The move from Prizewinner Grade competitions to Preliminary Championships is significant. Each dancer transitioning into the Teelin Champion Program will attend the next available orientation meeting, which will offer the dancer and her/his family an overview of the program and access to additional resources on the Teelin website.
Champion level Irish dancers are top-level athletes, and it is important for each dancer to be aware of her/his own body’s strengths and weaknesses. A high overall fitness level is required of each dancer. Teelin will recommend certain stretches and exercises to dancers to support Irish dance training and to help counteract potential repetitive motion effects. However, every dancer’s body is different. Consultations with and routine visits to medical professionals are highly recommended.
There are several championship events in which Teelin School dancers participate. The Southern Region Oireachtas (pronounced “O-ROCK-tus”) is a regional championship. Much more information about Oireachtas may be found in the following documents:
In Teelin School, Open Champion and Preliminary Champion dancers are usually eligible to compete in solo championships at Oireachtas, if they participate in the mandatory Oireachtas Summer Camp. Teelin may also allow Prizewinner Grade dancers who have earned consistent placements (including at least one first place win in each of the dances that will be performed in their age group that year) to compete at the Oireachtas, if teacher discretion determines that the dancer has a high likelihood of obtaining a recall to the final round.
Team entries may include dancers who are not yet competing in solos at championship level, but have demonstrated very good technique, good dynamics with their team, and outstanding work ethic in class and practices. In order for a dancer to be considered for this opportunity, he or she must be willing to dedicate significant time and effort to the team’s objectives.
Whether participating in solo championships, teams, or both, dancers (and their parents) should carefully consider how to balance a commitment to a championship event with all other time commitments, namely academics, other sports or extra-curricular activities, and performance company commitments. (Additionally, family finances need to be considered, as these events are a significant financial commitment.)
Oireachtas is a qualifying event for other “majors”. Majors are championship events with entry restricted to dancers who have qualified for Open Champion level, and/or who have qualified from a prior championship event. A few of the common majors in which Teelin dancers participate are the North American Irish Dance Championships (NAIDC, aka “Nationals”), the All Ireland Irish Dance Championships (Oireachtas Rince na Eireann), the All Scotland Championships and the Great Britian Championships. The World Irish Dance Championships (Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne) require eligibility for participation by sufficient placement at a qualifier event (i.e. at regionals or nationals).
There are also three NAFC Championships (sponsored by the North American Feis Commission): the Senior Belt (for ages 17&Over), the Junior Trophy (for ages 13-17) and the Minor Trophy (for Under 13). The date and venue of each of these annual championships is printed on the syllabus of each NAFC feis. Dancers are eligible to compete in this event only if they have won 1st place of an Open Championship competition at a sanctioned NAFC feis within one calendar year of the Belt/Trophy Championship.
Additional information for dancers participating in championship events may be found on this password-protected page – http://teelin.com/TSID/logon/oireachtas-majors/