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what in the world is a feis?

A feis is a local dance competition. Only students of teachers certified by An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha are eligible to compete at sanctioned feiseanna

about competitive irish dance


Solos are categorized by Grade level and further divided by age. Age groupings are determined by the age of the competitor on January 1 of the year in which the competition is held. There are five dances at Grade level: reel, light jig, slip jig, treble jig and hornpipe and competitors dance two steps of each dance for a certified adjudicator. 


Beginner I

A Beginner is a competitor who has not yet taken a full year of Irish dance lessons. Because the feis year (Jan-Dec) is different than the school year (Sept-June), dancers who began lessons in September may keep Beginner status until December of their second year of lessons. 


Beginner II

An Advanced Beginner who wins 1st, 2nd or 3rd place will advance to Novice in that particular dance the next calendar year. Heavy shoe tempo is traditional speed.



For heavy shoe, Novice competitors are offered a choice of music tempo: “slow” (Oireachtas speed) or “fast” (traditional speed). A Novice who wins a 1st place will advance to Prizewinner in that particular dance.



A dancer remains at Prizewinner until they place 1st in both a soft shoe and a hard shoe competition and meet his/her dance teacher’s guidelines.


Preliminary Championship

A dancer must place 1st in all four Prizewinner dances before competing in Preliminary Championship. A dancer who wins two 1st place Preliminary Championship awards in one calendar year will move to Open Championship the following year. If the second 1st place win does not occur within the same feis year as the first win, as soon as the second win is achieved the dancer moves up to Open Championship.


Open Championship

Competitors perform a soft shoe dance and a set dance. Competitors who win 1st place in Open Championship cannot return to Preliminary or Prizewinner. However, if after competing for two full feis years a dancer has not placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd, he/she may opt to return to Preliminary at teacher’s discretion.

The Majors: Oireachtas, Nationals and Worlds

To compete at Oireachtas (November), competitors must be Prizewinner and be registered by Ms. Katie. There are also figure competitions for 4-Hand Ceili Teams, 8-Hand Ceili Teams, Figure Choreography Teams, and Dance Drama. To compete at Nationals (July), dancers must be Open Championship or have qualified at Oireachtas. To compete at the Worlds (April), dancers must qualify at the Oireachtas or Nationals.

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