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Saturday 10th February – Sunday 18th February 2024


The Assembly Hall, Crescent Rd, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2LU

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We are delighted to announce the details of our next Festival 2024.  There has been a slight change to the classes we offer as we are introducing a ‘small group’ section (min/max 5/10 dancers) and we can confirm that this festival is an All England Dance qualifier. 


We are also delighted to announce that we are adopting the All England ‘Festival Connect’ online registration system which we hope you will find accessible and easy to use.  The main benefits are that you will be able to pay direct through this system and to upload your music against each entry you make.


As a reminder, please note that:


  • the age of the competitor is determined by their age as at 31 August 2023;

  • our dance discipline descriptors are aligned to the All England Dance titles;

  • the maximum number of groups that can be entered into any group section by any school is 3;

  • we are not offering an ‘Open’ group section this year;

  • we ask for group entries by discipline which will enable us to split group sections by discipline (classical and stage normally) if entry numbers are high;

  • we are also asking for the number of dancers in each group to help us manage dressing room allocations on the final weekend;

  • whilst we will be asking you to upload your music online, competitors should bring their recorded music either on CD or on a mobile device with them as a back-up in case our technology fails!!!!


Full details of the RTWDF Rules for 2024 can be found here.  Please ensure you read these carefully.

Class Details



  • Babies Under 5:    any style

  • Baby Stage age 5:    any stage style (except contemporary/lyrical modern)

  • Baby Classical age 5:    any classical style (except contemporary ballet)


For dancers age 6 and over solos, duets, trios/quartets and groups can be entered in the following disciplines (please see * for relevant age restrictions):




  • Ballet (Classical Ballet)

  • Ballet (Contemporary Ballet)*    from 13 years

  • Classical Greek

  • Narrative/Character

  • Contemporary*    from 13 years

  • Global Dance (formerly National)

N.B.  Competitors may enter either a Classical or a Contemporary Ballet



  • Jazz/Modern

  • Lyrical Jazz/Modern*    from 11 years

  • Musical Theatre

  • Tap


N.B.  Competitors age under 11 may dance either a jazz or a lyrical jazz stye in the Jazz/Modern section. Competitors age 11 or over may enter both the Jazz/Modern and the Lyrical Jazz/Modern classes should they choose to


Competitors may perform not more than: 


  • once in their own age group for each solo technique (classical or stage);

  • once in each technique in a duet class;

  • once in each technique in a trio/quartet class. 


Age Bands:


For duets, trios/quartets and groups the age bands for classes are as follows:


  •   7 years and under    (Note:  RTWDF offers this age banding – All England Dance does not)

  • 10 years and under

  • 14 years and under

  • 21 years and under


The age of the eldest competitor determines the correct class of entry.


Class Fees

Solos                      £10

Duets                      £10 per competitor

Trios/Quartets      £10 per competitor

Small Groups        £35

Groups                   £50


Please note that, for group sections, the following minimum/maximum number of dancers applies:


Small Groups:                     Min:   5    Max:  10

Groups:                                Min:  10   Max:  30


Time Limits


Our new entries site (Festival Connect - system created by All England Dance) enables you to register your school (or as a private entry) with a personalised password, to list the names/dates of birth/full details of your dancers and enables you to enter them for the classes outlined in our Syllabus for 2024. The site is easy to use and self-explanatory but if you do experience any problems do please contact

​​The site is open to enable you to register and to put in all your dancer's details in readiness for when the entries site goes live at which point you will be able to enter your dancer(s) for the RTWDF Festival classes.


​RTWDF ENTRIES WILL OPEN AT 10am on Sunday 22nd October 2023 and will close at midnight on Sunday 29th October 2023.  In the event of over subscription, the Committee will use a postcode radius system (postcode of the school, including that of any private entries) to accept entries, working its way out of Tunbridge Wells and surrounding areas until the entries are at full capacity.

​You can log in here to register and view your entries:  link

​Once your entries are made and accepted you will be able to view them within your Festival Connect portal. Once we have reviewed all entries we will either contact you requesting payment or advise that entries are full.  Your entries are not secure until payment has been received.  


Entries will be restricted to ensure that competitors and visitors are able to enjoy the Festival in as safe an environment as possible.  Should a particular class be over-subscribed, the organisers reserve the right to split the class.


Confirmation of entries:


  • each school/private entrant will be able to see the entries they have made via the on-line entry system;

  • confirmation of successful entries will be made by email 7 working days after the entry closing date at which point payment will be requested;


  • schools/private entrants whose entries have been unsuccessful this year will be notified by email 7 working days after the entry closing date;


  • solo/duet/trio/quartet entries will be confirmed to individuals via the school;


  • teachers are advised that their appointed chaperones will be required to pay the entrance fee and must be advised of such to avoid any embarrassment or difficulty at the front desk.


  • Late amendments can be made to duet/trio name changes but replacement dancers for solos will not be allowed.



(These description details match those issued by All England Dance)


Ballet (Classical Ballet)


Classical Ballet should include elements of both adage and allegro.  Stylised ballet is a communication of an idea through movement, danced with/without the use of hand props, and could reflect elements such as the Hornpipe, Spanish and Tarantella for example.  Soft or pointe shoes must be worn (depending on age and technical proficiency).  The use of classical repertoire is not allowed.  Music should be drawn from the classical genre and be suited to the range of vocabulary steps utilised.  



  • Dancers should demonstrate the principles of classical ballet, which include secure posture and alignment, turn-out, weight distribution and placement.

  • A well-schooled port de bras is an essential component that should exhibit correct shaping, flow, and coordination of the head and eye line.  

  • Attention should be paid to the grouping of fingers and relaxation of the hands.

Guidance on costuming

Costuming should be relevant to the choice of style but also allow freedom of movement.  Leg lines should not be obscured by heavy skirts as classical lines and correct technique need to be seen.  A romantic length tutu may be utilised if appropriate to the choreographic style.  


Ballet (Contemporary Ballet) – from 13 years


Contemporary Ballet is a fusion of both classical and modern ballet styles which may or may not be danced with a parallel line of the leg.  Choreographers such as Crystal Pite or Wayne McGregor are examples of the type of work we would expect to see in this section, neo-classical work would also be acceptable.  Soft or pointe shoes must be worn.  Music choices could be more varied and draw from a wider body of material than is suggested for classical ballet performances.  




  • Evidence of a secure ballet technique should be demonstrated but displaying freedom and articulation of the spine, moving away from the traditional classical lines, is encouraged.  

  • Choreography should draw from both styles of dance exploring elements and pushing boundaries where these two techniques meet.

  • Floor work may be incorporated.


Guidance on costuming

Costume should be suited to the style of the piece and allow for freedom of movement and complete visibility in the body lines.  




In this section you may portray a character, fictional or non-fictional, or you may choose to interpret an animal or an element from nature, a feeling, an emotion or something more abstract.  The fundamental element of the performance should always be focused on the storytelling and development of the narrative.  Demi-character could be presented within this section.  



  • The acting skills and an ability to communicate using the whole body should be visible throughout.  The performance must be visceral.  

  • The character should be expressed through body and facial expression with a clear sense of purpose behind the movement.  

We would normally expect a classical genre to be utilised for this section, however on the odd occasion other forms of dance may be used if they aid the characterisation.  The technique must be consistent throughout and appropriate to the piece as a whole.  The chosen dance technique MUST serve the purpose of storytelling, a hybrid and creative utilisation of different dance techniques will be accepted.  


Some examples:

  • A tap dance to the song ‘Mr Bojangles’ would not be suitable if the movement does not convey a story.  

  • The use of tap to portray the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland (as in the Christopher Wheeldon ballet) would be suitable.

  • A modern dance with lyrics is not a narrative dance - although it may interpret the lyrics.  However, a dance performance that focused on global warming for instance, that used the jazz vocabulary, could be used as a narrative piece if the overriding purpose of the choreography was to tell a story.  

  • La Fille Mal Gardee contains a clog dance which is a character piece. 

  • A piece exploring the issues/characters within West Side Story that utilises a hybrid of jazz and classical ballet work could be construed as a narrative piece.  

  • Lip-synching to a song, in a characterised manner, is not a character dance.  


Exception:  Classical Greek would not be accepted here as the discipline already utilises characterisation and interpretation as part of its own performance criteria.  However, in a hybrid form, a character piece could draw from Classical Greek vocabulary if suited to the mood and feel of the characterisation.  


All choreographers are asked to consider the appropriateness of the topic to the age of the dancer.  Alongside, sensitivity and thought must be given to the context in which the performance is presented and to ensuring that chosen themes are also appropriate to a competition aimed at young performers.  


Guidance on costuming

Costumes and makeup should reflect the character choice being portrayed.  Footwear, if required, should also be suitable and appropriate to the character, the style and period and should always facilitate correct technique.


N.B.  Only use props which are necessary to enhance the overall performance.  


Contemporary – from 13 years


Breath should inform movement, with weight, swing, suspension, and release applied.  Choreography should explore themes and the use of contraction, extension, and relaxation should be explored along with the use of the spine.  The performance should avoid being presentational and dancers should demonstrate they have a deep understanding of what initiates movements and why.  The space should be explored in a multi layered way including, levels, planes, and facings.


At its core the work should demonstrate a clear underpinning of recognisable contemporary dance techniques (such as Graham, Cunningham, Horton, Release) which may be amalgamated.  However, the choreography should not be a hybrid of modern theatrical dance, which is not contemporary dance in its purest form.  



  • The work should be rooted in Contemporary Dance techniques.  

  • Theme and/or choreographic devices should be apparent in the presentation of the work.

  • A sequential use of the spine should be clearly understood.

  • Clear initiation of movement is essential.


Guidance on costuming

Costume for this style will be dictated by the style and theme of the piece.  The line of body and shape of the movement should always be clearly visible throughout.


Global Dance (formerly National)


All traditional music, songs, and techniques appropriate to the country of choice are acceptable.  Younger competitors are expected to demonstrate traditional performances.  Seniors may introduce theatrical performances that are clearly based on a national tradition.  The choice for this section is broad and encompasses both traditional folk dances and dances drawn from the rich body of cultural dance practices from around the world.  



  • Deliver a performance which captures the essence of the chosen country.  Footwork and body movements should have an authentic feel with the arms co-ordinating in the correct style.

  • A theme maybe used but is not compulsory and small props which help to create an authentic story can be incorporated into the performance.

  • The floor patterns and choreography should mirror those used in the chosen area (as appropriate to the specific region/style).

  • The musical choice should incorporate the spirit of the country but doesn’t have to be a traditional folk piece.


Guidance on costuming

The costume should be authentic with the correct length of skirt or trousers and an awareness of the material types used in the Country.  Footwear should be appropriate for the style.  Jewellery can be worn if it complements the authenticity of the costume.


Classical Greek


Based upon the technique of Ruby Ginner, classical Greek is performed barefoot and is essentially showing the use of opposition and relaxation through the movement which was core to Ginner’s work.  Dances should reflect the title.  Myths, studies from nature and modern-day themes are acceptable, together with the accompaniment of many different disciplines of music or the spoken word, provided the movements are given their appropriate interpretation and relate to one or more of the seven styles of this technique which are:


  • Lyric

  • Athletic

  • Bacchic

  • Pyrrhic

  • Choric

  • Ritual

  • Tragic 


The choreography should be based upon the natural movements of the body such as Standing, Walking, Running, Skipping, Leaping, Jumping and Spinning, whilst experiencing the cultural connections to other arts such as Sculpture, Ceramics, Painting, Poetry, and Music.  Aspects of the performance should include expression, use of breath and musical understanding.  Also demonstrated should be balance, strength & control, relaxation, elevation, and flexibility through the spine.  



  • The dancer should demonstrate the correct technical and artistic requirements for the relevant styles: lyrical, athletic, bacchic, pyrrhic, tragic, choric and ritual.  

  • The use of breathing, weight and relaxation and full use of the body should be evident throughout.  The use of the spine, body turn, and precision of line should be secure.

  • The quality of the movement dynamics should match the chosen style, whilst showing fluidity and sensitivity where relevant.  

  • A connection and response to the chosen music, words or sound should be demonstrated.  


Guidance on costuming

Costuming and the use of props should be relevant to, and enhance, the portrayal of the title, myth, or theme of the dance.  Bare feet should be worn for the Classical Greek dance technique.  




Jazz utilises the underpinning of a clear jazz technique in its presentation.  There is plenty of scope for freedom in the style, choice of music and theme, if relevant.  The term, theatrical jazz, refers to the fundamental jazz dance techniques which evolved from musical theatre into more contemporary hybrids such as modern dance and which may incorporate influences from contemporary dance.  The term Theatre Jazz does not dictate that the source material must be derived from musical theatre and the two should not be confused (although it is clearly permissible to use this style in the discipline).  Choreography should reflect the rhythms and dynamics of the music, clear sustained technique in turns, kicks and elevated steps and should avoid being solely based on limbering movements.  Tricks can be utilised, but should have purpose to the piece, ensure that focus and consideration is given on the linking steps in between to help with flow in the transitions.



  • Clarity of line through the limbs and body.

  • Control in technique (turns, kicks, elevation).

  • Use of dynamics and rhythmicality.

  • Stamina and consistency in performance.


Guidance on costuming

There is complete freedom in the costuming, it should allow for freedom of movement and not obscure the line of the dancer’s body.  Any costume should be appropriate to the age of the dancer and considers modesty.  


Lyrical Jazz/Modern - from 11 years


Lyrical Jazz allows the dancer to interpret the music and lyrics through movement and encourages a sense of musicality and connection between the dancer and the accompaniment.  The use of breath is important and strong technical application will allow for simplicity and space in the presentation.  Highlights in the movement should match that of the orchestration/musical arrangement.  


Lyrical jazz is a pure interpretation of the music and should therefore show fluidity, resistance, suspension, relaxation, purpose and create physical shapes that are aesthetically pleasing.  Vocal or non-vocal music may be utilised, however if interpreting the lyrics, the performance should be consistent throughout.  The choreography should have a continuous sense of flow showing breadth, expansion, and release.  Whilst the use of floor work is permitted, it should be kept to a minimum.  Ask yourself, does the music suggest going to the floor?


Music should be age appropriate and the size of orchestration and emotive content should relate to the age and ability of the dancer.  




  • The dancer should demonstrate a sustained technique, extension, and continuity of line where relevant and fluidity in the movement.

  • The music should be embodied fully within the performance and the two elements should work in harmony with one another.  

  • A range and richness in dynamics should be ever present in the work.

  • Throughout, the use of space and freedom in the movement should be evident.

  • The emotive response should come within and not be forced or contrived.


Guidance on costuming

Costume choices can be varied and creative, they should allow for freedom of movement and compliment the lines created by the dancer.  The costume should have some link to the quality of the music and the fluidity in movement of the dancer.  


Musical Theatre


Musical theatre encompasses the ‘triple threat’ abilities of performers and adjudicators will consider the following aspects:


  • Vocal ability and technique.

  • Acting through song and connection to the words.

  • Acting through dance and/or movement.


The choice of the material should be both suitable in terms of age and cultural identity.  Characterisation and believability are integral to the performance, and it is important that the song choice is relevant to the performer.  The lyrics are important, and clarity of diction should be thought about.  Breath control and pitching are also a key element and need suitable training.  The key of the accompaniment should be within the range of the performer and it is permissible to change this to suit the voice type.  Dance should not be included for the sake of it and should flow naturally out of the lyrics and characterisation.  Pedestrian movement and staging are considered appropriate, and each action should have a clear purpose and intention.  Any discipline of dance can be utilised, the focus should be that the discipline enhances the role that is being played and is in keeping with the character and era of the chosen material.  Ensure that the performer understands the context, period, and location of the song and/or musical.  


For younger candidates (age 10 years and under), it is acceptable for the performers to choose songs that are not necessarily drawn from musical theatre.  





  • Suitability of the song choice to age of performer.

  • Vocal placing and pitching.

  • Characterisation and connection to the words.

  • Appropriate use of movement and/or dance.

  • Understanding the context of the piece.


Guidance on costuming

Costume choices should reflect the period and setting of the song choice and the character being portrayed.  Footwear should also be suitable, and considerations should be made as to what the character would wear as this will also dictate the type and style of movement incorporated.  For example, bare feet would not be suitable for a song that is set on the streets of New York during the 1920s.  




Tap encompasses many different styles – often dictated by the choice of accompaniment.  The use of the body and/or arm lines and overall performance should work in unity to form a cohesive presentation that is informed by the style of tap that has been utilised.  Tap dances should be rhythmic, show clearly defined rhythmic patterns and precision in beating and footwork.  There should be variance in the use of tonal quality which may, or may not, be influenced by the accompaniment.  



  • Timing and musicality.

  • Tonality and use of light and shade.

  • Clarity of beating and articulation of footwork.

  • Stylistic interpretation and use of the body as a whole.


Guidance on costuming

Costumes can be varied and creative, just ensure that emphasis is not drawn from the feet and a clear action should be visible.  Taps should not be loosened as this will blur, and detract from, the clarity of sound.  Hard soled shoes are preferable as they produce a more confident sound and are more protective of the feet.  


75 – 77 marks     Fair

78 – 80 marks    Moderate

81 – 83 marks    Merit

84 – 86 marks    Commended

87 – 89 marks     Distinction

90 marks and over    Outstanding

Medals will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th places.  


Each school/private entrant will receive a class time notification email providing a link to the Festival’s Safeguarding Policy clearly stated emphasising that the responsibility for the safe keeping of the children remains with the parent until such point where the parent is no longer allowed to accompany the child.  Teachers should encourage parents to read the details carefully. The Policy is also available here.


In respect of performance licensing, the Festival will obtain a Body of Persons Approval Licence (BOPA) from Kent County Council (KCC) and schools/private entrants will be approached by KCC requesting details of the competitors who will, in turn, be covered under the Festival’s BOPA.  


The exception to this licensing cover will be for any child who is required to take absence from their school to attend the Festival (this may apply where a child comes from another county and the half term dates do not coincide).  In these instances, contact must be made with the Festival by emailing Jane at – parent(s) will be required to complete, sign and return a form, secure a letter from the school authorising absence and provide a head and shoulders photograph of the child and a copy of the child’s birth certificate OR passport.  We will walk you through everything that is required but the earlier we do this the better.


Each school/private entrant will receive a class time notification email providing a link to the Festival’s Data Privacy Notice clearly stating that we are GDPR compliant and follow the latest regulations for the safe management, sharing and storage of all data collected from each entrant. The full details of this privacy notice can be found on our website via the homepage:

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