Dance is a highly competitive activity. Youth/association, middle school, high school, collegiate, all-star, and professional teams compete on local, regional, state, national, and international levels. Teams are judged on a number of criteria including form, team unison, showmanship, precision of motions, jumps, leaps, turns, choreography, enthusiasm, and, in the case of pom squads, visual use of poms-poms. Pom squads are like cheerleading or dance, but they use poms. (pom-poms). Pom squads also use kicklines in their routines, after they set down their poms, or choose to hold them during the kickline. A kickline routine is a routine of kicks, which cheerleaders also use. High kicks, fan kicks, low kicks, and kicks that go to their waist. Pom squads regularly compete in competitions and perform at sporting events.
High school and collegiate pom
Traditional high school dance/pom squads include competition, performance dance, and promoting school spirit with dance. Dance/pom is usually a year-round sport, performing in competitions and at sporting events, most commonly football and basketball games. Some schools also have their dance team perform short sideline dances, and some dance teams also perform at school pep rallies.
College dance squads are like traditional high school squads in that both include competition and performance dance, but there are many differences between the two. For example, a college squad will most likely dance on the sidelines at games or have a specific spot in the stands, whereas high schools usually reserve this activity for cheerleaders.
The U.S. All Star Federation governs all-star dance-pom squads.
Tryouts for all-star dance squads may be conducted in different ways. Some teams have only one tryout in the spring, whereas others may have a tryout in the spring and another in the fall. Some squads have year-round open tryouts where anyone can try out at any time during the season. The opportunity to compete in many large competitions attracts dancers to all-star programs. All-star dance teams can compete regionally, nationally, and even internationally.
Texas dance/drill team
Most high schools in Texas have a precision dance/drill team, usually with 25-75 members. The traditional uniform for teams typically includes a white hat and white boots, with team officers wearing a solid white uniform while the line members wear school colors. Teams perform visual routines at football games, both in the stands during the game, and on the field at halftime. During the spring, teams often perform at basketball game halftimes, and compete in many different dance styles at competitions sponsored by dance and drill team companies. They often conclude the year with a spring show in late April or early May.
Texas dance/drill teams are structured with a chain of command similar to the military including captains and lieutenants leading squads. Traditionally, Texas drill teams have been all female, but males have auditioned and been selected to teams in recent years.
Several colleges in Texas also have dance teams. Well-known teams include the Kilgore College Rangerettes and the Tyler Junior College Apache Belles. A fierce but friendly rivalry between KC & TJC has existed since the Apache Belles were formed in 1947. The Rangerettes were the first college drill team created in 1939 by Miss Gussie Nell Davis.
In 1960, Barbara Tidwell, a former Kilgore College Rangerette, created the Strutters at Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University), the first precision dance team created at a four-year university.
MSHSL dance team
In Minnesota, competitive high school dance team is regulated under the Minnesota State High School League. The season begins after a two-week choreography period in October and ends after the state tournament in February each year. Team selection is led by the coaching staff in a tryout process individual to each participating school.
Teams within this league are able to compete in one of three class divisions: A, AA, or AAA and in one or both of two categories: high kick or jazz. The high kick division requires a routine that ranges from 2:30 to 3:00 in length, contains 45-60 kicks performed by all members, and consists of up to 34 competing members. The jazz division has a range between 2:30 and 3:00 in length and may have up to 26 competing members. Music selection is done by the coaching staff and/or members of the team. Throughout the state, a wide variety of costume styles are worn to enhance the theme or mood of each routine.