About Coach Erin

Erin is a 17 year veteran dance team coach in Minnesota. A 3 time MADT coach of the year (2009, 2010, 2014) and winner of 2 state championships in high kick with the Cannon Falls Bomber Dance Team. In high school Erin danced for Winona and Apple Valley high schools. Erin is a nationally known blogger, writing for the Radio City Rockettes and a Hollywood movie among other projects. Erin also teaches on a freelance contractor basis for many MN high school teams and can be contacted for date/time availability at mnhsdanceteam@gmail.com


2015 Rules Changes

The rules changes are starting to roll out and boy do we have a lot to look at that’s new.  I’m gonna walk through some of these with you and talk about what has been finalized so far.  There will be more, and I’ll put together an article on those things in the pipeline once they really happen.  Expect at least a new choreo rule and costume requirement tweaks.  Of course, all of these finished items still need full interpretation language from the league as to the finer nit-picky items.  They have final say on “interpretation” items in the fall rules meeting and when they’ll reprint the new rules book.  Teams should look to that very carefully.  This walk-thru by me is by no means a replacement for knowing your exact rules book text and anything said by the MSHSL going ahead.  However, I do realize that the handout is about as clear as mud and I have some background on what these things really mean (from listening in on the meeting) I can share now.  Hang tight.  Proceed carefully.  Ask questions to official league representation if you are unsure. Lets dig in:


First off – the change article sent by the league can be downloaded here: Proposals  It has exact wording of what was up for change, and what wasn’t passed is also in there.  For a faster cheat sheet from MADT – download that here:  New Rules Changes -MADT Summary


Passed Rules and Changes:

1) Meet Directors Responsibility:  The meet director shall not serve as head tabulator for the meet in which he/she is directing.

  • Previously, we’ve had issues with the person running the day the “meet director” being locked up in the tab room and not available for assistance.  This just breaks out the job so that someone else is in charge of the tab room, although the director may be assisting in some capacity with tab.
  • Brought up by JAM judges, this is a technical change only noticed by meet personnel.  Minimum impact.


2) High Kick Time and Kick Requirements:  The time (length) of a kick dance is now the same as jazz dances: 2:30-3:00 minutes. As a consequence, the number of kicks required for high kick will now be 40-65.  (above the waist, performed by all team members).

  • Brought forward by league personnel based on a long period of consideration, we now have consistent timing between kick and jazz.  As you notice, the number of kicks is lowered by 10, but still allows 25 kick range as before.
  • JV and lower level teams will work with this time-frame and kick limit as well.


3) Counting of Kicks:  A kick missed by a dancer due to a memory error would still count towards the total number performed.

  • This is supposedly being trained as practice already, but wasn’t formally spelled out.  This eliminates the misconception that a memory mistake will reduce your kick count.  JAM brought this forward to be formalized into rule.
  • The league suggests there may need to be even more clarification on this one.  Overall a benefit to teams who struggle with personal errors.


4) Removal of Frivolous Deductions:  Choreographed entrances are not allowed.  The penalty was changed to a standard delay of meet rather than 3 points per judge.  Penalties for extra coaches or dancers sitting somewhere they aren’t supposed to were also eliminated, but the RULE of where/who/how to sit remains an expectation.

  • MADT pulled together a few proposals to eliminate the judges watching non-dance related penalties.  The expectation of quick entrances, proper seats, and 3 coaches at a table will still exist in so much as you’re expected to follow meet procedures and be responsible.  A “delay of meet” penalty is still possible for any or all of these situations when warranted.
  • The chair setup is being standardized with this to appear the same at every meet when possible.  Look for more clarity from MADT especially on this to help meet coordinators.  This should make it more about common sense and reduce punishments on dancers for off-floor issues.  The last time I saw a choreographed entrance – none of the girls on my team were born yet.


5) Music Re-Use:  JV teams may now reuse a piece of previously varsity music at any time, either concurrently or in the future without a waiting period of 4 years like a varsity has.

  • This is mostly about costs related to creating fresh JV music because your old library of varsity songs has a time limit on it.
  • In the discussion on this one – the JV’s are still expected to create fresh choreography, and are not entitled to recycling the varsity dance (unless they are doing the same dance/song in the same year as the varsity, as we do now).  Again, check for MSHSL interpretation on that one.


6) Judges Expectations:  A few small arrival time changes related to judges.  An additional proposal clarified language to be more relevant to the electronic tab system that’s being used.

  • Should be a convenience for officials for weeknight meets.  No noticeable impact on a meet or dancers.


Rejected Proposals:

1) JV time limits and kick limits:  there was a suggestion to further lower times and kicks for JV level teams – this did not pass.  Arguments against mostly focused on dancers who dance one style as varsity, and one style JV having training differences.  Additionally, it was mentioned that the idea of saving money reusing music would be lost.  Benefits included more time for technique training when routines are shorter.  MADT membership was largely against the change.


2) Comments on the scoresheet:  This proposal passed MADT, then the rules committee, and was rejected by the board of directors at the final step.  I have not gathered any information on the rational for the board rejection just yet, but the committee (of mostly AD’s) was in favor of it because they compared it to a conversation on the sidelines with a referee to provide justification of their decisions.  Dance Teams’ don’t have that luxury in the moment and are looking for another avenue to understanding officials decisions.  The official’s representation was strongly against this idea at the rules meeting, and suggested we could lose officials participation should this be a required step.  This will be a hot button item for a while and I’ll get back to you with anything I learn about the last minute rejection.


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