Judging a dance talent competition requires preparation and organization. You are there to give constructive criticism and judge as fairly as possible. Decide ahead of time what you are going to look for from dance competitors. Use a scoring system to give each act the best possible feedback on their strong and weak points and make sound decisions on the winners and losers.
Decide the criteria. These are the tools you will use to judge each act. Choose certain qualities to judge for each act. Criteria may include creativity, or how fresh and new the dance act looks. You may judge on the overall appearance of the dance act, including costume designs and props. Showmanship, or how well the dance act presents on the stage, is another area for the judge’s card. Other possible criteria are personality, enthusiasm, audience reaction and overall performance.
Decide the scale. You can score the acts on each of the criteria by giving a numeric score. Choose a scale from 1 to 5, or 1 to 10, or even 1 to 25. Be consistent. Once you choose a scale, it is the same measure used for every act and every point of judgment.
Create a scorecard. Each judge needs an identical scorecard for each act. Print this on a standard 8 1/2-by-11 sheet of paper with the name of the dance act on top, the list of criteria with space for scoring, and the scale. The paper size allows space for notes.
Use the scorecard. As the dance acts take the stage, assess each one using the criteria and the scale. Include notes to give better feedback. For example, if you gave an act a 1 on appearance because the costumes were not coordinated and the overall look of the act was sloppy, make notes to help you remember why you gave such a poor score in this area.
Give targeted feedback. Tell the dance acts about areas they scored low or high, and tell them why. This helps dance acts improve and grow their talent.
Compute overall scores. The winner should have the best overall score by adding up scores given for each judging criteria on the scorecard.
Creating a scorecard helps judges from being swayed by acts that are strong in one area. Keep all areas of judgment in mind.
Alice Drinkworth has been a writer and journalist since 1995. She has written for community newspapers, college magazines and Salon.com. Drinkworth earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Wisconsin and won a media award for her in-depth coverage of local politics. She is also a certified master gardener.