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.
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 2022-2023 National Federation High School Rules Book for Spirit Groups (dance teams), the following specific guidelines will be in place for this year’s tournament:
A. TUMBLING AND TRICKS
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.
Dive Rolls (of any kind/position)
Head Springs (without hand support) Shushunova
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.
4. CHOREOGRAPHY AND COSTUMING
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.
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.
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.
: Due to the new Music Guidelines set forth through the National High School Federation for Spirit Groups, all music must be sent in by December 1, 2022 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 varsity.com/music
. All music that you intend to use at this competition must be sent to Ashley Calderia, NFA Head Dance Team Coach, email@example.com
, by December 21, 2022. 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 varsity.com/music.
F. MUSIC GUIDELINES
1. These guidelines are as of June 16, 2016. For the most up to date music information, visit varsity.com/music
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 December 1, 2022.
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.
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.