Competition Types

Competition types include local competitions, as well as regional, national, and world championships. Below are explanations of the different types of competitions that Irish Dancers can attend.

Local Competitions:

Feis

A Feis is a local competition that enables Solo dancers of any level to compete and have the opportunity to advance to the next level. Teams may also register to compete in Ceili dances.

  • Regarding Soloists, Grade level dancers (Beginner through Prizewinner) may compete in Reel, Light Jig, Single Jig, Slip Jig, Fast or Slow Heavy Jig, Fast or Slow Hornpipe, and Traditional Set Dances. For each dance, dancers perform a routine that consists of 2 steps, except for Traditional Set Dances, which have a specific choreography to fit the music. Competitors dance two, sometimes three, at a time on stage with dancers from other Irish Dance schools.
  • Preliminary Championship Soloists compete two rounds (soft shoe and hard shoe). They compete either Reel (3 steps) and Hornpipe (2.5 steps) or Slip Jig (2.5 steps) and Treble Jig (3 steps). Competitors dance two at a time on the stage for soft shoe. Age groups under 15 perform the hard shoe round three at a time. Some competitions offer a separate set dance competition for Preliminary dancers.
  • Open Championship Soloists compete three rounds (soft shoe, hard shoe, and set dance). They compete either Reel (3 steps) and Hornpipe (2.5 steps) or Slip Jig (2.5 steps) and Treble Jig (3 steps), and set dance. Competitors dance two at a time on the stage for soft shoe. Age groups under 15 perform the hard shoe round three at a time; Dancers perform their set dance one at a time.
  • Regarding Ceilis, Teams may register for 2, 3, 4, and 8-hand dances with approval from the Director.
  • The North American Feis Commission’s standard prizes are 4 awards for the first 10 dancers and 1 prize for every 3 dancers thereafter in both solo and championship events.

*Note for Set Dances: Dancers perform a Set Dance in hard shoes. The dancer performs choreography that is specific to the piece of traditional music (either treble jig or hornpipe tempo). A traditional set is a specific dance sequence performed at a specific speed to a specific piece of traditional music. For a non-traditional set (contemporary set), the Director will create original choreography to suite the chosen piece of traditional music with a specific speed.

To register for a Feis, we have provided information on our Feis Information page.

Major Competitions:

Southern Region Oireachtas (Regionals)

The Southern Region Oireachtas is a regional competition that occurs during the first weekend in December each year. This is the regional qualifier for the National Championships and World Championships. Dancers should expect to travel for the Oireachtas because the location varies each year.

For Soloists, only Preliminary and Open Championship level dancers may compete. Dancers compete with their appropriate age and gender category. All dancers compete the first two rounds (hard shoe first and then soft shoe), and then the top half of the dancers is recalled to compete in the third round (set dance). All recalled dancers receive their final placement at the Awards Ceremony where they will be presented their award, in full costume, on stage.

In addition to Soloists, the Director will select Grade-level dancers (Beginner II – Prizewinner) to compete in Traditional Set Dance competitions. These competitions are open to any Non-Solo dancer at the Oireachtas. Therefore, the selected Foley Academy dancers are competition dancers who show proficiency for these dances. In addition, they are actively competing. Dancers will perform Traditional Sets three at a time on stage with dancers from other Irish Dance schools.

For Ceilis, the Director will assemble 4 and 8-hand teams based on age and level. The Director will arrange these teams during the Summer Camp, and the official Oireachtas team practices will start in September. Age groups include Under 10, Under 12, Under 15, 15 & Over, and Adult. Ceilis also include categories for Girls/Ladies and Mixed (boys/men & girls/ladies). Therefore, the Foley Academy invites all competition dancers to participate in Ceili competitions for the Oireachtas.

The director will coordinate registration for the Southern Region Oireachtas.

North American Irish Dance Championships (NAIDC – Nationals)

The North American Irish Dance Championships is a National competition that occurs during the first week of July each year. In order to attend Nationals, dancers must qualify at the Southern Region Oireachtas or actively compete in the Open Championship level. In addition, dancers can qualify for the World Championships at Nationals. Dancers should expect to travel for Nationals because the location varies each year. The following locations have been confirmed:

  • 2018: Orlando, Florida – Hosted by IDTANA
  • 2019: Vancouver, British Columbia – Hosted by WCIDTA
  • 2020: Nashville, Tennessee – Hosted by IDTAMA
  • 2021: TBD – Hosted by Western US

Solo competitions are run in a similar manner to the Southern Region Oireachtas, therefore see the explanation above.

There are no Traditional Set Dance Competitions at Nationals.

For Ceilis, the Director will consider sending the 8-hand teams that place in the top 3 of their category at the Oireachtas to Nationals. 4-hand teams do not compete at Nationals.

The Director will coordinate registration for Nationals.

Oireachtas Rince Na Cruinne (World Championships)

Oireachtas Rince Na Cruinne is the World Championship competition that occurs the week before Easter each year. In order to attend the World Championships, dancers must qualify at Regionals or Nationals. Dancers should expect to travel for the World Championships because the location varies each year. The CLRG has confirmed the following locations:

  • 2019: Greensboro, NC, USA
  • 2020: Dublin, Ireland
  • 2021: Killarney, Ireland
  • 2022: Belfast, Ireland
  • 2023: Montreal, Canada
  • 2024: Glasgow, Scotland

Solo competitions are run in a similar manner to the Southern Region Oireachtas, except regarding recalls. Where there are 60 or fewer competitors entered in a solo championship, there will be a 50% recall for the set dance round. Where there are more than 60 competitors entered in a solo championship, they will recall 30 competitors plus an additional one in three or part of three up to a maximum of 50 competitors for the set dance round.

There are no Traditional Set Dance Competitions at Worlds.

For Ceilis, the Director will consider sending the 8-hand teams that place in the top 3 of their category at the Oireachtas or Nationals to the World Championships. 4-hand teams do not compete at Worlds.

The Director will coordinate registration for the World Championships.

Other Major Competitions:

In addition to Regionals, Nationals, and Worlds, there are several other Major competitions that Foley Academy dancers can attended with Director’s approval:

  • Oireachtas Rince na hEireann: All Ireland Championships, which is an international qualifying event for the World Championships.
  • British Nationals – Secondary qualifier depending on year
  • All Scotland Championships – Secondary qualifier depending on year
  • Great Britain Championships – Secondary qualifier depending on year
  • European Championships
  • Australian International Championships