Competition Information

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; Teelin supports and respects each dancer’s various interests.

For Teelin families who are new to Irish dance…. 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”).

Please review the following resources on the Teelin website:

All Teelin students who compete are asked to read the Teelin Guidelines for participating in Irish dance competitions – Rules.pdf

The following printable chart offers a visual summary of the information in the “Irish Dance Competition Levels” article referenced above:

Competition age groups are determined by the birth year of a dancer, regardless of the month the dancer was born. Irish dance competitions use the calendar year (Jan-Dec), not the school year. Therefore, the age a dancer was on January 1 of this year is her/his competition age for all of this year. The following chart is a helpful resource to decipher Irish dance competition age groups:

Judging is somewhat subjective, and competition results will vary. Remember that there are two or three dancers competing onstage simultaneously. Part of a judge’s subjectivity is because he/she must split their attention between all dancers AND try to write comments. Dancers (and their parents!) are advised to keep their competitive drive in check. Please note that ANY derogatory comment about judges or other dancers is embarrassing to the school and completely unacceptable.

Participating in Irish dance competitions offers many benefits, and some benefits are more tangible than others. Keep it fun. Even the most skilled dancer is not going to compete well if he or she is not having fun. The life skills of good sportsmanship, resiliency and a positive attitude are infinitely more important than any medal or trophy.

Follow the guidelines listed in the documents below, and remember to check with Maureen before advancing to the next level. Please report all results to the Happy feising, Teelin dancers!

Teelin Guidelines for Participating in Irish Dance Competitions

Irish Dance Competition Levels: Information for Moving through the Ranks

A Judge’s Perspective: Using Empowering Language to Understand An ADCRG’s Role

Everything You Need to Know About an Oireachtas

Oireachtas Figure Teams: Considerations for Participation

Please request your marks from each feis that you attend, and send an email to 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.

Dancers are asked to report their scores after every feis they attend. If the dancer competes in championships (prelim or open), send an electronic copy of the score sheets to Maureen and so that it may be added to the dancer’s profile folder. If the dancer competes in grades (Beg thru PW), send the full results report to An easy way to do this is simply to forward the emailed results received from a feis. Meg Ortel answers the competitionstuff emails and marks a spreadsheet noting the competitions a dancer has entered, and any eligibility for advancement based on placement results. The spreadsheet is an important tool for Maureen to track each dancer’s progression through competitions, and also for Teelin administration to be aware of approximately how many students are competing at each level so that Teelin class sizes can be predicted. Please remember to send results after every feis!

Dancers need to check with Maureen before advancing to the next competition level. (Note: If a dancer wins first in a Novice event, or 2nd place in Novice with over 20 dancers, be sure to check with Maureen right away as they typically move that dance up to Prizewinner at the very next feis.)

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.)

For information about competition costumes, please refer to the Competition Costumes page on the website –

Great! Have a look at the information on the Feis Schedule page to see what upcoming events might work for your schedule. Have questions? Please ask! Send questions to