This will be your child's first experience in competition. The very first dance they are taught is the jig. This dance is the most traditional of all the dances and will be used in performance and competition. They may even find themselves dancing a step or two of the jig at a wedding or party 20-30 years from now!
Figure Dancing (Team Dancing) will be introduced to your dancer first in their beginner class. We will incorporate some traditional ceilies into their class curriculum once they have learned a few basic moves needed for these more intricate dances.
Figure dancing includes, not only footwork, but also arm work and choreography. It promotes teamwork and cooperation among the dancers and coaches. Team dancing is offered at all levels of competition. It is also a key element in our performances. Teams start out in smaller groups of three or four dancers and progress to eight and sixteen member teams.
All dancers will be given the opportunity to learn these dances. Your child may even be chosen for a competitive team dance. There are several criteria for forming a competitive team: dancers are excelling at the basic hop 2-3's, sevens and jump overs needed for the dance, they meet the correct age requirement, and their height corresponds well with 2-3 other dancers at the same age and ability level..
It is important to note that not all dancers will be asked to participate in a competitive team dance in the first few years. As your student develops, figure dancing opportunities will arise.
A feis is the shortened name for regional competitions. In Gaelic, a feis or feisanna is a festival or gathering. Dancers are welcome and encouraged to compete starting in the spring or summer of their first year (after about nine months of lessons). These competitions give the dancers some additional goals and incentives for continued practice.
There's a feis in just about every city across the United States and Canada . Nearby there is a Memphis Feis (May), Louisville Feis (June) and Marietta Feis (February), to name a few. There is a full list of this year's competitions posted on the bulletin board calendar in the lobby.
As competition time approaches, Feis classes are offered to help interested students get prepared. There are many levels of competition, however you do not need to worry about these just yet. Here is a brief explanation just in case you hear these mentioned. Please request the competition section of the handbook when you are ready to compete.
The Oireachtas (pronounced oh-ROCK-tahs) is the regional qualification round for the World Championships. As Nashvillians, we compete at the Southern Region Oireachtas held annually the first weekend in December.
The North American Championships are the next level of competition. Only the top solo and team dancers from the Oireachtas are eligible to compete at this level. Held over the July 4 th weekend, this competition is also a qualification site for the World Championships.
Held in the spring, the World Championships is the most elite of all competitions. In the world of Irish dance, it is comparable to the Olympics. Dancers must place in the top five to ten in their age group or team category in order to be eligible to participate. Traditionally, this competition has been held in Ireland. At the 2004 Southern Region Oireachtas our first dancer qualified for the 2005 World Championships where she competed in April, 2005. We know that many will follow in her path.