What is a Feis?

Just like in Ballroom dancing, there are international competitions in Irish dancing, so-called Feiseanna (Singular: Feis, pronounced: [faesh]). Competitions are subdivided into Dance types and levels (Beginners, Primary, Intermediate and Open), and usually two to three competitors share a stage when performing in front of a judge. These judges (so-called Adjudicators or ADCRGs, usually from Ireland, the UK, North America or Australia) watch and assess the dancers performances, considering their rhythm, technique, difficulty of steps, timing, posture and overall presentation. Feiseanna take place regularly in cities all over Europe and the world, and our dancers love to travel around throughout the year.

We already have found some annual fixtures: the Austrian Championships in Vienna (usually in October), the European Championships, taking place in November in a different European city each year, and the World Championships, that annually take place in a metropolitan city (e.g. London, Boston, Montréal,..) over the Easter holidays.

Usually a Feis is held on a weekend, sometimes only on one day. Competitions mostly start around 8 am and finish at 8pm, but of course there is no need to stay so late, or to dance for the entire 12 hours – the hosting dance school releases the timetable (or Syllabus) weeks prior to the event, so every dancer knows when their competitions are on and when there are breaks. This Syllabus may vary from event to event and from hosting school to hosting school, but usually they remain roughly the same within one region.

Exceptions are “Majors – the World Championship Qualifying Events and the National Championships of big Irish dancing nations (England, Scotland, Irleand, North America, etc.), and the World Championships themselves. They also only entail Open Championship competitions. Majors can last up to four days, usually from Thursday to Sunday. The World Championships, goes from Palm Saturday to Easter Sunday – that’s 8 entire days. To cater for such masses of competitors and visitors, CLRG rents event complexes or fair grounds.