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What is Competitive Dance?

By Lesley Mealor / Edited by Samantha Bellerose, B.Ed, Dip.Dance(Performing Arts)

Competitive dance is an umbrella term that encompasses many styles of dance, including but not limited to ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap, contemporary, hip hop, and acro dance. You will normally not see a dance class labeled as simply “Competitive Dance”; rather, the class may be called something like “Competition Team Jazz Class”, which simply indicates that the dancers participating are a part of the studio’s competition team. To best understand competitive dance, you must understand what kind of dance competitions there are.

Ballet competitions host dancers ages 7-18 who compete in only ballet, pointe, and contemporary ballet styles. This kind of competition is very serious, with dancers who win at the highest level often receiving scholarships, or immediate placement in a professional company. 

Hip hop battles are also a form of dance competition, and in these events, you will often see adult and young adult dancers participating, which doesn’t normally occur in other types of competitions. Hip hop crews consisting of three or more people compete together, and individuals can compete in specific styles, like locking, popping, or breaking.

The most popular kind of dance competition includes all forms of dance, and is normally attended by dancers ages 5 to 18 who typically train at a high level. Competitions are held on weekends throughout the year, and dancers compete in solos as well as group routines in all forms of dance. 

Typically, in a competitive dance class of any style, you will be expected to wear the proper attire for that style, be committed to an attendance policy, and attend multiple competitions per year. For a dancer who is interested in taking their training to a higher level, competitive dance is one way to do so!

This page is just one of hundreds of definitions of the many styles and genres of dance. This library is being continually added to by the writers and contributors of Dance Parent 101!