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Even crotchety talent judge Simon Cowell gave dog dancing a thumbs up recently on the reality show "Britain's Got Talent." Watch the astounding video from the show and find a link to the Greater Columbia Obedience club Web site on thestate.com; look for a link with this story.

DOG DANCING: THE BASICS

Canine freestyle competition involves choreographed routines performed by dogs and handlers to music.

- History: Several dog trainers began putting together routines to music in the early 1990s, and the first competitions were staged a few years later. There are several groups that sanction competitions. The World Canine Freestyle Organization, formed in 1999, is the governing body for this weekend's event in Columbia.

- Rules: Any move is allowed as long as it doesn't endanger the dog. Most routines include spins, weaves and jumps. Routines last about 2.5 minutes (longer or shorter depending on the category). Handlers and dogs can wear costumes.

- Judging: Similar to figure skating, with marks for technical merit and artistic expression, and a high score of 10.0 in each category

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