Along with the performances and shows in Irish dancing, there exists a

whole other side - the competitive side!


A local competition in Irish dancing is called a feis (pronounced fesh/plural feiseanna) which is Gaelic for a cultural festival. The competitions at a feis are divided by age and level spanning from Beginner through Open Champion.


To be called a feis the competition must include one or more of the following along with Irish dancing:









Throughout the year there are several feiseanna in MA. To view a complete list please visit the: North American Feis Commission website.


About the MAJORS; Oireachtas/ Nationals/ Worlds


When an Irish dancing teacher believes a student is ready he or she can send a dancer to regionals which are called the Oireachtas (O-ROCK-TUS). Each dancer must compete in his or her own geographical region unlike the average feis. The U.S. is divided up into five regions: Western, Southern, Mid-Atlantic, New England, and Mid-America.


The “dream” of Oireachtas is to recall and then place high enough to be able to go to Nationals or Worlds. However simply getting to go to the Oireachtas is an honor of its own. To recall means after the dancer has danced a hard shoe and a soft shoe round their score was among the highest of their age group. (Unlike a feis the Oireachtas is not divided by level just ages.) Once recalled the dancer will dance their set dance alone in front of the three judges. The set dance will be the deciding factor in their total score. A certain percentage of the recalled dancers will then qualify for either Nationals or the World Championships.


The North American Nationals is a five-day competition held at the end of June or early July. It is another chance for those who did not qualify at their Oireachtas to have another chance to qualify for the Worlds. Along with the North American Nationals there is the All Ireland Championships & the Great Britain Championships which are also qualifying competitions for the Worlds.


The World Irish Dancing Championships (Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne) is an eight-day competition typically held right around Easter. Dancers come from all over the World to try and win a world title. The Worlds has the honor and the status of going to the Olympics.

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