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All About A Feis

What is A FEIS?

The word "Feis" (pronounced “fesh”) comes from a Gaelic word meaning "festival".   Feisanna (plural for Feis) are Irish dancing competitions. Dancers perform their steps individually for an adjudicator who then ranks them in terms of their technique, posture, timing, steps and style of dance.

Why participate in a feis?

A feis is a great way for a dancer to take what they have learned in class and perform it on stage. The placement gives them feedback on how to improve in their dancing. Not only does a feis help their progress, but a great way for a child to improve their confidence, build friendships, and learn sportsmanship.

Upcoming Feisanna

A complete list of all feisanna for the year can be found on the New England Region’s website:

How to sign Up for a Feis?

1) Find a feis that works with your schedule using the link above.

2) Determine your dancer's feis level and age by asking either Miss Bridget, Miss Elizabeth, or Miss Erin

3) Sign up for the feis!

Feisanna usually accept entries one of the following ways:

You will need to make an account and enter your dancer's information. For example: Seamus Moseley, Beginner Level, Age: Under 2. Once an account is made for your dancer, you can enter the feis.

A little more about the Feis levels...

The first thing to understand about entering your dancer is their level and age category.

Feis Levels for Dancers (please double check your level with a teacher)

  • PreBeginner/Beginner – Open only to dancers who have not taken dance lessons prior to September of the previous year. A beginner will dance in this category for at least five feisanna, or until teacher advises. A dancer will move into the Advanced Beginner category once they have finished the Beginner level. 

  • Advanced Beginner – A dancer remains an advanced beginner until he/she wins 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Dancer moves up to novice only in the dance(s) he/she has won 1st, 2nd or 3rd AND with your Teachers permission.

  • Novice – Any dancer who has won 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the Advanced Beginner competition and has teacher permission to move up. Dancers may compete in a school costume or purchase a solo costume.

  • Prizewinner – A dancer who has previously won 1st in Novice in a particular dance. Dancers may compete in the school costume or purchase a solo costume.

The last two levels are for the more serious competitors and require very dedicated dancers.

  • Preliminary Championship – Open to dancers who have placed 1st in each of their prizewinner dances. In this level dancers choose either reel or slip jig to dance, and either heavy jig and hornpipe.

  • Open Championship – The most advanced level. Must have won TWO first places at the Preliminary level. In this level dancers choose either reel or slip jig to dance, either heavy jig and hornpipe, and a set dance.


Feis Age:

Your dancer’s age to register is what he or she is on January 1 of each year.  If your dancer is 8 years old on January 1, he or she will dance in the Under 9 category for the entire year (even after his or her birthday passes).


Always remember,
check with your dancer’s teacher first to confirm the level at which your child(ren) should be dancing.

Only your instructor knows when your child is ready to move levels – you do need their permission BEFORE changing levels.



A few days prior to the feis, check online for the stage schedule. This can usually be found on the hosting school’s facebook page and website. If we know dancers are attending the feis, we will also share the syllabus on our social media accounts.

We know everyone has their phone, but it is a good idea to print the:

·   Stage schedule

·   Feis Syllabus (to refer back to for the competition number)

·   Maps and Directions

You MUST print your dancer's competitor number for them to wear on the day they dance. This can be found on FeisWeb.

What is a Dancer's Number?

It is important to note that a dancer's number is different than their competition number. Each dancer has a competitor number (worn when they dance), which the judge uses to distinguish your dancer from another. A competition number corresponds to each specific dance (i.e. - Under 8 Reel).



A feis can sometimes feel like organized chaos. Being prepared can help everyone, especially your dancer, enjoy the experience. Packing a ‘feis bag’ the night before can go a long way in the morning! Please continue reading for more details.


Double check that both shoes are in their shoe bag and that they are neat and polished, if needed. And you have your dancer's number.


 It’s the big day! Grab your patience as you head out the door and plan to arrive at the venue early - at least 45-60 minutes prior to the anticipated start time of your competitions. Competitions may run early if a feis is ahead of schedule – it is important to be ready to go!


1) Find a place to settle in and get organized. Take a deep breath!

2) Take a few minutes to walk around and familiarize yourself with the layout of the stages. You can always find a Murphy teacher or friend to help!

3) Find the stage(s) your dancer will perform on will be on. There is a chance your dancer may be on several different stages depending on how the feis is organized. It may be helpful to also find where the restroom at the venue are.


If you have questions please ask a feis volunteer — they usually have matching shirts or a badge. DO NOT approach an adjudicator or musician or stand around them. Thank you.


4) Check that your dancer is ready to take the stage:

·   Wig or hair is neat and done

·   Dancer is in their dance costume

·   Number is attached at the waist, with either a safety pin or thin ribbon

·   Shoes are double knotted (most competitions start in soft shoe)


5) Once your dancer is ready, stay by the stage and wait patiently for them to call your dancer's age, level, and competition number up on stage.



Competition numbers are typically listed in order on a big sign next to the assigned stage. As each dance is completed, it is usually crossed out. Sometimes the feis also have a sign with ‘now dancing’ and ‘next’. It is very important to pay attention to these signs.


Unfortunately, competitions will not wait for missing dancers, and stages can move at different paces based on the number of competitors in each dance. However, if you found that you’ve missed your dance, don’t panic! Speak with the stage manager to see if they will allow you to dance separately.


When your dancer’s competition is next up to dance, it’s time to check in with a stage manager side stage. At this time, it can be reassuring to your dancer to remind them - ‘this is your reel competition - this is where you’ll be dancing your reel steps’. “Drop off” your dancer and find a spot to watch your dancer shine! Please be sure to remind your dancer not to stand next to another Murphy dancer on stage,


The stage monitor will have a list of dancers in each competition and will check your dancer’s card against the list. The dancers will be lined up and, when it is time to dance, they’ll be lead out in a straight line.


For the beginner levels, a stage helper will assist dancers with when to move forward, start dancing, and remind them to bow to the judge (adjudicator) at the end.


Dance choreography is different for each school, so don’t be surprised when you see other dancers performing different steps. When dancers are finished, they are led off stage. Please find your dancer and they will either wait for results or find their next competition if it is on another stage!


Results may take anywhere from a half hour to a few hours later. The competition number will be listed on the wall with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place listed underneath. The competitor numbers will then be listed next to the number of place that they have been awarded. If your dancer’s number is in one of the boxes, congratulations! Your next stop is the awards table!

You will need the competitor number in order to collect any medals that have been won. If you do not see your dancer’s number, take the time to remind your dancer that just getting up there to dance was quite an accomplishment!

Some adjudicators will make quick comments while watching each dance - these are called “marks”. Depending on the feis, these are either posted to FeisWeb, or there will be a place that you can collect these. It is very helpful for the dancer to see these comments, so they know what to work on. If you receive marks at the feis, please hand a copy to a teacher at the next class.

Congrats you will now have survived the feis! Safe travels home!


Here are some things that you should include while packing:

• dance shoes (don’t’s happened!)

• poodle socks

• dance costume

• money (cash for entry fee, if there is one, and vendors if needed)

• wig 

• hair fixings – bow, comb/brush, hair elastics, bobby pins

• safety pins

• ribbon to tie your number around your dancer's waist

• small hole puncher to create holes on either side of the number to tie number around waist

• sock glue (can be found at vendors) this is so that your dancer's socks do not fall while dancing

• water bottle and a nutritious snack/lunch

• a pencil/pen and highlighter, to mark your stage schedule

• first aid items (band-aids, pain medicine if needed)

• travel pack of tissues

• a book or activity to help pass the time between dances or results postings

Please Note

Dancers who have qualified for the Novice level are allowed to purchase solo dresses that NEED to be approved by the teachersbefore they are purchased.



Dancers will need to wear:

  • Dance shoes 

  • Poodle Socks

PreBeginner/ Beginner/Advanced Beginner:

  • White Peter Pan Collared Button Down and Blue skirt or Blue School Costume created by Aspire

  • Hair is to be neat and tidy. Either, curled half up half down with bow or bun wig (Camelia Rose Alliyah preferred) with bow


·Novice/Prizewinner costumes:

  • Blue School Costume created by Aspire or Solo Dress

  • Hair is to be neat and tidy. Dancers must wear a wig (Camelia Rose Alliyah or Brigid preferred) with hair piece


Male Dancers – White dress shirt, Royal blue tie, and black dress pants or Solo Outfit (Dress shirt and dress pants. Vest or suit coat - optional)

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