Your First Feis! (pronounced "fesh" like fresh without the R)
What is a Feis?
Actually feis is a Gaelic word for “coming together” and is used for a dance competition. 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 levels:
- First Feis - for the first time only
- Beginner I - for children completing first feis, and with up to 16 months training
- Beginner II - for 16 months training and up, having danced in Beg I 1+times
- Novice - for dancers having placing 1st-3rd in each Beginner II danceea
- Prize Winner - for dancers achieving a 1st in ch Novice dance
- Preliminary Championship – for those achieving a 1st in ALL PW dances
- Open Championship – for those with two 1st places from PC.
Where is a Feis and what do I do?
There are 2 local Feiseanna (plural of Feis) in Minnesota in June & September. There are many in the Midwest, and all across the country. They are held on weekends all throughout the year. The local Minnesota competitions are the Twin Cities Feile (approx. June 28th) and the Minnesota Feis(approx. September 27th).
Do they compete according to age?
Yes, they dance with children their own age & level. It goes by “Under 8, Under 9, Under 10” etc. for each consecutive level. The first day of the year – January 1st - is the cut-off date. So if your child is 8 on January 1st, and turns 9 in March they still dance “under 9”.
How do I know what competition number to enter my child in?
You start at First Feis and your teacher will tell you when to advance to the next level. Your teacher will also tell you which dance your child should enter; they will be the ones the dancers has been working on in class, and can do from beginning to end.
Can I find where they are taking place on the web?
The official website for the NAFC site also includes all feiseanna for the year in North America and for overseas competitions at their website: northamericanfeiscommission.org. You can register at the feis local site, but usually through feisworx.com or efeis.com, which are registration services for US feiseanna.
What dances do I register for?
Your child will probably be told by their teacher to enter a few dances. The typical Beginner dances are Reel/(Light) Jig. Beginner IIs also do Single Jig/& Slip Jig. Their first hard shoe dance is the Treble Jig. You pay for each “solo” dance your child is entered, although they will not be dancing on their own, but with two to three other dancers at a time. Each “solo” dance is usually $8 to $10 to enter.
You’ll be surprised how easy it gets once you get going. You best resource are other parents in your school, please ask them lots of questions! Also - if you are visiting a Grandma or family member out of state and want to register for a feis there, it is a great opportunity to show them your talents!