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- Wake up early so you can do hair and makeup (if the dancer is old enough) before leaving for the feis as well as eating your last decent meal of the day. Wait to put on the costume until you’re at the feis and about to dance but put on the T-shirt/tank top, kick pants/bloomers with shorts and/or warm-ups over them and poodle socks (glued in place) while still at the hotel.
- Pick up registration packet (sometimes can be done the night before); find stage assignments and highlight in the program. Usually a competitor will dance all day on the same stage but double-check that’s the case.
- Find a “camping” spot in designated camping area. Ideally it’s relatively close to the stage you’ll be on; set up blanket and chairs, dump your gear.
- At each stage you will see a board, usually on an easel, listing all dances on that stage. There are also two areas on the board that list dance numbers, one showing the group that’s “on deck” and the other showing the group that should be currently checking in with the monitor. You will also see chairs set up to one side of the stage and in front of the stage. The seats in front are free for spectators to sit in; the ones to the side are reserved for those dancers who are checked in and waiting to compete. DON’T sit in the chair set up in front of the stage at the table – that is for the judge. Note: Spectator seating is sometimes set up on the opposite side from the dancer seating.
- BEFORE you check in your child, double-check the following: empty bladder, shoelaces double-tied and tucked in, costume/dress on, shorts off, kick pants/bloomers on (if girl), t-shirt/tank top tucked into bloomers (so when kicking no shirt is visible), competitor number tied around waist.
- When your child’s dance number is listed to check in on easel, take him/her forward and tell the monitor it’s your child’s first feis. The monitor will check your child in (by looking at the competitor number around his/her waist) and find him/her a seat to the side of the stage.
- Parents now wait anxiously in the crowd; when the “on deck” group gets up to dance, your child’s group will probably be moved into the “on deck” chairs.
- When it’s time to compete, the kids will be lined up at the back of the stage. They will step forward two or three at a time to dance their steps (with no pause between pairs). When done, competitors point their toe and bow to the judge and return to the line at the back of the stage without getting in the way of the next group of competitors. When all the dancers on stage have danced, the judge will generally take a moment to write some things down – dancers remain on stage until the judge dismisses them with a nod. They then point their toe and bow as a group and leave the stage – usually in the opposite direction that they walked on. Young dancers will generally get plenty of help from monitors to get all of this correct. We highly recommend watching a few groups ahead of time so that dancers have seen this process before they have to do it.
- Monitor the stage’s progress so you don’t miss your child’s next dance. If there will be a long wait until their next dance, take the costume off so your child can relax (put shorts back on over kick pants/bloomers).
- You may check your results (at the results area) at any time during the day, or wait until you’re completely done. Some kids are fine learning how they are doing; others do better not knowing until completely finished.
- If your child has placed (ie. their competitor number appears under the dance they competed in on the results wall), you or they may pick up the award at the awards table. You will need your competitor number and you will be asked to initial or sign for the award (so the feis knows it’s been picked up). If you leave the feis before all your child’s results are out and they place, most feisanna will mail awards to you. You can also have someone else from the school pick them up but they will need your child’s competitor number to do so. Some feisanna hand out awards at the results wall and don’t have a separate awards area.
- Sometimes you can pick up judges’ comments at the end of the day, but more and more these are available online (e.g. through Feisworx).