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  • Can my child attend Irish Dance Camps run by someone other than their dancing school?
    Dancers should first attend the dance camp that is offered by our dancing school. No one is allowed to attend any other Irish Dance Camp without first getting approval from the teachers. A dance camp must be approved with An Coimisiún and not pose a judging conflict with the adjudicators in our own school. The associations rules are very strict.
  • What should my child wear to class?
    GIRLS Please pick from the following options: Leotard, dance skirt or “skort”, socks or tights and black ballet slippers T-shirt (only solid color or Gray School apparel*), dance skirt or “skort” white socks or black tights and in the colder weather leggings and dance shoes. A “skort” might be more comfortable for some rather than a skirt. If you choose a skirt, proper trunks should be worn under it or the short lycra shorts NOT the box style loose fitting sports shorts. It is required that Hair must be pulled back away from the face into a single pony tail or bun. No bits of hair hanging around the face. Poodle Socks which may be ordered from your teacher Note: It is strongly recommended that all girls over the age of 12 wear a proper fitting and supportive sports bra to class. Please keep in mind that all classes are co-ed and modesty is required. BOYS: T-shirt, (solid color or authorized Gray School apparel) shorts and dancing shoes The following items are prohibited: Cami (Camisole shirt) with straps showing (even layered) or low cut shirts T-shirts that have any brand labels, team logos or other corporate logos other than or authorized Gray School apparel Shorts that contain graphic messages, such as “Kick Butt” or any other offensive sayings Loose zipper hoodies or loose fitting sweatshirts. For those that need a sweater, a black wrap style dance sweater may be worn (by Capezio or Danskin) which is very neat and won’t fall off.
  • What class should my child be in?
    Always ask your child’s teacher. The teacher would know the best class to place your child in. Your child’s best interest is always our intent. A child or parent should never worry about who is in or isn’t in class. Class is for you.
  • Is my child allowed to bring a cell phone or electronics into class?
    No cell phones, iPods and electronic games of any kind will be allowed in class. Any dancer that needs a cell phone to be with them must have them turned off and in their dance bag while class is on. The teacher will take any of these away should they be out.
  • When do I need a Traditional Dancing Costume?
    Many children take dance class just for the pure enjoyment of dance and for the exercise. Your child should get a school dress/costume when they are going to go to dance competitions regularly, is in a ceili team or would like to dance out in area shows. Beginner and Advanced Beginner level dancers who enter a feis are allowed to wear a school dress or a skirt and blouse (not a dance skirt with the school logo). We recommend the following skirt and blouse from Olive Juice Kids: Under shop girls – under skirts – the Pleated Skirt (FG88189) Under tops – the Adelaide Blouse (FG84371) Note: All school dresses must be approved before they are purchased. This will ensure that you are purchasing an up-to-date costume.
  • How long should my child practice?
    The famous statement “Practice makes perfect” is so true. A little bit of practice each day makes a huge difference. Practice helps a child to remember what they have been taught. The average child attends one dance class a week so they are bound to forget something. They go to school five days a week for six hours and forget things. We have posted practice guides to help. Remember a beginner should do 10 or 15 minutes and the more advanced you get the longer you practice.
  • When is a dancer allowed to get a solo costume?
    A solo costume/dress is not allowed before the Novice level of dance. We do not recommend it until the dancer is in the Prize Winner level in at least one of the dances. Note: All solo costumes must be approved before they are purchased. This will ensure that you are purchasing an up to date costume.
  • Speeds for Heavy Shoe dances (Heavy Jig and Hornpipe)
    When the dancers start their hard shoe dances they first dance them at a traditional speed, which is slower than the light jig. They later move onto to the slower speed or Oireachtas speed.
  • What is the 100 point system?
    This is an explanation of the computer print out that you receive after a prelim and/or open championship at a feis. It shows the first, second and third place ranking (sometimes up to fifth place) and your ranking after each round (reel/slip jig, jig/hornpipe and set). Your raw score is changed into the 100 point system therefore making a placement (1st, 2nd, 3rd and right down the line) equal in value as opposed to a raw score, which varies from judge to judge. For example my first place raw score may be an “85” and the next judge may have “80” as their first place score and the third judge may have “88” as their first place raw score. The 100 point system equalizes out these differences. When there is a tie the points are then divided between those competitors. 100 Point System Note: Your marks are personal and not public. They should be brought to your teacher.
  • What is a feis and when do I enter?
    The word feis (pronounced fesh) comes from a Gaelic word meaning “festival”. In the context of Irish dance today, it means “competition”. Note: Check with your teacher before entering any feis.
  • When and where are these feiseanna held?
    Dance schools and other interested Irish organizations hold dance competitions throughout the year, all over the country and all over the world. The North American Feis Commission is responsible for registering the competitions in North America. There web site is where a complete list of feisanna can be found.
  • How do I register?
    Only students of registered teachers may compete. Each feis will offer a syllabus that lists the pertinent info for that event. Forms are available at the studio or on our website. Pick the ones that you might like to attend, ask your teacher how to fill them out, and mail them in. Some allow on-line registration through e-feis but when you are beginning you should talk to your teacher first. Note: Check with your teacher before registering for any feis.
  • What are the fees?
    Each dancer is charged a fee per dance, typically $8 – $12, depending on the hosts. If your dancer dances a reel, light jig and slip jig for instance, the fee could be $24-$36. There is usually a family cap. There is always a family door fee which is paid when entering and allows anyone with the dancer to enter the day of the feis. Some feisanna collect the door fee the day of and charge for each non dancer coming into the feis.
  • What level do I belong in?
    The solo levels are: Beginner Grade:A beginner is a competitor who is in their first year of dance. This period goes from September of a given year to the end of the following December, thus giving a beginner 15 months at this level. A Beginner must move into the Advanced Beginner category the next year. Advanced Beginner Grade: This is a competitor who is no longer a beginner. It is the next level and a dancer remains in this category until they win a 1st, 2nd or 3rd in a given dance. Wins in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place will advance the dancer to the Novice category in that particular dance in the new year. Novice Grade: This is a competitor who has completed the requirements of the Advanced Beginner level. A novice dancer stays in this level until he or she wins a 1st place in a dance and then will advance to the Open (Prizewinner) category in that particular dance. Open Grade (Prizewinner): A competitor who has completed the requirements of the Novice level. Preliminary and Open Championships. These levels come after Prizewinner. At this point a dancer is well seasoned to competition. The rule for Preliminary is to have won a first in a light and heavy dance not including the light jig. We require that the dancer has won in all four dances (Reel, Slip Jig, Treble Jig and Hornpipe.) A dancer moves onto Open Championship after two first places in one calendar year or after the second win in the next calendar year.
  • What dances are offered?
    In the Beginner level, Reel, Light Jig and Slip Jig are offered. Most dancers learn the Reel and Light Jig in the first year. In the Advanced Beginner level, Reel, Light Jig, Slip Jig, Treble Jig and Hornpipe are offered. The Treble Jig and Hornpipe is the traditional speed only. In the Novice level, Reel, Light Jig, Slip Jig, Treble Jig and Hornpipe are offered. The Treble Jig and Hornpipe are offered in both the traditional speed and slow or Oireachtas speed. In the Prizewinner level, Reel, Light Jig, Slip Jig, Treble Jig and Hornpipe are offered. The Treble Jig and Hornpipe are offered in both the traditional speed and slow or Oireachtas speed. (This is a New England rule. The Mid Atlantic [NY, NJ, PA] competitions only allow the slow speed.)
  • General Rules:
    Check with your teacher before entering any feis. This will avoid judging conflicts and entering the wrong dances. A dancer changes age and category on January first of every year. Your Feis Age is your age as of January 1 of that year. It does not change on your birthday. If your birthday is 2/2/04 your dance age for the whole calendar year of 2016 is age 11 or under 12. In addition to the “grade level” the competitions are separated by boys and girls and by age. With the exception of the Beginner level, you only move in the dance that you have won the necessary award. Each category is a little harder than the previous level.

We are here to support you and your child every “step” of the way. These are some F.A.Q.s that have arisen over the years, but if there are questions that you have which are not answered here please do not hesitate to ask. If you need an answer, someone else will too.

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