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Feisanna 101:

Welcome to the next step in Irish Dance: “Feising!” If your dancer has competed in their “first feis” and you are ready to step into the next level… this packet will help you walk through the basics!

(Please note some of this content was taken from other sites)

 Step 1a: Speaking to the teacher- the most important thing to do before signing up for anything is to speak to the teacher about what a feis is and whether or not your dancer is ready to compete. Teachers do not want to rush this process as they want to make sure your dancer is prepared. Once your teacher has agreed, you can move onto the next step J

Step 1b: Knowing your dancers’ qualifications: Make sure to ask what level, age group, and dances your dancer knows so you do not mistakenly sign them up for the wrong competition.

Step 2: Making accounts on and This is the easiest way to sign up for a feis. Most of the time, you can sign up and pay electronically, but sometimes you have to send a check for payment. You might need a PayPal account to complete the transaction.

Step 3: Signing up for a feis: Click on the feis you want to attend. Find the competition level and age group “The dancers ‘Feis Age’ is the age of your child as of January 1st of the current year (not necessarily the age that your child is at the time of the competition).
For example – dancer is 5 years old on January 1, 2013, dancer will be registered in ‘U6’ competitions for all of 2013 (even after their 6th birthday has passed).” Choose the dances your dancer knows and is ready to compete in (make sure you verify this with your teacher).

Step 4: Numbers: Each dancer at a feis will have a number. That is how the judge will know who to give a placement to. The number will either be sent electronically for you to print or you can pick it up at the feis. The number can be pinned on or tied on with a string (you will need to bring a hole puncher if you decide this option). The number must be place in front of the costume and easily visible for the judge.

 Step 5: Preparation: A stage schedule will come out the week of the feis so you know when to arrive, what stage you will dance on, and how long the day may be.

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time for traffic and to arrive early to let you dancer stretch and relax a bit before competing. It is recommended to get there at least 60 minutes prior to the time your dancer is supposed to compete. Pack plenty of snacks and water. A feis might be in a school gymnasium with seating, but it is recommended to bring portable folding chairs just in case. There will be a lot of down time, so make sure to pack games, toys, coloring books, etc… to stay busy.

Step 6: Competing: Make sure you are near the stage your dancer is on. There should be some sort of board that shows which competition they are on and which is up next. When you see your competitions coming up, make sure your dancer is dressed and ready and check in with the stage monitor. Your dancer will compete onstage with two other dancers from different schools. This means they will be performing different steps. Make sure your dancer focuses only on what they are doing and not what the other dancers are doing. For dancers in beginner and advanced beginner, there will be someone there to help count them off to begin dancing. When they are all done, the judge will excuse them off of the stage and they can prepare for their next dance (some dances might be on a different stage).

Step 7: Results: When all of the dances are completed, it is now time to wait. The judges’ scores need to be tabulated. Sometimes this will take a while, but at certain feisanna, results are posted pretty quickly! The results are usually posted in specific place (school hallway, big wall, etc…). If you can’t find it, ask a feis worker and they will be happy to help.

Step 8: Medals/Trophies: If your dancer has placed in a dance… Congratulations!!!! Now is the fun part…receiving the medals/trophies! There will be a separate section of the feis for this. You have to go to this section and let the person in charge know which competition you were in and what your number is. You will then receive your hardware!

Step 9: Moving up levels: Every school has different rules about moving up levels. Please speak to your teacher about their rules about moving up.


Additional Notes:

Teachers are not required to attend every feis. You are still allowed to compete if your teacher is not there. If you want to only attend feisanna that your teacher is attending, please speak to them separately.

Feis etiquette: No recording or using flash photography while your dancer is competing. You are not allowed to post pictures of your dancer in motion on stage

*A few things for parents to remember*
• It is never okay to speak with the judges regarding your dancer’s results.
• Try not to compare your dancer with others that were on stage. Even very experienced ‘Feis parents’ are not able to tell the difference in skill levels amongst dancers.
• All of the dancers have worked very hard – Keep any comments positive.
• All judges have different preferences.
• Judges are watching two or three dancers at a time and will not see everything that parents see from the stands.
• Keep your criticism constructive. Dancers know when they have messed up – they don’t need anyone to remind them!

What are the judges looking for? 

Again, it’s different for every judge, however there are some basic things that judges will notice – especially if they are absent!
• Good timing – the dancing matches the rhythm of the music
• Pointed toes and arched feet
• Legs crossed (one behind the other) and feet turned out (so that they look like they are pointing away from each other)
• Upright upper body with arms straight at the dancer’s sides, level chin and eyes forward
• High elevation on toes
• Good jumps and a sense of ‘lift’ throughout the dance
• Pleasant smile
• Confident attitude