Although the highest scoring dancers are ranked according to their overall scores, dance schools and competition production companies emphasize that dancers are primarily competing against themselves, and thus competitive dance is not so much about competing, but rather is an opportunity to:
- Receive valuable critiques from dance professionals. Competition companies provide original judges’ scoresheets and critiques and, in some cases, audio recordings of judges’ comments to dancers, to help them improve their technique and routines.
- Watch and learn from other dancers. Dance schools often instruct their dancer to spend their free time watching other routines.
Dancers are expected to conform to proper etiquette at competitions. They are expected to be courteous to each other, to applaud other routines, to not enter or exit the auditorium during a performance, etc. Aside from these standard rules of etiquette, many competition companies impose additional rules. For example, American Dance Awards requires all dancers to say “thank-you” when presented with an award.