What is a Feis?

A feis is an Irish Dance Competition. It is loud, crowded, exciting, exasperating, exhilarating, fun, and tiring. The word "Feis" (pronounced “fesh”) comes from a Gaelic word meaning "festival". Though many Feisanna (plural for Feis) include language, writing and soda bread competitions, the focus is on Irish dancing.

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Throughout the year, there will be many opportunities for your dancer to attend a feis.  We are very proud to offer two local feisanna each year.  They are the Capital Feis in May and the Feille Nollaig in December. Each feis will post a syllabus, typically 2 to 3 months in advance, where you’ll find all of the information you need to register your dancer.

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Each Feis provides an opportunity for your dancer to compete against others in the same age group and level.  For your dancer, this is a fun and exciting occasion.  For a “feis parent”, the experience can be very overwhelming!  Following is some information to help make the event a little less stressful!

Feis Levels for Dancers 

  • Beginner – Open only to dancers who have not taken dance lessons prior to September of the previous year. A beginner must move into the Advanced Beginner category the next year (2 steps, 2 at a time). Dancers wear soft shoes (ghillies) and either the school skirt/body suit/headban or a white blouse and navy/black skirt.  Hair must be neat and tidy.

  • Advanced Beginner – Dancer remains an advanced beginner until he/she wins 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Dancer moves up to novice only in the dance(s) he/she has won 1st, 2nd or 3rd AND has teachers permission to move up. Dancers wear a school dress or skirt/bodysuit.

  • Novice – Any dancer who has won 1st, 2nd or 3rd in Advanced Beginner competition and has teacher permission to move up.   Dancers may compete in a School dress or purchase a solo costume.

  • Prizewinner – A dancer who has previously won 1st in Novice in a particular dance. Dancers may compete in the  School dress or purchase a solo costume.  

The last two levels are for the more serious competitors and require very dedicated dancers.

  • Preliminary Championship – Open to dancers who have placed 1st each of their prizewinner dances.

  • Open Championship – The most advanced level. Must have won TWO first places at the Preliminary level.

**please double check your level with your teacher - you cannot move levels without  teacher permission)

 

Feis Age


Your dancer’s age to register is what he or she is on January 1 of each year.  If your dancer is 7 years old 
on January 1, he or she will dance in the Under 8 category for the entire year (even after his or her birthday passes).