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2024 Wildcat Dance Off

Competition Rules

Only High School Varsity, Junior Varsity and Middle School (Intermediate) are eligible for this  competition. Teams may be varsity, club, extra-curricular or other dance teams as long as they  are sponsored by a recognized, established school.  
The event timing, scheduling and order of appearance will be determined by the Master of  Ceremonies whose decision is final. The order of appearance can be changed by the Master of  Ceremonies at any time. Notice will be given to the teams as soon as possible after a change is  made.  

NEW: Senior Soloist Division is here!

Any senior on the team can compete for our Soloist title of Wildcat Dance Off Champion! Soloists can compete in any style listed above and must demonstrate the technique of that genre. The fee per dancer is $40. All safety rules still apply and the dancer is allotted 1 min-1 minute and 30 seconds. All music rules apply. Coaches must register the soloists. A team does not need to compete in order for a soloist to enter, however the soloist MUST be a part of the Varsity team.

Teams will be judged by current National Federation of State High School Association Spirit  Rules and CIAC State Championship rules. These rules include safety infractions which will  result in point deductions. In addition to the rules set forth in the 2023-2024 National Federation  High School Rules Book for Spirit Groups (dance teams), the following specific guidelines will  be in place for this year’s tournament:  
Weight Bearing Skills: 
Hip overhead rotation skills with hand support are not allowed while holding poms in the  supporting hand (Exception: forward and backward rolls are allowed). The use of hands free of  poms for hip overhead skills is allowed. 
Not Allowed:
  • Forward/Backward Rolls 
  • Shoulder Rolls 
  • Front Handsprings 
  • Headstands 
  • Branny 
  • Handstands 
  • Side Somi 
  • Backbends 
  • Front/Back Walkovers 
  • Stalls/freezes 
  • Head Spins 
  • Windmills 
  • Kip Up 
  • Cartwheels 
  • Round-offs 
  • Headsprings (with hand support)
  • Dive Rolls (of any kind/position) 
  • Front Aerials 
  • Back Handsprings 
  • Front Tucks  
  • Back Tucks 
  • Layouts 
  • Head Springs (without hand support) Shushunova 
  • Toe Pitches 
  • Continuous Double Partner Cartwheels
1. Airborne skills without hand support are not allowed (Exception: Headsprings with hand  support and aerial cartwheels not connected to any tumbling skill are allowed). 
2. Aerial cartwheels are not allowed while holding poms. They must be placed in one hand  or executed with hands-free poms. There are no exceptions to this rule. If a team chooses  to move the poms to one hand, and later touches down with that hand, then a penalty will  be issued.  
3. Tumbling skills with hip over-head rotation is limited to 3 connected skills. (ex.: 3  consecutive headsprings are allowed- 4 are not.)  
4. Simultaneous tumbling over or under another dancer that includes hip over-head rotation  by both dancers is not allowed.  
5. Drops to the knee, thigh, seat, front, back, head, shoulder, or seat onto the performance  surface are not allowed unless the dancer first bears weight on the hand(s) or foot/feet. 
6. Landing in a push-up position onto the performance surface from a jump in which the  legs are in front of the body and swing behind are not allowed. All variations of a  Shushunova are not allowed.  
7. Airborne skills without hip overhead rotation may not jump from a standing or squatting  position backwards onto the neck, head, back, shoulders, and or hands. Any kip up  motion must initiate from the back/shoulder area touching the ground. Note: this rule  refers specifically and only to the “rubber band”/”bronco” kip up skill, as well as any  skill jumping backwards into a headstand/handstand stall.  
B.  DANCE LIFTS AND PARTNERING (executed in pairs or groups)  
1. The Executing (lifted) dancer must receive support from the Supporting dancer who is in  direct contact with the performance surface through the entire skill (Exception: Kick Line  leaps)  
2. Elevators, thigh stands, shoulder sits and chair sits are allowed. Extensions and all other  cheer based stunts (show and go’s – libs, etc.) are not allowed.  
3. Swinging in and out of lifts and tricks is allowed in the prone and/or supine position:  swinging forwards, backwards, or making a complete circular rotation will not be  allowed if the Executing dancer is in a prone position (body facing the ground).  
4. Hip overhead rotation of the Executing Dancer may occur as long as a Supporting Dancer  maintains contact until the Executing Dancer returns to the performance surface or is  returning to the upright position.  
5. Vertical Inversions are allowed as long as:
A. The Supporting Dancer(s) maintains  contact until the Executing Dancer returns to the performance surface or returns to the  upright position.
B. When the height of the Executing Dancer’s shoulders exceeds  shoulder level of the Supporting Dancer, there is at least one additional dancer to spot  who does not bear weight.  
C.  RELEASE MOVES (Unassisted Dismounts to the performing surface)
1. An Executing Dancer may jump, leap, step, or push off a Supporting Dancer if:  a) The highest point of the released skill does not elevate the Executing 
Dancer’s feet above head level.  
b) The Executing Dancer may not pass through the prone or inverted position after the  release. 
c) Toe Pitch back tucks are not allowed. Please Note – A participant must not jump  unassisted onto the back of a base that is in a horizontal position.  
2. A Supporting Dancer may release/toss an Executing Dancer if: 
a) the highest point of the release/toss does not elevate the Executing Dancer’s hips above  head level. 
b) The Executing Dancer is not supine or inverted when released. 
c) The Executing Dancer does not pass through a prone or inverted position after the release. D. Toe Pitch back tucks are not allowed.  
1. Suggestive, offensive, or vulgar choreography and/or music are inappropriate for  family audiences and therefore lack audience appeal. Routine choreography  should be appropriate and entertaining for all audience members. Vulgar or  suggestive material is defined as any movement or choreography implying  something improper or indecent, appearing offensive or sexual in content, and/or  relaying lewd or profane gestures or implications. Inappropriate choreography  affects the judges overall impression of the routine. Make sure that all  
choreography is age appropriate. All costuming and make-up should be age  appropriate and acceptable for family viewing. ALL COSTUME  
MALFUNCTIONS RESULTING IN TEAM MEMBERS BEING EXPOSED  ARE GROUNDS FOR PENALTY. Please make sure you have several dress  rehearsals prior to competition to work out any costume problems.  
2. SHOES, ON BOTH FEET, MUST BE WORN DURING THE COMPETITION.  Dance paws are acceptable. Wearing socks and/or footed tights only is prohibited.  Spiked heels are prohibited. JEWELRY IS PROHIBITED with the exception of  stud earrings (see Federation Rule Book).  
3. When dancers are standing at attention, all costumes/uniforms must cover the  midriff area completely. The midriff includes the entire midriff section from the  bra line down front of body only. Nude body liners are acceptable. All male  dancer costumes must include a shirt that is fastened, however it can be  sleeveless.  NOTE :  use of powder, glitter, or any other airborne substance  that lingers in the competition area shall be strictly prohibited.  
5.  PROPS 
Props are NOT ALLOWED except for poms which must be used by teams in the Pom  Division. A prop is defined as anything that you dance with that is not attached to your  costume. NOTE: If you remove an article of clothing such as a hat or jacket, etc., and  throw it onto the performing surface it is NOT considered to be a prop and is therefore  allowed. Make sure that any item that is removed and is on the floor is placed in a  position where it cannot be “stepped” on, which would then cause penalty points to be  awarded. NOTE: you will be allowed to dance with an article of clothing in your hand(s) 
such as a jacket, hoodie, and hat. You can remove it, dance with it, and return it back  onto your body/head. This ruling only applies to articles of clothing – no objects allowed.  
Additional Information  
Participating schools must provide their own transportation at their own expense. Teams will be  charged an entry fee established by the NFA Dance Team, fees must be paid in  advance. After the registration deadline there will be no refund for cancellations. Team dancers  and up to two coaches per team are admitted free.  
Additional coaches and assistants must pay regular admission rates. Non-performers must pay regular admission. 
PLEASE NOTE : Due to the new Music Guidelines set forth through the  National High School Federation for Spirit Groups, all music must be sent in by January 17,  2024 for verification that it has been legitimately purchased and that original (popular) songs  have not been mixed with other original songs, and that there has been no alteration made to the  recordings such as tempo changes, sound effects, etc. Any mixed music must be from one of the  approved sites that can be found at All music that you intend to use at this  competition must be sent to Ashley Calderia, NFA Head Dance Team Coach,, by the registration date. It is recommended that teams send a copy of their music as soon as  it is cut, so as to avoid any penalties. They can answer any questions that you have before getting  your final cuts made. For a complete explanation of this year’s guidelines go to the USA Cheer  Music Copyrights Educational Initiative which can be found at  
1. These guidelines are as of June 16, 2016. For the most up to date music information, visit
2.  I have read and understand the USA Cheer Music Copyrights Educational Initiative and  all sound recordings used in our team’s music shall only be used with written license  from the owners(s) of the sound recordings.  
3. Teams must be able to provide proof of licensing.  
4. If there are complaints or concerns about a certain teams use of music, proof of licensing  should be provided by the coach. Examples of receipts from each preferred provider will  be provided by the registration deadline.  
Teams are required to bring two copies of any music on individual USB drives. NFA is not responsible for music files that will not play on the professional sound system provided. Norwich Free Academy "NFA" is not responsible for music files that will not play on the professional sound system provided.

Each team will be given four minutes of practice time for each routine prior to the start of the competition. They may or may not utilize the sound system at their own discretion. The DJ  will be available prior to the start of the competition to confirm that your music plays in a satisfactory manner.  

Teams will be given advance notice of the progress of the competition. Notice will be given to  those teams who should “take the floor”, followed by the team “on deck”, and followed by the  team “in the hole”. Coaches are responsible for monitoring the progress of the competition and  having their team in place and prepared to perform on time. Any team called to take the floor will be given no more than 30 seconds to be in position to dance.  

Teams will be allowed a maximum of 2:15 minutes of time to perform their routines. The timing  of the routines overall will be from the first motion, note of music or sound, and will conclude  when the team remains motionless or signals the judges. Time of routine will be determined by a  timing judge. The timing judge, will be the official arbiter of all timing issues.  

In the event that there is a mechanical failure of the sound system, a team may be granted  permission to restart their routine. The judges will be consulted by the Master of Ceremonies if  this occurs and the M.C.’s decision is final. If there is a problem with your music due to the coach’s  error, then the team will not be permitted to restart their routine. Coaches are reminded to always  have their music cued for their team’s performance and to communicate any unusual stops or  pauses in music to the DJ.  

If a dancer is injured during a team’s performance and cannot continue, then the team’s  performance will be stopped by the judges and the team will be allowed to restart their routine  once the dancer is removed. The timing and order of the restart will be determined by the Master  of Ceremonies whose decision is final.  

Any and all issues regarding all performances will be resolved by the Master of Ceremonies who  may consult with the judges to determine his/her action. The decision of the Master of  Ceremonies will be final in all matters concerning the competition.  

Dance coaches are expected to maintain discipline over their dancers and make sure that good  sportsmanship prevails in both winning and in defeat. Booing, chants that taunt, or behavior that  is unsportsmanlike will not be tolerated from dancers, coaches, or spectators and may result in  loss of points for the team.  

Cheering, applauding and encouraging teams during performances will be allowed.  

Schools will be held liable for actions of the dancers which may result in property damage or  assault.  

All teams will be assigned a space in the prep area by the organizers. Dancers will remain with  their team and coach while in the designated team prep area. Coaches may allow dancers to go to  public areas for refreshment and concessions at their own discretion. Coaches are responsible for  the conduct of their dancers wherever they may be in the facility. Coaches are advised to consider that some team prep areas are subject to video camera surveillance as part of the regular school security  system. Use of the locker rooms is encouraged for changing costumes, there are no video  cameras in the locker rooms and the use of any camera of any kind, including cell phone cameras  is strictly prohibited. Anyone found damaging a locker room or using a camera of any kind in a  locker room will be disqualified and asked to leave the premises and may also be subject to policies regarding legal prosecution. Use of locker rooms requires a coach or other  designated adult to be present and supervising.  

Spectators will not be allowed in the performance section of the gymnasium, nor will they be  allowed in the dancer’s prep areas. In the gym all spectators will be directed to sit in areas  designated for spectators. No one is permitted to sit in front of the judge’s tables or on the floor  directly adjacent to the performance area. The decision of the Master of Ceremonies in this  regard is absolutely final. Coaches are expected to help to enforce this rule.  

Coaches and others may video their own teams only but are prohibited from videotaping or  digitally recording images of any other team’s performance.  

Dancers will not be permitted to participate in the competition without the presence of their head  coach, rostered assistant coach, or a designated person who has in writing permission from the  school’s principal or A.D. The designated person must be an adult over the age of 21. All  dancers are required to submit a completed medical release form signed by a parent or guardian  prior to the start of the competition. These forms will be collected online by the organizers at the time of registration.  

Coaches are to remain with their teams in their designated area during the presentation of the  awards and only those dancers who have been designated to accept the award on behalf of the  team should do so.  

Score sheets with comments will be available for each head coach to pick up upon the conclusion  of the competition.  

Coaches are to clean up after their teams. All posters, streamers, balloons, and flowers, etc., must  be taken with the team when they leave. Teams who damage the facility or fail to clean up after  themselves will not be invited to return.  

A certified trainer or medical personnel will be on site for the competition to attend to emergency  needs of the dancers. Coaches are responsible for any unusual or routine medical requirements.  Teams may bring their own trainer with them.