Maximum length for dance competition songs and remixes

Occasionally someone arrives on this site by googling for something like “song length for dance competitions.”

While there is no definitive answer, I can give you some guidance. The most important thing you can do to determine the allowable length of your song is to check the competition rules for each competition you will be entering in for the season. Most competitions follow the same guidelines for maximum allowable length.

Many competitions state that solos can not be longer than 2:45 in length, while group numbers can be 3:00. Some competitions allow for even longer songs with larger groups. For example, Star Systems allows:

• 2:45 for a solo
• 3:00 for a duo or trio
• 3:30 for a small group (4-9 dancers)
• 4:00 for a large group (10-18 dancers)
• 4:30 for productions and lines (19 or more dancers)

However, not all competitions follow these guidelines. For some competitions, 3:00 may be the maximum, no matter what size the group, so be sure to check EACH of the competition rules that your studio is entering for the season.

For recitals, many times the maximum length is 2:00.

Bear in mind that these are maximums. It’s much better to make your routine shorter and tighter than to drag it on and on with no real purpose. Also, more important than the total length is the story arch that the dance and music follow.

Here are the things I keep in mind when trying to determine the right length for a music edit or remix:

For tap or acro, endurance can be a factor, especially for younger students. For younger tappers, 2:00-2:10 can be a good length. More experienced tappers who have built up endurance can be in the 2:20-2:45 range. And in general, younger dancers will want to be in 2:15-2:30 range, and older, more experienced dancers who have developed their style and moves, and want to tell a story with their dance should have music in the 2:45-3:00 range.

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