National Championship


All routines must perform on the day and session they are scheduled. Any routine that performs out of their session will not be eligible for overall awards. Please refer to the tentative schedule for estimated performance days.

Events scheduled July 19-21 may have to perform one day earlier or one day later than indicated.

Judging Criteria


Judges are required to be familiar with the basic techniques of the major dance disciplines – ballet, jazz, modern, acrobatic and tap. The age of the dancer and their ability to properly execute each movement is considered as well as balance, control, stretch, fluidity and musical timing. In addition, when it comes to the dancer's ability to perform choreography, the following may also be considered: use of music and musical phrasing, use of space, dimensions or levels, appropriateness of the technical level for the age, emotional content, movement and style, and creativity and originality.


The presentation score takes into consideration the dancer’s ability to capture the audience, their personality, emotional execution, charisma, enthusiasm and energy. It also takes into consideration the appropriateness of costume, makeup, grooming, etc.

Awards and Scoring

Headliners’ scoring is modeled after the letter grading system used by public and private schools. Many competitions’ policies begin awards at gold or have set up their awards so that lower scores (80s and 70s) still receive gold awards. At Headliners, dancers will compete against an adjudicated scoring system and receive awards that realistically correspond to the scores received.

Three judges are allocated 200 points each (100 for technique, 100 for presentation). The average score is determined by adding the total number of points received and dividing by 6, i.e., an elite gold award is a minimum of 558 points.

  1. Elite Gold558-600 points (average score of 93+)
  2. High Gold540-557 points (average score of 90-92)
  3. Gold522-539 points (average score of 87-89)
  4. High Silver504-521 points (average score of 84-86)
  5. Silver480-503 points (average score of 80-83)
  6. High Bronze462-479 points (average score of 77-79)

Adjudicated awards, judges' awards and Platinum Circle finalists (see below) will be announced at each Awards Ceremony every day. One trophy will be awarded to each routine. Pins pertaining to the award received will be presented to dancers in duos through productions. Additional trophies may be purchased after the awards ceremony. Dancers/routines that have chosen to participate in our “Trophy or Charity” option will be listed in the program.

Platinum Circle Championships "Dance Off"

At National Championships only, a Platinum Award level is addded. At each awards ceremony, any routine that receives a score of 570 or higher (95+ average score) will be announced as a finalist for the Platinum Circle Championship. The top scoring of those routines (max 50) will then compete against one another for additional cash awards.

Cash Awards and Scolarships

Adjudicated awards, judges' awards and Platinum Circle finalists will be announced at each awards ceremony each day. All overall awards, cash awards and scholarships will be announced and presented at the Awards Banquet, July 22nd. Cash award winners must be present at the Awards Banquet to accept their award.

Time Limits

Routines at Nationals will be timed. Please be sure that all music is cut to the proper length. The length of the routine is determined from the first note of music to the last note of music. Routines that are over time will receive a 5 point deduction for every 10 seconds or portion thereof over the time limit.

  1. Solos2 minutes, 45 seconds
  2. Duos, Trios, Small Groups, Large Groups3 minutes
  3. Productions4 minutes
  4. Extended6 minutes
  5. Extended Plus8 minutes

*Note: Small Groups, Large Groups and Productions that are over the above time limits can take advantage of the Extended and Extended Plus time options during registration.

Entry Fees

Please refer to the tour brochure or log into your Dance Era account. All entry fees will be listed on your Dance Era home page.

Age Divisions

The age of the dancers will be the same as from regionals. Placement of dancers is based on their age as of January 1st. Dancers will compete by individual ages (6 & under, 7, 8, etc. within their overall age division. Placement of dup/trios, groups, and productions is determined by adding all of the ages and dividing by the number of dancers in the routine. Decimal points are dropped.

National Title Championships

The Title Championships is a separate competition, run pageant-style, held at the beginning of Nationals.

Who Can Participate?

  • Dancers selected as regional title winners on our 2016 Regional Tour.
  • Broadway level dancers who performed a solo on our 2016 Regional Tour and earned a high gold or an elite gold score (will be listed as an open contestant).


Dancers cannot perform a routine more than once at Nationals. If a dancer has chosen to participate in the Title Championships and they have more than one solo, they can choose to do one in title and one in solo competition. If a dancer has only one solo, they have the choice of performing at the Title Championships or during solo competition.

Note: There must be two contestants for a title category to be official.


A panel of 5 judges will view all performances. The highest and lowest of the scores for each routine are dropped and the final score is determined by averaging the final three judges’ scores.

The Title Championships are not adjudicated. There is one overall winner in each of the age divisions. (i.e. Petite Miss Headliner, Junior Miss Headliner, etc.) Runner-up awards will also be presented for every 5 contestants (i.e. 5 dancers – 1st runner-up, 10 dancers – 1st & 2nd runner-up, etc.). National Title winners will be presented with a custom jacket and all female title winners will also receive a tiara. Title winners will also be recognized and presented with their cash scholarships at the Awards Banquet.

Title Championship Opening Number Rehearsals

All title contestants will perform in an opening number to be choreographed by a leading industry choreographer and performer. Rehearsals begin the morning of July 17th. A detailed schedule will be available with final confirmations.

Costumes will be provided to all contestants. Please indicate size(s) on the official entry form. Male Dancers are required to provide their own black pants, shirts will be provided. Costume sizes can be listed as CS, CM, CL, AS, AM, AL.

What do you need to do in order to participate?

  • Fill out the official entry form and fax or email it to the Headliners office by the May 25th deadline. Fax: 973-927-8012 |
  • Email a digital headshot (jpg format, minimum resolution of 1080px high). All dancers' headshots will be in the National program and used during the Title Championships ceremony. (Professional photo not required, a home digital photo is fine.)

Competition Levels

Hollywood Division (recreational):

Students who have limited training and/or competition experience. Dancers will be judged on a more lenient scale and receive trophies based on placement. Hollywood routines will be recognized with separate overall awards. All scores will be recognized. Credit vouchers will be awarded to the highest scoring high gold or elite gold routines in 12-and-under and 13-and-over age divisions.

Broadway Division (competitive):

For dancers that take multiple classes per week, have years of training and/or competition experience. Cash scholarships will be awarded in the Broadway level in four age categories: child, junior, teen and senior. All awards are presented to the dance studio. A minimum of 10 entries in each overall age division is required for overall awards to be presented. If there are less than the required number of routines, age divisions may be combined in order to present an overall award.

Pro-Am Competition:

For dancers earning a living from teaching or performing, or for any routine with a combination of amateur and professional dancers. The Pro-Am competition is not eligible for overall awards. (Note: Dancers age 18 and younger are not considered professional.)

Student Choreography

Students must be age 21 or younger to participate. Student choreography entered at Regionals is eligible to compete at Nationals for the title of Student Choreographer of the Year.

NOTE: Routines entered in the Student Choreography category will not be eligible for the Teacher/Choreographer of the Year award.

Video Critiques and Score Sheets

Video critiques are available to studios at Nationals by request. A master score sheet will be available to teachers only at the conclusion of all your students’ performances at the tabulator table.

Category Reminders

Ballet and pointe may not have any gymnastic/acrobatic tricks. Jazz, tap and lyrical routines may have a maximum number of 3 acro tricks. All other categories may have unlimited acro tricks. One point per judge will be deducted for any infraction.

General Policies

Substance Use:

Headliners has a ZERO TOLERANCE policy. No drugs or alcohol are permitted in or around the competition or workshop areas. Anyone abusing this rule will be removed from the facility.

Video and Photography:

No cameras of any kind are allowed. If anyone is found using a camera for photo or video purposes, the routine will be automatically disqualified. Anyone who continues to disreguard this rule will be ejected from the event.

Note: Cameras are allowed during the Awards Ceremonies.


The following are acceptable for playback: CDs (audio format to guarantee compatibility), iPads, and iPods (mini versions of iPods are not acceptable). CDs should be labeled with studio code and routine number. iPads and iPods should have a separate playlist in order of appearance. Except for Title Championships, music may be picked up at the end of your performance. Headliners is not responsible for any music not picked up.

Contestant Check-In:

Contestants are required to check in with the Master of Ceremonies backstage and should be ready to perform up to 30 minutes in advance of their scheduled times.

Nationals 2015

Follow us on facebook to see additional winners and posts!

Contact Us Today

Headliners Dance Championships 11 Middlebury Blvd. Ste 1 Randolph, NJ 07869 Phone:973-927-8007 Fax:973-927-8012

Join Us on Social Media

Tour Positions Available