A routine must comply with the rules of the overall competition, which may vary considerably from one competition to another. Also, a routine must comply with all rules that apply specifically to its category. Violations may cause point deductions or, in some cases, disqualification. For example:
- An upper time limit is usually imposed on a routine based on its number of dancers.
- Ballet routines may not include acrobatic elements.
- Soloists are usually allowed to compete more than one solo at a competition, although most competitions do not allow a soloist to compete in the same style twice. For example, it is not permissible for a dancer to compete two lyrical solos at a competition. Style definitions will sometimes overlap at a competition, thus providing an opportunity for a dancer to compete two dances that might otherwise be considered to have the same style. For example, a soloist might be permitted to compete two acro routines by entering one as acro and the other as open.
- In many cases dancers feet are not allowed to go higher than six feet on a prop.
- Costumes must be age appropriate.