About Competitions

The Irish word feis (pronounced “fesh”) means festival, but is more commonly used to describe a sanctioned Irish dance competition. Dancers who compete must be students in good standing of a TCRG certified instructor. With instructor’s consent, these students are eligible to compete in feiseanna (plural of feis, pronounced “FESH-nah”).

Some students enjoy the opportunity to compete, and some students prefer to focus their efforts on other aspects of Irish dance. Choosing to compete is a personal decision, and Teelin supports and respects each dancer’s various interests.

(Note: Irish dance competitions are NOT related to performing with the Teelin Irish Dance Company. Some students are involved with both, some students with just one or the other, some students are not involved with either and just dance for recreation.)

Follow the guidelines listed in the documents below, and remember to check with Maureen before advancing to the next level. (Note: If a dancer wins first in a novice competition, be sure to check with Maureen right away as dancers are typically permitted to move that dance up to prizewinner at the next feis.) Please report all results to the competitionstuff@teelin.com. Happy feising, Teelin dancers!

Teelin Guidelines for Participating in Irish Dance Competitions

Irish Dance Competition Levels: Information for Moving through the Ranks

Everything You Need to Know About an Oireachtas

Oireachtas Figure Teams: Considerations for Participation

Dancing in a feis requires a lot of concentration. Competitors of the same age and experience level perform their competition dances on stage to live Irish music. During each competition, two or three dancers perform their steps simultaneously, yet choreography is unique to each school, so competitors are each dancing different steps. It can be a great way for dancers to build confidence. But, competing can also be overwhelming if you are not prepared. Start with the following resources…

Feiseanna 101 – an article written to introduce Teelin families to Irish dance competitions

Attending Your First Feis – a photo story to help prepare for the big day

Tips for Competitors

Please request your marks from each feis that you attend, and send an email to competitionstuff@teelin.com reporting your results after every feis. Also, bring a printed copy of the results to class to share with your Teelin instructors. Teelin does not keep full records of each student’s competition history, so students should keep their own folder with all of the marks and comments from the feiseanna that they enter. On the back of those comment sheets, it is also a good idea to write down the steps that were performed at that feis.

Teelin administration enters all results sent to competitionstuff@teelin.com into a spreadsheet which tracks each student’s eligibility for advancement. It is important that these records stay updated, so please remember to send in your results!

Note that in Irish dance competitions, the “raw scores” that judges use are NOT comparable to a grading system. Raw scores are merely a marker for an adjudicator to compare the dancers within a particular competition group. Those raw scores are then converted to “Irish points” depending on how the judge ranks placement for the competitors in that group. For more information about the Irish point system, please read the document entitled “Understanding Championship Scoring”, by Jim Montague. (The information in this article relates to Irish points for championship competitions with multiple judges, but the principle is the same for grade level competitions with only one judge.)

Helpful links related to Irish dance competitions…

North American Feis Commission

IDTANA Southern Region (information about Oireachtas found within)

Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America (information about “Nationals” found within)

An Comisiun le Rinci Gaelacha (information about World Championships found within)

For helpful dance-related tips and tricks, try the Rockettes’ website! In particular, read this great article for pre-competition routines…

There are also several Irish Dance message boards that may be of interest…

IMPORTANT NOTE: Polite manners are a civic responsibility. Public message boards allow users to post anonymously. Unfortunately, this sometimes means that abusers ignore their civil responsibility. If evidence of a catty or hurtful message is seen, kindly send an email to the moderator of that board. Please do NOT post a reply, even a polite or explanatory one, to the offensive message.

Southern Region Message Board

New Irish Dance Message Board

Dance Net

Dance Again – Message Boards (list of other Irish dance message boards)

If taken too seriously, the pressure of Irish dance competition can do unpleasant things to people, especially parents. Need an antidote?

Zebadiah and Beauregard’s Front Porch