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🤠Competition Process Video🤠

STEP 1: Register for the competitions

  • After buying an Event ticket, look for the link (separately) on the page that clicks to where you can buy a competition ticket.  Sometimes it’s on the same page as the Event ticket. Other times the competition registration tickets may not be available until closer to the event.

  • A lot of people wait until 1-3 days before the Event to sign up for the Strictly portion, so they can find a partner.  For those doing Jack & Jill, it’s easy to just buy the competition ticket early.

  • Tip

    • Line dance competition choreographies will be released 4-6 weeks prior to the event.  Make sure to put ample time and practice into know the routines well and practicing ways to make the dances uniquely yours!

    • Competition registration is always less expensive when you register before the event, versus the day of. 


STEP 2: Check in at event

  • Once the Event starts, always listen up for any announcements from the Event hosts regarding YOUR competition or all competitions, since there are usually changes somewhere along the way in scheduling or whatever else.  Be adaptable and flexible for that.

  • There is a check-in station near the entrance where people can be assigned a number (tag) to put on their back or rear of clothes, along with 4 pins, so just save all that for the day of the competition. 

  • Tip

    • Many competitions require the dancer's number be on their back, ideally below the hairline.


STEP 3: Attend the Competition Meetings

  • There are pre-competition meetings with all the competitors of that contest, and one or more of the hosts and/or judges will let you know what’s happening, if things are on time or delayed, etc.  Most importantly, they would like to just give help you calm your pre-jitters by letting you know what they expect and what you can expect to happen.

  • Tip

    • Despite how many times you may have been to a meeting, it's important to attend so that you do not miss valuable information.


STEP 4: Be in attendance for your heats

  • Make sure to stay close or on the competition holding area so that you get proper directions and don’t get disqualified.  This is also a valuable warm up time when practice space is provided.

  • Tip

    • If you need to leave the practice space, make sure to inform a floor Marshall and the people around you so that if your name is called you can be accounted for.


STEP 5: Line Up & Take the Floor

  • The competition marshal will have you line up by order of your numbers.  It’s VERY important that you stay in line and ready to enter the floor.

  • Jack and Jill

    • Leads and follows will be lined up in separate lines and walked onto the floor to form pairs

    • After each song in the heat, the partner will be rotated.  Typically there are 2-3 songs per heat.

    • After the partners are rotated, all the competitors will rotate around the dance floor to dance in a new spot

  • Strictly

    • Arm in arm, you and your partner of choice will enter the floor and circle around until told to stop

    • Typically there are 2-3 songs per heat.

  • Line Dance

    • The “floor mom/dad” will guide you into how many line to create on the floor

    • Each dance will be done for a minimum of 2 min.  It is normal practice for prelim dances to be shortened while allowing the finals dances to be completed

    • Prelim Details

      • 1st, Ladies will dance the co-ed dance then the female dance

      • 2nd the Fellas will dance the co-ed dance then the male dance

  • Finals

    • Finalist from both prelim categories will compete in finals dance together

    • The top male will win a buckle.  The top female will when a buckle. Either the top male OR female wil also be crowded “Overall” winner.

  • Tip

    • As the host / judges walks the competitors around the dance floor, smile and wave and be cheerful.  Your other competitors needs you to be happy so that they can have confidence dancing with you too.


STEP 6: Be Aware of expectations while on the floor

  • All competitors will be asked to turn to face their numbers towards the judges (typically they are in the center but may be spread out throughout the floor.  Either way, the judges are trained to make their rounds to make sure each dancer gets seen by each judge. 

  • You must wait to be dismissed before leaving the floor after a competition.  We want to make sure that the judges see all the competitors equally to make the best judgments.


STEP 7: Stay tuned for call backs

  • One the competition is complete, there will be announcements concerning who made it back to the next round.  If your name/number is called, you MUST repeat steps 2-5.  There will typically be 2 “alternates” who will be called in to compete if any of the semi-finalist/finalists do not show on time.

STEP 8: Stay tuned for awards

  • Awards will happen Sunday before concerts. It’s important for all finalists to be in attendance.






  • Definition: Timing: “Stepping to the beat”

  • What Judges are looking for:  Judges should be able to tell if the song is fast or slow by watching your steps. 

  • Tip

    • Don’t rush through moves just to cram a bunch together.  Quality over quantity.  Let the partnership- and the audience- breath when watching you.


  • Definition: Quality of your dance foundation and basics

  • What judges are looking for: Judges want to see clean footwork, control (including balance), and frame which demonstrate good technique. Maintaining timing and level appropriate moves is also a part of technique

  • Tip

    • Don’t hold back on dancing “All Out”! But be aware of your essentials: frame, connection, and control


  • Definition: How well you dance with your dance partner 

  • What judges are looking for:  Judges are looking for how well competitors watch for each other safety, and demonstrate the ability to not outshine one another while actively engaging with one another. country swing is a lead/follow dance, demonstrating the ability to dance together, rather than just simultaneously 

  • Tip

    • Make sure to look at each other, act as if its only the two of you on the dance floor. This will help you stay in tuned as well. 


  • Definition: The moves that make up the dance: The order, transitions, and individual moves and combinations used throughout the dance

  • What judges are looking for:  Content should showcase a connection to the music, provide variety and when possible demonstrate and knowledge of multiple combinations of individual moves. content should be dance/partner level and space appropriate as well as respectful/tasteful.

  • Tip

    • Use the music to influence what type of moves and combinations are done.  Listen for highs and lows in the song.  Be creative on the phrase changes. Execute lifts at a time during the music where it really goes well!


  • Definition: The performance factor! How well you sell your dance to the judges and crowd

  • What judges are looking for:  Generating engagement by utilizing phrasing, drawing in the judges and crowd, and adding individual style and flare. providing good Showmanship is an important part of any competition, but is never a substitute for good dancing. 

  • Tip

    • As much as you are performing for the crowd, you really want to make sure the judges are seeing your best work. so make sure to angle your best moves in a way that the judges would be able to see them versus always having your back to the judges. 


  • When Allowed

    •  Strictly competitors at the Intermediate, Advanced, and All Star level

  • Not Allowed

    • Jack and Jill Competitions

    • Beginner Strictly

    • Any situation where your partner has not given you verbal permission to do a lift with them.




  • Definition: Knowing the step sheet version of the dance (A step sheet is the choreographers notes that states what each step is and to what count and direction during a routine)

  • What judges are looking for:  A demonstration of correct steps, timing, direction, and dance understanding.

  • Tip

    • It's good practice to look up the step sheets before you compete even if you feel like you've known the dance for years. Oftentimes the choreography gets a little muddled even if everyone in your place of dance does the same moves.



  • Definition: Stepping to the beat

  • What judges are looking for:  Dancers should step on the beat with the choreography.

  • Tip

    • Be aware of adrenaline that can make you move faster than the music. consciously slow down and check that you are on time periodically throughout the competition.


  • Definition: How you hold and move your body.

  • What judges are looking for:   being able to control your movement, including steps, angles, and balance throughout your dance is pivotal in competing.

  • Tip

    • Sometimes the excitement of the competition can cause moves to look sloppy and therefore blurred. make your movements clear and precise.



  • Definition: How well you sell your dance to the judges and crowd.

  • What judges are looking for:  Judges are looking for individual style and flair. 

  • Tip

    • Playing with different lyrics in the music as well as creating your own variations during choreography can bring a lot of fun Dynamics to your dance and of course, smile! 

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