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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.


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.


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).  

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