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VIVA Fest Judge:


The main goal of a VIVA Fest judge is to recognize a quality performance and reward a competitor that performs an act that is both entertaining and marketable to a broad and varied audience. For this reason, it is important for all competitors to note that the appreciation of an act by any given person is not an exact science and may vary from judge to judge. 


To address any serious dissimilarities in scores, the score collector will ask the judges to confer and re-evaluate. The score collector will then take note of any changes, if any, as a result of the conversation. Appropriate action will be taken to resolve any issues resulting from a modified score.


Judges are to score based on what is seen at the time of the performance and not on what they think the competitor is capable of doing or what a judge may have observed a competitor doing either in rehearsal or a previous encounter.


Judges will strive to be consistent and all competitors will receive the same appreciation and consideration. Judges will not rank a routine based on other performances seen at the VIVA Fest, but instead will evaluate routines based on an absolute standard set by the industry.


Competitors must understand that in an artistic performance, there is a subjective element to the judging. Concerns and complaints can be addressed to VIVA Fest at the end of the competition day directly to the scorekeeper or by email Please note the VIVA Fest will do its absolute best to address any concerns and use all feedback to improve future editions of the VIVA Fest. If necessary VIVA Fest may issue a duplicate award.


Number of judges on the student and novice series panels: 2


Number of judges on the VIVA & Emerging-pro panel: 3



All judges have been selected based on a combination of both their previous performance experience and/or their contribution to the industry as educators. Judges are required to have extensive experience either coaching at a well respected circus institution or have acquired over 5 years experience in circus arts. 


Entertainment establishment owners, booking agents and talent scouts will also be considered as judges, in addition to theater producers and other variety arts professionals (choreographers and dancers) could also be asked to join a judging panel.  


Novice point breakdown:

Scores will be given for 3 different categories with a maximum of 10 points for each category totaling 30 possible points.






To encourage novice students to perform a safe routine and to help foster an environment that encourages beginner participation - the scores for novice will carry the following weight:


-The difficulty score will carry a weight of 0.5

-The execution score will carry a weight of 1.5

-The artistry/entertainment score will carry a weight of 1


[(10X0.5) + (10X1.5) + (10X1)] = 30 total score


Student point breakdown:


Scores will be given for 3 different categories with a maximum of 10 points for each category totaling 30 possible points. 


The 3 categories are:







Emerging Pro/VIVA Pro point breakdown:


The VIVA and Emerging Pro category will also have points awarded for the same 3 categories (difficulty, execution, artistry/entertainment), but the weight of each category will vary. 


The artistry/entertainment score will carry a weight of 2, the difficulty score will carry a weight of 1.7 and the execution score will carry a weight of 1.3 for a total of 50 points available.


[(2X 10) + (1.7 X 10) + (1.3 X 10)] = 50 total score 


NOTE The VIVA/Emerging artist must be fair and truthful in their self-assessment and in determining that VIVA/Emerging Pro is the correct level for their entry/performance. 




The Difficulty score includes difficulty and extra credit for connections (two high-level skills that are connected). 


An element is not recognized if it fails to be completed. e.g. a skill should be performed without a fall for an aerial act, without a fumble for a handstand act, and without a drop for a juggling act.


For these divisions, an often unperformed skill would be rewarded in this category (e.g. a full salto on the double trapeze, a multiple cylinder balance on the role bola, a one arm handstand switch on the canes . . . .)


New tricks or difficult transitions could be rewarded in this category (e.g. a modification on an aerial silk drop that makes it especially difficult).

This score also reflects the average difficulty of the entire routine.


Note the VIVA Fest strongly discourages competitors to perform a “trick” or combination that would be deemed too advanced for their skill level. Students of all levels are invited to participate in the VIVA Fest and we want to encourage safe routines. We feel we have created a scoring system that will help encourage students to perform a safe routine because points are granted for routines that present formidable technique no matter the level of difficulty.




Deductions are made for lack of form and errors in technique. Points are awarded for visible ease of movement as a result of strength. Flexibility is rewarded when it contributes to the form of a trick and the overall fluidity of the act. (e.g. if a “roll up on straps” is not fluid because of lack of form and placement; points would be deducted from this category). Awkwardness and hesitation would negatively impact a competitor’s score while control and flow are rewarded.





Originality in transitions is rewarded. Innovation in choreography and how it contributes to the overall quality of the performance is rewarded in this category. Pacing and musicality are considered for this category and the overall appeal of the act for the spectator is rewarded. Although there is the possibility of subjectivity in this category, please note that the VIVA Fest believes that a great act can and should appeal to every taste and transcend subjective boundaries.


Variety in the routine is also rewarded in this category.


Please note any skill you choose to use during your act will be judged in how it directly enhances the overall entertainment value of your routine. e.g. an aerial silk act with an added acrobatic tumbling pass on the stage away from your aerial silk would only be awarded credit if it somehow creates an interesting transition to a relevant prop or creates a relationship with the apparatus being used. Additional skills are not discouraged but should appear seamless in regards to their contribution to the routine. 

Points will be awarded based on how all aspects of the performance are integrated into the routine. 

Note for group acts, all team members should make a significant contribution to the act.



All winners for each category will be presented with an award. All competitors will receive a certificate with their score and feedback from the judges.

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