What is a feis? (feh-sh)
A feis is an Irish dancing competition for all ages and levels.
Will she/he be ready?
If your child's teacher recommends, he/she is ready. The student must know two steps of each dance competed - 2 reels, 2 light jigs, 2 slip jigs, etc. A dancer's feis etiquette will be practiced in class.
What is the deadline for entry?
A feis typically closes two weeks prior to the date of the event.
Is my child eligible to compete?
Any student studying with a qualified TCRG is eligible to compete. At Murray Academy of Irish Dance, you are eligible to compete as you are all under the direction of Anne Murray Macritchie, owner and TCRG.
How do the levels work?
All dancers start as a Beginner. Once they have received a 1st-3rd place, they will move to advanced beginner in that particular dance, or they will move up after one year, whichever comes first. The levels progress from there: Advanced Beginner, Novice, Prizewinner, Preliminary Championships, and Open Championships. Ask your child's teacher for full details on how to advance.
What age group does my child compete?
The competition year of your child is based on their age as of January 1st in the current competition year. Once you have set up an account on feisweb, your child's age will be set by the system and you will only be offered competitions in the appropriate age group.
What costume and hair style does my dancer wear?
There are different costumes for the various levels of Irish Dance. From the pre-beginner jumper to the ornate solo dress, your teacher will instruct you as to what costume is appropriate for your dancer. Once in a solo dress, your teacher will work with you on either finding or designing the perfect outfit to compliment her style of dancing. Most grade-level dancers wear a curly up-do, which is a combination of a wig and curled hair. Some champion level dancers wear a full wig. Your teacher will let you know what works best for your dancer's costume and dancing style.
How are the dancers judged?
Dancers are given points for being able to get through the steps without errors, for proper rhythm and timing with the music, proper technique including feet and posture, and a neat appearance. These are some common things to remind your dancer of before they go onstage: staying high on their toes, turning their feet out, kicking their bum, straight legs, arms back, looking up and not at the ground (confidence), and smile!
What does it mean to “Recall"?
At the champ level at a major, dancers compete a hard shoe round and a soft shoe round. The scores are tallied and if the dancer is in the top half, they get to compete their third round, which is a hard shoe contemporary set. That third round is factored in with the other two for the final score. Sometimes the high and low score is dropped. For the smaller competitions, all open champions get to dance their third round and at awards, the top half "recall" and are placed.
How do I register for a feis?
If you are looking for a competition in a particular area or on a certain date, go to the New England Region Feis website for a complete list of all the feissana in our region organized by month. Each competition has a web address to register for the event. Many of the New England region feiseanna use FeisWeb to register.
What is Feis etiquette?
Flash photography and videotaping of any sort are only allowed for the prebeginner/beginner level. No other photography or video taping is allowed. Do not approach a judge or a musician during competition. If you have an issue, please speak with a stage monitor or someone in a volunteer shirt. Be flexible... schedules change and run late for good reasons, so be prepared to go with the flow (snacks, drinks, books, and electronic toys come in very handy during scheduling delays). Above all, be a good sport... this means being a gracious winner as well as handling not winning!
When does my dancer wear make up and tanner?
Dancers are allowed to wear make up and tanned legs once they are U11 and older. Why bother? The make up and tanner is geared towards the majors, where dancers are on an elevated stage with harsh lighting. Without it, they would look washed out. Their tanned legs accentuate the dancer's strong muscles, especially under the harsh lighting and dark back drop. There are several self application products suitable for local competitions, while most dancers have a professional spray tan their legs and face for the major competitions.
How do I break in Hard Shoes?
When hard shoes are brand new, they are fairly stiff throughout the upper and back, leaving dancers prone to blisters. The best way to break in hard shoes is slowly over time. Wear your new shoes to class for part of the class and then switch to your old shoes before feet start to blister. Manually bending the shoe at the arch and at the back of the heel helps to break down the leather faster. Another trick is to store the shoes folded in half (toe box touching heel) with an elastic around the middle to help form the arch. It is not recommended to use Hot Glove (a product you apply to the shoe and then bake in the oven) or wet the shoes at all as both methods could potentially ruin the shoes or break them in undesirably. Murray Academy has an extensive used shoe collection for sale if you need shoes quickly.