request. Please see the Stage Manager for details.


Teachers and performers only allowed backstage. Teachers must have their identification (Spotlight teacher lanyard) visible. ALL parents and students not performing in the current division are to watch from the audience.


We secure high quality theaters and utilize stages of no less than 40 ft. wide by 30 ft. deep and covered with Marley floor. For further information about a particular venue, please contact our office.


Dressing rooms, performance, workshop and audience areas are to be left in the same condition after the competition as before. If any attendee abuses the premises in any way, or food/drink/gum is found on the premises, Spotlight reserves the right to discard it and to excuse spectators and competitors from the event. Non-compliance could result in disqualification of the dancer and/or studio.


Workshop classes will be held at select Regional events for dancers ages 10 and up. Classes may be offered in various genres including but not limited to jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop, tap, and musical theatre. Classes are subject to time availability, minimum participation requirements, and any other parameters deemed applicable. Pre-registration is encouraged; however, late registration will be accepted, space permitting, at the “At Event” rates. Registration fees are nonrefundable. Registered Teachers and Directors will be admitted to classes with their Spotlight issued Backstage Pass.

  • Single Class - $30 Pre-Registered | $35 At Event
  • Full Day (Three Classes) - $75 Pre-Registered | $90 At Event
  • Observer - $25 Pre-Registered | $25 At Event


Observers at regional workshops must purchase an observer pass, accompany a workshop attendee and may not take class or notes at any time. No children allowed unless registered dancers. Recording and transmitting devices of any kind are strictly prohibited to protect the dancers and the work of the choreographers.


Studio bags containing music submitted at the event and gift certificates/cash award forms will be available at the end of the event or after the awards ceremony once the entire studio has finished competing. Studio bags must be picked up by an authorized studio representative only and checked out from a Spotlight staff member. Spotlight is not responsible for any unclaimed material. In order to have your bags/contents returned to you Shipping and Handling charges will apply with a minimum fee of $20.


Log in to your studio account on the registration portal following the event. Audio critiques and score sheets will be available Tuesday following your event and video critiques available Friday. Information is provided to studio directors only.