Starbound National Talent Competition Combines 31 Years of Experience With Expansion

Sponsored by Starbound National Talent Competition
May 3, 2024

As Starbound National Talent Competition celebrates its 31st season, the team knows what keeps dance families coming back. “We’ve always been one of the leaders in this industry, and through listening to our clients’ feedback and making changes, we continue to set the standard higher,” says Sandra Coyte, founder and director.

With a calendar of more than 70 Regional competitions and five Nationals, Starbound’s events combine the glamour and innovation of a large-scale production and theater experience with the fairness and personal attention you’d expect from a family-run company. Starbound offers the industry expertise of a woman-owned business founded by a former dance teacher and studio owner.

2025 is set to be a banner year for Starbound, with new and exciting opportunities for dancers and teachers alike. First, they’ll be adding even more cities to their extensive roster (including stops in Omaha, Nebraska, and Jacksonville, Florida). Dancers can look forward to the addition of an improvisation competition at every Regional event, while parents and teachers will appreciate the new assigned-by-studio dressing rooms. Starbound is also rebranding to keep up with the times while keeping the integrity of a name dancers can trust.

Starbound’s scoring system is also getting a refresh. A dancer’s score will be broken down into four categories: technique, choreography, aesthetics, and performance. On the Tuesday following competition weekend, teachers can log in to Starbound’s virtual Teacher Center and see score breakdowns for every routine, as well as video critiques. Finally, to address the current hot topic of competition leveling, Starbound will also be adding specific, skill-based guidelines that ensure fairness and help take the guesswork out of registering routines.

Even with all these exciting features, Coyte remains most proud of what has remained the same at Starbound over the past three decades. “We’ve always strived to keep our pricing simple and affordable,” she shares. “Our entry fees are the same no matter when you register, and we were the first competition to introduce rebates to the dance industry for registering early.” Starbound knows that affordability matters to its families, and Coyte notes that, although prices did not increase this year, the competition produces the same high-quality events that studios have come to expect. Additionally, free photos and videos are a long-standing hallmark of Starbound, and events are also livestreamed.

The competition also prides itself on the expertise of its staff. “All three judges on every panel are versatile experts in multiple styles of dance, and we always have at least one judge who is knowledgeable in tap,” Coyte says.

Starbound is also committed to raising money for the Dancers Care Foundation. Since 2002, the company has donated more than $2.6 million towards cancer treatment and prevention in the dance community.

Looking ahead, the 2025 season is shaping up to be Starbound’s best yet. Want in on the fun? Register now for upcoming events. Call us for our early incentives, such as the following: When your studio enters dancers at two Regional events, you’ll receive a 20-percent discount on the cost of National Finals, or make a deposit on your 2025 entries by September 30, 2024, and receive a 20-percent rebate. Contact us for details!

Photo by Team Creative, courtesy Starbound.