Preparing for a Feis

What is a Feis?

 A Feis is a chance for your child to compete against other dancers in their age group and level.  It builds their confidence, gives them a chance to showcase what they’ve learned and it’s a lot of fun. There are six competitor levels:

  • Beginner
  • Advances Beginner
  • Novice
  • Prize Winner
  • Preliminary
  • Champion

Where is a Feis and what do I do?

There are local Feisanna (plural of Feis) throughout New England.  Most Irish dance schools sponsor a Feis so there are lots to choose from. More information will provided on upcoming Feisanna throughout the school year.

Where can I find upcoming Feis information?

To look up where an upcoming Feis and how to get there, you can go Feisweb.  This will give you a lay out of which ones are coming up and when the entry is due (there is always a cut off date). If you have any questions email; The official website for the North American Feis Commission (NAFC) site also includes all Feisanna for the year and overseas competitions:

Other websites to registered around the country include: Feisworks and eFeis

How do I know what competition number to enter my child in?

Your Clann Lir Academy teacher will help you with your first Feis registration. Additionally, we will inform you when your dancer moves to the next level (e.g. Advanced Beginner to Novice). This is based on competition results and placements (i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) earned. Further, we will also tell you which dance (e.g. reel and light jig, etc.) your child should use to enter.

How is the competition arranged?

Each dancer competes with children their own age and level.  The arrangement typically goes by Under 8, Under 9, Under 10, etc. within each level (Beginner, Advanced Beginner, Novice, etc.).  The first day of the year is the cutoff date to determine age group.  For example, if your child is 8 and they were born in March they dance “under 8”.  A child born in November would also be “under 8”. If you are unsure what age group to register for, reach out to your Clann Lir Academy teacher.

What do you bring to a Feis?

  • School dress
  • If you don’t have a school dress – black leotard (long sleeves and high neck) and school skirt
  • Poddle socks
  • A number card holder (it’s plastic and has a ribbon that ties around their waste)
  • Dancing shoes
  • Curly hair, if possible!

We recommend creating a checklist to ensure you have everything you need to bring as it can be stressful the morning of a Feis getting everything organized! See our Feis Checklist for Beginners.

At the Feis

How early to I need to get there? 

If the Feis states that it is starting at 9:00 am you should try to be there by 8:15 am. (Each Feis may start at different times, so please check.)  You need to do a few things before it begins (warm-ups, etc.), and you want your child to be totally comfortable and ready to go!

Where do I get my child’s competition number?

Once you are at the Feis there will be a sign telling you where to pick up your competitor number.  They are usually in alphabetical order either according to school or your last name.

Where do I go once I have the competition number? 

Once you have your number you go to your dance area.  This is usually in a gym where many competitions may be going on at the same time. If unsure, ask around!

How do they know my child is here? 

You must check your child in with the person running the stage where your dancer is scheduled.  They will cross off the competition number on your child’s entry number. You will notice that the dancers walk out in a straight line and then dance two at a time.  Your teacher will go over this with your child ahead of time.   The judge sits facing the dancers and there is someone there to tell them when to start.  There will be a musician or two playing for each stage.

What happens after they dance? 

After the first dance the dancers move to the next stage for their second dance, and so on.  Since the dancer compete in the same age group, and most likely all doing the same dances, they will all move to the next stage together.  

How do I find out how my child did? 

After about half an hour (approximately) you will walk over to where they have “results” listed on a wall.  This is usually in a hallway. You look at the competition numbers on the wall and wait for them to fill in the 1st , 2nd and 3rd place winners.  

What if my child’s number is listed on the wall?

If your child’s number is in one of the placement boxes Congratulations!  That means your child placed and he/she (usually) gets a medal!  It’s very exciting. 

What if my child’s number is not listed on the wall?

If not, you reassure them how great they did and that every judge is different and every Feis is different.  In a few days log onto Feis Web and look at your results, tell your instructor the comments and discuss how to improve.

As your child moves up in category they will become more experienced in the whole “Feis world!”

Do I need to get a wig or bun cover?

A wig or bun cover eliminates the need for sleeping on curlers and fussing with the hair in the morning.  Many parents have found it much easier putting on a wig in the morning than sleeping in curlers and tossing and turning all night. Ask your teacher which one is best.

Do I need to get a solo (fancy) dress?

When your child reaches Prize Winner, you might want to consider a solo dress.  Your teacher will guide you through this process.