Divisions and Dance Categories

Age Divisions

The American Ballet Competition has three age divisions.
Age of each competitor is determined as of June 1.

Division I Pre-Competitive: ages 9 – 10
Pre-teen – age 11

Division II Juniors – ages 12 to 14

Division III Seniors- ages 15 to 20


Classical Ballet Solos

Variations selected from the classical ballet repertoire are to be chosen from ABC’s approved variation list
– see Music.

Variation maximum time limit: 2.5 minutes in length.

Contemporary Solos

Contemporary Dance is a genre of concert dance that uses methods found in modern, post-modern as well as classical and neo-classical ballet. Contemporary is based on the evolving philosophies of dance movement that often omits structured movement and form and draws on modern dance techniques. Some of the dance techniques and philosophies used includes those of the pioneers of contemporary dance such as Martha Graham, Loie Fuller, Jose Limon, Ruth St. Dennis, Merce Cunningham, Doris Humphrey and Mary Wigman, to name a few.

No tap or extreme hip-hop is to be incorporated in contemporary solo. Jazz and lyrical may be integrated as the choreography may require. Contemporary solos may be performed on or off pointe.

Contemporary solos time limits: no longer than 2.5 minutes and no shorter than 1.5 minutes.


Ensembles include duets, trios, groups of 4-20 dancers and Classical Pas de Deux couples.

Choreography may be from the classical ballet repertory or original choreography combining elements of contemporary and classical dance styles.

Ensemble time limits:

  • Duets and Trios – 2:45 minutes.
  • Pas de deux – up to 6 minutes, may include adagio and coda sections. No variations.
  • Ensembles – 4 to 9 dancers 3:30 minutes; 10 to 20 dancers 5:00 minutes.

If applicable, for original or protected choreography not in public domain, it is the responsibility of the competitor’s teacher or coach to obtain any and all required choreographer’s and/or musical releases and to pay any required royalties.