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independent dancers

Yes, we allow independent dancers! We understand that being part of a competitive team, company, or dance studio is not accessible for everyone, whether it be for financial, geographic, or other reasons. We believe dance experiences should be for all dancers and we welcome you with open arms.

divisions and time limits

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age divisions

  • All Embody competition age divisions are as of January 1st, 2023

  • Competition age divisions are different than conference age divisions

performance divisions

Embody Performance Divisions act as general guidelines to help guide studio directors or independent dancers to make a decision that is best for them and their community.


performance categories


Dancers in the improv category will be asked what “style” they’d like to perform ahead of time and music will be selected accordingly. Dancers will not know the song before getting on stage to perform. The music will fade out no later than 2 minutes and 30 seconds.


Solos and Duo/Trios should be available to compete after 3:00pm on Fridays. In certain cities, Group Competition may be scheduled on Fridays after 3:00pm. If so, we will do our best to notify studios at least two weeks prior to the event. If Solos and Duo/Trios are scheduled prior to 3:00pm on Friday and dancers decide not to perform, Embody will provide a full refund to those entries. Embody will never schedule Group Routines prior to 3:00pm on Fridays.


At Embody, we refer to our competition judges as advisors, as they are not here to judge you, they are here to help you.

advisors criteria


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We understand that “appropriateness” is subjective but at Embody, protecting our dancers and our audience is most important. Additionally, at the core of Embody is advocating for people of all races, cultures and identities and there is currently little regulation for cultural appropriation on the competition circuit. Each advisor's scoresheet has a “This routine does not align with Embody” checkbox. If one advisor checks this box,  the studio director or independent dancer will be notified and passed along a pamphlet to explain why it is important to keep dance age appropriate or why cultural appropriation is harmful. We do not believe in punishing kids for something out of their control by deducting points, so instead we choose to educate.


Your feedback is a super important piece to this. We are always here to listen and grow. Please reach out if you would like to share your thoughts.

score affirmations

Each dancer in a solo, duo/trio, and group routine will receive a pin with their score affirmation on it.  


*We understand that mental and physical health may play a role in a dancer needing to exit the stage mid-routine. For solos and duo/trios, if a performer exits the stage prior to the end of their performance, they may not receive a score if the advisors do not feel enough of the routine was completed. However, in this case, performers will have the option to redo the routine once and have it remain in the competition.


-All solos, duo/trios, and group dances will receive pins with their score affirmations on them. Studio directors have the option of donating the cost of pins and overall awards back to Embody Dance Organization to sponsor dancers in need of financial assistance.

overall awards

-High Score awards will be given in each Performance, Age, and Size Division.

-Top 3, Top 5, Top 10 and Top 20 will be awarded based on the number of entries per Performance, Age, and Size Division.

-The highest scoring 12 and under non-solo routine will be awarded as well as the highest scoring 13 and over non-solo routine.

additional awards

-Individualized special awards will be given out to dancers/routines, selected by the advisors and directors.

-Embodiment Awards - Given to soloists who show up as their authentic selves on stage.

-Advisor's Choice Awards- Given to group routines that advisors want to recognize.

          Outstanding Technique

          Captivating Performance

          Innovative Choreography

          Unmatched Energy


          Peak Precision

-Closing Show Invitations - Routines will be selected by advisors to perform at the closing show at the end of the weekend. 


uplifting feedback email

Dancers sometimes walk off not feeling like they did their best or worried about the reactions from their teachers or parents. For all solos, dancers will have a fourth advisor. This advisor's only role is to send an email at the conclusion of their solo with uplifting feedback for dancers to read when they get off stage. This email will look something like:

My favorite part of your dance was_____________________________________________.

I felt very connected to you because____________________________________________.

Your dancing made me feel___________________________________________________.

I can tell you've worked hard on________________________________________________.

Words I'd love to leave you with________________________________________________.

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