Rules & Regulations


Payment and submission of entry forms is deemed acceptance to abide by the rules set out below.

1. Shires Festival of Dance is open to dancers deemed as amateurs 21 years & under on 31st August in the year of the Festival. An amateur is someone who does not derive monetary benefit other than out of pocket expenses within the dance profession, either as a performer, or through the teaching/ instruction of dance. Competitors are not eligible to enter if enrolled in full time vocational dance school.

2. The age of the competitor is taken as on the 1st day of September in the year of entry. Accuracy in birth dates is essential. Incorrect age may lead to disqualification and in case of doubt a birth certificate may be required.

3. Entry: All entries must be submitted on official entry forms and received by the Secretary no later than the closing date indicated. Late entry acceptance will be at the discretion of the Festival Committee, however a late entry fee will be applied of £1.00 per dance per dancer received.

4. Fees: BACS is the preferred method of payment direct to the Festival bank account (details will be provided in Festival entry pack). The correct entry fee must accompany all entries; please follow guidelines set out in the Festival Entry Information.

5. Entry fees will not be refunded in any circumstances. Specific dance date requests are not guaranteed.

6. Shires Festival of Dance Association reserves the right to:

  • Refuse any proposed entry without assigning a reason for doing so.
  • Close entries early if the Festival becomes over-subscribed.
  • Withhold awards in any class in which it is considered that there are insufficient entries.
  • May combine/cancel sections when entries are small, or divide a class when entries are large.
  • Decide upon the order in which the classes will be taken.
  • Make any other regulations, interpret or qualify any rules as the occasion may arise without prior notice.

7. Competitors may enter once in own choreography sections and solo classes.

8. Duets, Trios, & Quartets: the age of the eldest competitor determines the class; when completing entry forms ensure entry is completed on eldest competitor form. A competitor may enter twice per genre with a change of partner. Baby and Junior duets, trios and quartets are only eligible to enter twice in cabaret and classical sections providing either there is a change in partner or the genre of dance.

9. Novice: Novices are deemed to be a competitor who has never gained a 1st place at any other Festival. Novices are permitted to enter novice or open solo sections at their choice, but not both. When a competitor enters a novice section only one entry is permitted per classical and cabaret section; please see genre descriptors under ‘Festival Entry Information’.

10. Own Choreography Classical & Cabaret and Choreography for Others are all solo entry sections and the guidelines stated in the ‘Festival Entry Information’ section of the syllabus should be adhered to; age of the choreographer for Choreography for Others will determine the relevant age class to be entered; the choreographer should not dance in their piece. Choreographic material can be set as any of the following: solo, duet, trio, quartet, or group depending on the choreographer’s visions, using amateur (see rule 1) dancers up to 21 years of age. Competitor’s choosing to choreograph a group piece should adhere to the following guidelines; a minimum of five dancers and a maximum of 12 dancers.

11. Groups must have a minimum of eight and a maximum of 25 dancers; eldest competitor determines the class, group entry forms to be completed by Principal. All requested information is required.

12. Re-Dance: A re-dance will be permitted either with or without a placing. Only competitors up to the age of 8 (Baby & A) will be permitted to re-dance and be awarded a place, competitor’s ages 9 years and above will be permitted to re-dance (this is at the committee’s discretion and that of the Adjudicator), however they will not be eligible to be awarded a place. This is to aid individuals’ self-confidence whilst encouraging performers to improvise and to not leave the stage and so start training for professional theatre. Novice competitors’ will be permitted to re-dance regardless of age.

13. Competitors must dance in the order stated in the programme; variation of this will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances. Late arrivals or not being available at the time stated will be taken as an indication of a refusal to compete. The times stated in the programme are approximate and all competitors must be available to compete at least 30 minutes beforehand.

14. Competitors must report to Festival personnel on the admission desk 15 minutes prior to their section and be seated at the front prior to their number being announced.

15. It is not permitted for a dancer younger than 13 years of age in any senior duet, trio, and quartet or group section to dance en pointe. Fixed tap (single sound) only may be used for tap dancing.

16. Music: If pre-recorded music is used in any Song and Dance/Musical Theatre section, it must not include any singing or chanting on the recording. Pre-recorded music used in Tap must not include any recorded Tap or similar sound effect. There must not be any lyrics or vocal sounds of any description on any Ballet section or Ballet Championship recording.

17. Competitors must provide their own accompaniment in the form of a good sound recording on a quality standard CD which will be played for the competitor. All recordings must be clearly marked and have nothing else but a single recording and be set ready for playing. No responsibility will be accepted for incorrect playing of music, except in the event of equipment failure. It is advisable to have a back-up recording of all music used.

18. Spoken or recorded narratives after the steward’s announcement will be included within the time limit for the dance. When requested, the steward will announce the title of the dance and when the story is obscure a short synopsis not exceeding 30 words.

19. Time Limit: specified times for dances must not be exceeded. Timings will be checked on a random basis, from the first note or word of the accompaniment, or if it should occur first, the first movement of the dancer to the dancer’s last movement at the completion of the dance. Over timed dances will be penalised. A musical exit may be included on the recording providing it falls within the time limit.

20. Props will remain the responsibility of parents, teachers, and/or carers who must notify the Festival secretary prior to attendance or on the first day of the Festival to check suitability as we are unable to supply any storage for larger props. Larger props are discouraged, however where possible they will be permitted. The organisers have the right to refuse any prop which it deems inappropriate, unsafe or could potentially cause harm to others. If such props are used, an appropriate adult should take them backstage at the start of the session for which they are required and removed at the end of the same session. You will need to be accompanied by Festival Personnel.

21. Competitors awarded 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th (except Groups) receive the appropriate medal and place certificate.

22. Groups: one certificate per entry will be presented. Groups placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd will receive an award to keep.

23. Where trophies are awarded, they are held for the ensuing year only and must be returned to the Trophy Secretary/Secretary on the first day of the Festival. Winners will be required to keep the trophy safe and return it in a good and clean condition. Any damage caused whilst in the competitors care must be paid for.

24. Bursary: nominations will be chosen by the Adjudicator, the Festival organisers have no influence over the decisions made by the Adjudicator. The Adjudicator will choose 8 dancers from each age section (Junior; A & B), Intermediate; C & D and Senior; E & F) to re-dance a routine specified by the Adjudicator. All competitors will receive a selection award and certificate; presented at the end of each section.

25. Bursary Awards: The Winner & Runner-Up of each bursary section will be announced at the ceremony and receive their financial bursary award. Winning competitors will be granted £150 each, in addition competitors who place as a Runner-Up will be granted £75 each. The aim of the bursary award is to enhance dancers dance training; beneficiaries will be required to provide information to Shires Festival of Dance in the subsequent 12 months as to how this award has assisted them.

26. Championships: Shires Festival of Dance hold Junior (A & B), Inter (C &D) and Senior (E & F) Championships in Classical & Cabaret genres, the Festival organisers permit all dancers who are placed in either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd and scoring a mark of 83+ (A & B), 84+ (C & D), and 85+ (E & F) in any solo section to enter the Championships. Genre of qualifying solo determines eligibility for Classical, Cabaret or both Championships. The Winner & Runner-Up will be announced at the award ceremony. All competitors will receive an award and certificate; presented at the end of each section.

27. Award Ceremony: The award ceremony will take place on the final day of the Festival; all competitors will be notified prior to the ceremony. Bursary and Championship Winner and Runner-Up will be announced during this time.

28. Choreography Partnership competitors should adhere to the time limits as set out in the syllabus; the age of the eldest competitor will determine the correct age class for which it is to be entered. The piece performed should be a collaboration of ideas and choreography (an equal contribution from all those involved) between two and four choreographers who must dance in the piece. Entry fees are per choreographer.

30. Mobile phones must be switched off before entering the auditorium.

31. Photography and Digital Recording [Performance Areas]: Photography and digital recording by any means is strictly prohibited in the Performance Areas for the protection of children.  Only Shires Festival of Dance’s appointed professional photographers; who have the prerequisite Enhanced DBS check documentation, are permitted to photograph competitors where consent has been provided. 

32. Photography and Digital Recording [Public Spaces]Photography by competitors/friends/family/teachers is permitted subject to mutual consent* and agreement of distribution. Public spaces include the photo booth (located in the foyer), outside space, and foyer. Public spaces DO NOT INCLUDE CHANGING ROOMS, CORRIDORS OR ANY BACKSTAGE AREAS.

33. Changing Rooms: The main changing rooms are female only as the majority of competitors and parents/carers/guardians/teachers are female in gender. Male parents with male or female children and female parents with male children will be accommodated as required in designated areas. A parent with children of different genders who are both competitors can be designated their own changing area upon request.

34. The Adjudicator’s decision is final and as such no discussion or correspondence concerning such decisions may ensue. The Adjudicator reserves the right not to award any place where it is considered that the standard of dance is insufficiently high or to individuals who infringe these rules. Communication with the adjudicator concerning any matters relating to the Festival by competitors, teachers or other interested parties prior to or during the competition is prohibited.

35. The Adjudicators take into account the whole performance including the choice and interpretation of the accompaniment, the quality of recordings and suitability of recorded vocals. The quality of reproduction will be critically assessed and bad recordings may be penalised. All competitors will be awarded marks utilising the ensuing mark criteria:

  • 90 + OUTSTANDING An exceptional performance, both technically and artistically
  • 87-89 DISTINCTION An excellent performance technically and artistically
  • 84-86 COMMENDED A convincing performance technically and artistically
  • 81-83 MERIT A capable performance showing some artistic appreciation and/or technical ability
  • 78-80 MODERATE A performance showing development of technique and/or communication
  • 75-77 FAIR A performance limited in its communication

36. The Festival does not accept liability for the infringement of current copyright recording or performing rights arising out of any competitor’s accompaniment or performance. Teachers and choreographers using music created from commercial recordings are advised that they should themselves seek permission to re-record from the recording companies concerned, as the Festival cannot take any responsibility for this. All teachers are responsible for their own PPL & PRS licenses.

37. Fire Regulations: ALL fire doors/exits must be kept clear at all times. Do not block gangways, stairwells or corridors as these are exit routes. Smoking (including e-cigarettes) is not permitted on the school premises. Fire Assembly point is located opposite the theatre's entrance foyer.

38. The stage and stage wings are out of bounds to all attendees except authorised Festival personnel, teachers/chaperones and competitors waiting to perform. Competitors who have danced may be asked to leave the wings and return three numbers before the end of the class. One person may also accompany competitors for the sole purpose of wardrobe or props.

39. Any complaint or objection relating to the Festival will only be considered if submitted to the secretary by the end of the session.

40. Shires Festival of Dance will not accept any responsibility for loss or damage to personal property whilst in attendance at the Festival.

41. It is the responsibility of the parent/legal guardian/principal and teachers of competitors to ensure applications for Child Performance Licences are attained; should one be required for an individual competitor’s circumstance to ensure compliance of regulations stipulated and that of the license. Further information can be obtained by contacting your local authority. Shires Festival of Dance has been awarded Body of Persons Approval. Please note each day a competitor competes at a dance Festival is now classified as a performance.

42.Trophies: Trophies will be awarded at the Award Ceremony as programmed. In accepting a trophy the awardee and their parent/legal guardian/carer/principal take responsibility for ensuring it is returned for the following years Festival when requested (normally the first day of the Festival) in a good, clean and polished condition. Trophy winners may have their name engraved at their own expense. Any breakages or damages must be paid for.

*Mutual consent: the type of consent that should be sought is a private matter between the individuals concerned; whether this be verbal or written. However, we consider verbal consent by mutual agreement to be satisfactory and would not intervene in matters that arise unless distributed images contained a looked after child which has previously been disclosed to us and the carers/principals have notified the festival on entry. In this case our Designated Safeguarding Lead and or Secretary (Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead) would intervene and act on behalf of the looked after child's responsible adults acting on their behalf and request deletion from devices and anywhere that the images have been distributed i.e.; social media and proof of deletion of any images containing said child.