Competition and Feiseanna
The Cummins School is a member of the An Coimisium Le Rinci Gaelacha and the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Irish Dance Teachers of North America. Feis at the Beach is registered with the North American Feis Commission.
As your child progresses in class, you may become interested in an Irish dancing competition or a “feis” (pronounced ‘fesh’). We will let you know when we think your child is ready for competition. The requirement to enter a feis is that a dancer must be able to perform two steps on the right and left foot to the music. All children progress at a different pace, and some children may be ready to compete before others. We want your child to feel confident about their ability before they compete. If you or your child is not interested in competition please let us know. There are many shows, events, and parades that you can participate in during the year that do not require competition.
List of Feiseanna There are feisanna almost every weekend all over the country. Several of them are local, and many of them are in the Mid-Atlantic region. For a complete list visit the North American Feis Commission website and click on the schedule tab. A list of local feiseanna can be found on this page.
Entering a feis When your child is ready to compete, and you are interested in a particular feis, we will assist you in determining which competition your child can enter. There are six levels of competition, Beginners, advanced beginners, novice, prizewinners, preliminary championship and open championship. Beginners are dancers who have not taken dance lessons prior to September of the previous year . The following year a dancer must progress to Advanced Beginners. From Advanced Beginners through prizewinners, children advance through the levels by placing in that particular dance. Preliminary championship and open championship levels are for dancers who are very dedicated to Irish dancing, spending a lot of time both at class and practicing at home. It can take many years to reach this level.
A walk through your first feis. At a feis, there will be many dancers from many different schools. When you arrive at a feis, you will find the stage where child’s first competition is scheduled . Keep in mind that most children will be compete in at least two different dances (eg a reel and a light jig). Each dance is a separate competition and separate prizes are awarded. The children will line up in single file and walk onto the stage. They will be wearing their competitor numbers pinned at their waist. Dancers will be expected to dance two or three at a time and will not be performing the same steps as the other dancers. They are expected to know when to start to the music. When they are finished performing their two steps on the right and left foot, then they bow and return to their place until all the dancers have finished. The results of each competition will either be announced or posted depending on the feis. This will not be immediately after a particular competition. In most cases, they will be posted in a reasonable time. For more detailed information, see the "first feis" link below.
THERE IS NO VIDEOTAPING ALLOWED AT ANY FEIS. THIS RULE IS FROM THE COMMISSION IN DUBLIN AND IS STRICTLY ENFORCED. PLEASE LET ANY FAMILY AND FRIENDS KNOW THIS IN ADVANCED. VIDEOTAPING AT SHOWS AND PARADES IS WELCOMED.
Beginners and advanced beginners can wear the Cummins beginners costume. See the costume page for more information. Girls hair may be curled in ringlets, or a wig may be worn with the Cummins school headband or other headpiece. Poodle socks are mandatory, and for the older girls the champion length poodle socks are preferred. Please check your dancer's laces prior to going on stage. Bring extra safety pins, bobby pins, etc “just in case”. If a dancers falls on stage, bumps in to another dancer, or loses a hair piece or headband, they should keep dancing unless the judge rings a bell. Good sportsmanship is a must and is fostered in this school. Congratulating other dancers on a job well done is encouraged and, most of all, we expect all Cummins dancers to smile. We know our dancers love to dance, and we want them to convey that with their attitudes.