Competition Faqs

Competition is not the sole focus of the Boyle School and it is certainly not for everyone. However, if your dancer is interested in competing, their desire should be expressed to their teacher. Any Boyle School dancer who is interested in competing may do so and would be strongly encouraged to join Competition Class, a class focused on preparing dancers for competition.

What is a feis?
A feis (fesh) is the name for an Irish dance competition. The Boyle School of Irish Dance is registered with An Coimisiun le Rince Gaelacha (CLRG) and therefore our dancers may only compete in feiseanna that are registered with the North American Feis Commission (NAFC) or CLRG.

How do I sign up for a Feis?
Feiseanna are held throughout the world. Here is the link to the North American Feis Commission Website where you can find schedules and rules for feiseanna: www.northamericanfeiscommission.org

Visit the NAFC page and choose a feis from their schedule. Then visit that feis website and follow their entry process. Very rarely a feis may do "mail-in" entries only. If this is the case you will follow their specific instructions. Most feiseanna use different websites to register dancers. The most common sites used are: www.feisweb.com, www.feisworx.com, and www.efeis.com. You will have to create a permanent account with these sites. Once you've created your accounts the sites keep track of your dancer's age group for you. These sites guide you in paying for participation as well. You can choose to pay with a credit card or PayPal. Some feiseanna will let you mail a check. You can also visit these sites to view the different feiseanna that are scheduled. 

When Should I sign up?
Most competitions have their syllabus out about 3 months before the feis date. This is just an estimate. Many times feiseanna reach their cap before the closing date of entries. Many feiseanna close very quickly. To receive notification about a feis opening up, create an account at the three feis sites: efeis, feisworx, and feisweb. The efeis site gives you an option on the left margin to "manage my account". Once there, you can see the different feiseanna for the different regions that use efeis and "check" the feiseanna you wish to receive email notifications for. The feisworx site will also have boxes you can check to receive emails about all upcoming feiseanna in every region in North America that uses their site for registration. Finally, the feisweb site automatically sends out emails for any feis associated with their site--no box-checking is necessary. For other feiseanna that do not use one of these three sites (which is VERY rare) you will need to monitor that feis from the earlier mentioned North American Feis Schedule.

What do I do when I get to a Feis?
About 5 days before the feis, plan on visiting the feis website to print out a Stage Schedule. The Stage Schedule tells you what stage your dances are on and what order all of the dances are in. You should highlight your competition numbers and the stage numbers. Make sure you bring this to the feis. Also, about 5 days before the feis, MOST (but not all) feiseanna will email you your COMPETITOR NUMBER. Print this out on white cardstock and make sure you have a way to attach it to your dancer's outfit (ribbon or safety pin). Your competitor number will also have your competitions listed on the back. If you forget your competitor number or stage schedule you can usually get one at the check-in table when you get to the feis. When you arrive, familiarize yourself with the layout and locate the stages on which you will be dancing. Occasionally, a feis may announce that they are moving a specific competition to another stage so plan on listening to all announcements. Watch your stage and follow your Stage Schedule. Each stage will have an "On Stage" sign and a "Next Up" sign. When you see that the "Next Up" sign is showing the competition just before yours you should check-in at the stage with the stage manager. This person is usually standing by the signs and has a clipboard where they will mark off your name. The stage manager will then direct you to the chairs where you will wait for your competition. When it's your group’s turn to compete, another helper will tell you it's time to proceed onto the stage.

Which group is my dancer in?
When you register your dancer, you register them as of January 1 of this year.

For example: If your dancer is age 10 as of January 1, then your dancer will compete in Under 11 all year long, regardless of when they turn 11.

How are the Competition Levels Divided?
There are 6 competition levels or grades in North America that the dancer progresses through. They are: 

  • Beginner Grade: A beginner is a competitor who has not taken a full year of Irish Dance lessons, thereby giving beginners a full year with such status. A Beginner must move into the Advanced Beginner category the next year. If a dancer places 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the beginner category they may move to Advanced Beginner at their next feis.
  • Advanced Beginner Grade: When a dancer places 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in Advanced beginner they may move into Novice in that particular dance. If your dancer is performing hardshoe in advanced beginner they must perform to the traditional or faster speed..
  • Novice Grade: A novice dancer who places 1st in Novice may move up to the Prizewinner / Open in that particular dance.
  • Prizewinner/Open Grade: A prizewinner dancer must have a first in ALL of their Prizewinner/Open dances before they move into Preliminary Championship.
  • Preliminary Championship: A dancer must win two first places in Preliminary Championship to advance to the Open Championship category.
  • Open Championship: Open championship is the highest level of competition offered in Fesianna.

What do I wear to a Feis?
In Beginner through Prizewinner levels you may wear our beginner costume (the black leotard and skort) or our green school dress and poodle socks with the proper dance shoes. Boys may wear black slacks, a dress shirt and tie or our Boyle School cummerbund and black socks with their proper dance shoes. Dancers in more advanced levels may wear a solo outfit that is approved by the teachers.

What do I need to bring to a feis?
Remember to bring your costume, the syllabus, the list of steps from your teacher, duct tape, safety pins, a folding chair (if allowed-always read the syllabus for each feis as it will tell you what they do not allow), highlighted stage schedule, competitor number, bottled water and snacks. Feiseanna can be a very long day so you might want to pack books and portable toys for dancers' siblings.

Where do I get my results?
The results for grade competitions are posted on a wall listing the dancers who have placed. If your number appears on the results chart you can obtain your medal or trophy from the awards table. At some competitions, you may buy your scores and comments which can be very helpful for practice purposes. Most feiseanna provide these at no extra charge. 

How does the 100 points system work?
In the grade levels, dancers have one adjudicator judging their competition. In Preliminary and Open, there are three adjudicators who utilize the 100 points system. Click here for a very good article written by Jim Montague, of Feis Web, explaining the 100 point system.

How does the schedule work at a feis?
Here is a calculator that helps figure out timing at feis:
Stage Calculator