Calling All Young Dancers!

Holiday seasons at the Severson household meant constant replays of classic musicals like White Christmas and Holiday Inn. Family movie nights most often included sing-alongs to Singin’ in the Rain and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, or awestruck viewings of Riverdance or The Nutcracker Suite.

I grew up with my unblinking eyes on Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Donald O’Connor... the stars my parents dubbed “The Greats.” As I got older, and my appreciation for dance styles — other than those from decades fifty years before my time , — expanded, I began to see the beauty in Michael Jackson’s “moon walk” and, well, literally anything Beyonce ever did ever.

Many talented individuals over many decades have created, defined and shaped the genres of dance we see today, with the wonderful truth that there is still such uniqueness that can be brought to each.

If your student loves to dance and wants to showcase their talent, take a look at these great competitive opportunities.

National YoungArts Foundation Dance Competition

Geared specifically towards high school students (grades 10–12), the National YoungArts Foundation Dance Competition gives dancers between 15 and 18 years old the opportunity to show off their talents in ballet, choreography, hip hop, jazz, tap, contemporary and world dance. Judges aren’t looking for perfection, however; their goal is to find a “strong unique voice” in each dancer.

Participants have the chance at winning up to $10,000 in cash awards, as well as master classes with renowned dancers and choreographers. Additionally, they may become eligible for nomination as a United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts and receive a lifetime of mentoring and professional support. Talk about a great networking opportunity!

There are various application requirements for each specific type of dance (which can be found here). All submissions are due by October 13th, 2017.

JUMP Dance Competition

JUMP is the largest dance convention and competition in the world, which tours all the United States and beyond. This is an excellent opportunity for your young dancer as it not only gives them the chance to see how they measure up to their peers, but also provides them with an incredible learning opportunity; during each competition, there is a required dance workshop taught by seasoned professionals.

Participants may compete as a solo dancer or as part of a duo, trio, or group. There are various age divisions, so those aged 5–19 and above can join in the fun. Virtually all dance styles will be critiqued, including jazz, ballet, hip hop, tap, lyrical, musical theater, and more. If you’ve got a young one who can tumble, acrobatic and gymnastic dance are also on the table!

Click here to find a JUMP convention near you and for specific dates and registration deadlines.

Danceline USA

Attention all Texas dancers: this one’s for you! Whether you’ve got a solo routine you’d love to show off, or an incredible project with a group of 50, there is a spot for you. Students from Pre-K through their senior year of college are eligible to compete in any of Danceline USA’s regional competitions.

The Central Texas Regional Competition will take place on February 10th, 2018; the North Texas and Hill Country Regional Competitions will do so on February 17th, 2018; the Coastal Regionals will finish off the first round of this Texas competition on March 3rd.

This event is widely recognized throughout the south. If your dancer wants to follow this artistic pursuit well into college and after, consider Danceline USA.


Solos, duets, trios. Small groups, large groups, productions of any size. Whether your student is under seven years old or older than 20, Groove is an incredible opportunity (some might even call it groovy.)

Participants can compete in every kind of dance imaginable: acrobatics (please, from us at KudosWall, do be careful), ballet, baton, clogging, contemporary, folk/ethnic, hip hop, jazz, lyrical, modern, monologue, musical theater, open/undefined, photogenic, pointe, pom, street jazz, fusion, tap, and vocal. Student choreographers may also show off their creative vision for judges to see.

The first prize winner will take home $100, while groups will walk away with even more than that.

Registration deadlines and competition dates vary by city, so click here for more information.

Competing is an interesting thing; some love it, some love it a bit too much, and even still others hate it immensely. There are many good things that can come from friendly competition however, like peer evaluation, professional critique and consult, and the chance to win awards, scholarships, and respect.

Your young dancer will benefit from all of these above opportunities and will shape themselves into their most competitive (pun intended) candidate for schools and companies as a result.

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