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Handbook - Dance Division Rules

National Veterans Creative Arts Festival

  1. Dance entries must be video recorded and the length of the dance must be no longer than 3 minutes. Any entries reaching national competition that are longer than 3 minutes will be disqualified.
  2. If the Veteran sings at any time during the act, the entry will be disqualified. Any vocal singing needs to be placed under a music category.
  3. Dance entries will be judged based on the dance style and steps incorporated in the performance as opposed to the style or type of music selected.
  4. Whole-body (head to toe) video recording for dance entries is necessary. Video recording can include close-ups of the body and/or feet but whole body view of the movement should be included as well.
  5. No restrictions or qualifications shall be placed on the partner of dance soloists. One non-Veteran partner per Veteran will be allowed. If the type of group dance (such as line dance) requires partners, at least 50% of any group shall be eligible Veterans. Entries may not be expanded with non-eligible Veterans or any other individual.
  6. The cassette/CD accompaniment of the dance division entries are required to be included with each dance entry form in order for the entry to be considered for possible inclusion in the Festival show, should the entry place first in the national competition. However, an entry may win a first place without the cassette/CD accompaniment included. In order to continue to provide the quality orchestra arrangements for the show, as in the past, this rule has become a necessity. Thank you for your compliance with this rule.
  7. Each video recorded entry must contain a title slide/page that includes the category number, category name, title of piece and name of Veteran(s) in the entry. The time it takes for the title page to be viewed does not count against the 3 minute entry.

Note: Veterans Affairs staff contact persons will be notified via E-mail with the 2013 competition results.

Wheelchair Dance Categories

Entries in categories 1-13 must involve movement of the wheelchair from one space to another. Entries involving one or more dancers in wheelchairs, regardless of the number of ambulatory dancers, automatically become wheelchair dance entries and should be placed in one of the following categories (1 to 13).

  1. Solo Structured Wheelchair Dance - Pattern of movement of wheelchair to music in a choreographed routine. It is still considered a solo when one Veteran dances with a non-Veteran partner.
  2. Group Structured Wheelchair Dance - Same as above, but with more than one person.
  3. Solo Novelty Wheelchair Dance - Any movement of wheelchair to music where props or a different theme is used, that is innovative and for amusement value.
  4. Group Novelty Wheelchair Dance - Same as #3, but with more than one person.
  5. Solo Country or Western Wheelchair Dance - Dance patterns set to country music.
  6. Group Country or Western Wheelchair Dance - Same as #5, but with more than one person. Circle dances may be included here.
  7. Solo Folk/Ethnic/Cultural Wheelchair Dance - Dances associated with various cultures or countries.
  8. Group Folk/Ethnic/Cultural Wheelchair Dance - Same as #7, but with more than one person and/or partners. Examples may include Mexican Hat Dance, May Pole Dance, etc.
  9. Wheelchair Line Dance - Set pattern of movement done with the wheelchair so individual ends up facing 2 or 4 walls. Suggest a minimum number of 3 to form the line.
  10. Interpretive Movement – Wheelchair Solo - Interpreting song lyrics or feelings through hand movements or gestures. Example may include sign language or other hand movements. Wheelchair does not need to move.
  11. Interpretive Movement – Wheelchair Group - Same as #10, but with more than one Veteran.
  12. Inspirational Dance – Wheelchair Solo or Group - Interpreting inspirational music through body movement.
  13. Patriotic Dance – Wheelchair Solo or Group - The use of any style dance with music that relates to American patriotism. Dance style must be identified on entry form.

Ambulatory Dance Categories

Entries in categories 14-30 must include moving feet from one spot on the floor to another. There must be body movement!

  1. Solo Structured Ballroom - American style structured ballroom dances such as the waltz, jitterbug/swing, cha-cha, tango, polka, etc. It is still considered a solo when one Veteran dances with a non-Veteran partner.
  2. Group Structured Ballroom - Same styles as above but more than one couple dancing or the couple consists of 2 Veterans.
  3. Solo Tap, Jazz, or Ballet - Traditional tap, jazz, or ballet patterns of movement choreographed to music in a routine. It is still considered a solo when one Veteran dances with a non-Veteran partner.
  4. Group Tap, Jazz, or Ballet - Same as #16, but with more than one Veteran.
  5. Solo Country or Western - Country dance steps, such as the 2-step, to country or western music. It is still considered a solo when one Veteran dances with a non-Veteran partner.
  6. Group Country or Western - Same as #18, with more than one person and/or partners. Square dancing and circle dances fall under this category.
  7. Solo Folk/Ethnic/Cultural - Dances associated with various cultures or countries. Examples may include: Clogging, Jewish Hora, Jig, etc. It is still considered a solo when one Veteran dances with a non-Veteran partner.
  8. Group Folk/Ethnic/Cultural - Same as #20, but with more than one person and/or partners. Examples may include: May Pole Dance, Mexican Hat Dance, etc.
  9. Solo Novelty - Any different type of special movement done with props or set to a theme, which is innovative and for amusement value. It is still considered a solo when one Veteran dances with a non-Veteran partner.
  10. Group Novelty - Same as #22, but with more than one Veteran.
  11. Freestyle - Must have three distinct patterns of movement that can be seen and repeated throughout the routine. New wave dances and hip-hop will fall into this category.
  12. Line Dance - Set pattern of steps that repeat, with quarter or half turns facing 2 or 4 different walls. Suggest a minimum number of 3 Veterans to form a line; no Veterans Affairs staff contact persons or volunteers may be included in the line.
  13. Interpretive Movement Solo - Interpreting song lyrics or feelings through hand movements or gestures. An example may be sign language. Movement of feet not required; no singing.
  14. Interpretive Movement Group - Same as #26, but with more than one Veteran.
  15. Inspirational Dance Solo or Group - Interpreting inspirational music through body movement.
  16. Patriotic Dance Solo or Group - The use of any style dance (ballet, waltz, two-step) with music that relates to American patriotism. Dance style must be identified on entry form.

Dance Special Recognition Category

  1. Special Recognition - Solo or Group. Wheelchair or ambulatory. Entries that recognize individuals who exhibit creative expression through the use of dance while possessing significant physical or psychological limitations. The intent of this category is to reinforce the concept of the arts as therapy, where an individual uses artistic expression to facilitate successful treatment outcomes.

Entries in these categories MUST include:

  • Solo or Group Entry form
  • a written statement/narrative (25 to 225 words) by a Veterans Affairs staff person or the Veteran of why the Veteran is deserving of special recognition
  • a Consent for Picture and/or Voice form(s) signed by the Veteran(s)
  • a Request for and Consent to Release Medical Records or Health Information form signed by the Veteran(s)

Senior Dance Categories

The purpose of the senior categories is to allow Veterans who may have experienced diminished physical functioning an opportunity to compete in a category with persons who are at a similar level and age. The senior categories are special categories for Veterans age 65 and older. Entries may be ANY type of dance. Group members must all be eligible Veteran inpatients or outpatients 65 years of age or older. As with other group entries, groups may not be expanded by staff, volunteers or ineligible Veterans. If a partner is needed for the dance, then a staff member, volunteer or other person may be used, but the entry would be counted as a solo if only one Veteran is present. Seniors may also enter other categories in the dance division as well (not to exceed three total).

  1. Senior Wheelchair Solo
  2. Senior Wheelchair Group
  3. Senior Ambulatory Solo
  4. Senior Ambulatory Group

Entries in these categories MUST include:

  • Solo or Group Entry form
  • a written statement/narrative (25 to 225 words) by a Veterans Affairs staff person or the Veteran of the Veteran’s condition and specific talent
  • a Consent for Picture and/or Voice form(s) signed by the Veteran(s)
  • a Request for and Consent to Release Medical Records or Health Information form signed by the Veteran(s)

Dance Division Judging Criteria

Judges at the 2013 National level of competition will be ranking each dance entry based on the following criteria: stage presence, rhythm, technique, patterns, creativity, and interpretation.

Submitting Entries into the 2013 Competition

Veterans interested in participating in the competition should contact the local recreation therapy/creative arts therapy departments at the VA facility where they are enrolled, as early as possible to assure that deadline dates for submission of entries are met. Veterans must work with a staff person from the VA facility where they are enrolled to obtain necessary entry and consent forms and to submit the digital video recording of their entry.


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