Competition Rules

Competition Rules/Code of Practice



Effective from January 2016


1.0 Core Rules for all Feiseanna

1.1 CRDM reserves the right to refuse entries from any competitor’s/dance schools.

1.2 Feis organisers retain the right to refuse admission to their event and may remove any person from the venue should the occasion arise.

1.3 Entries will only be accepted from teachers of CRDM or those on the approved Visitors list.   Entries will not be accepted from Parents/Dancers.

1.4 The use of flash, video digital or motion picture cameras is strictly prohibited except during presentations. This includes the use of mobile/cell phones. This is in accordance with Child Protection Guidelines.

1.5 Under NO circumstances is there any smoking in an arena. When smoking outside please place waste in the bins provided.

1.6 Under NO circumstances is alcohol permitted at our events. If a person is found consuming alcohol in the hall the teacher of the perpetrator will be held responsible. If a person cannot abide by the rules set out by CRDM they will be asked not to attend any events that are run by CRDM.

1.7 Parents will be held responsible for the behaviour of their children. Children should not be allowed to run around the venue or have raised voices.

1.8 By attending any event that is being run by CRDM, parents, dancers and teachers are agreeing to abide by the rules of the organization, the social media rules, the code of conduct and the code of ethics.


2.0 Non Sporting Behaviour

2.1 When results are being called dancers must applaud every competitor.

2.2 No shouting, booing or catcalling up to the stage.

2.3 No bullying by fellow competitors or their supporters on or off stage. The following procedure will take place if a person is found to be bullying a dancer:

  • For a 1st offence a verbal warning will be given and said person will be asked to leave the venue.
  • For a 2nd offence a written warning will be given.
  • If a 3rd offence occurs the offender will no longer be welcome to participate or attend any events run by CRDM.

At all times, CRDM requires all teachers, competitors and their supporters to conduct themselves in a manner befitting the classes, the organisation and the culture they represent.


3.0 Adjudicators

3.1 Only the CRDM teachers may approach an Adjudicator.

3.2 In matters pertaining to the dance, the Adjudicators decision is final.

3.3 Bumps will be judged at the Adjudicators discretion.

    • Dancers found to be bombarding (deliberately bumping) another competitor on stage will be marked down considerably by the Adjudicator.


4.0 Musicians

4.1 Musician employed for an event will be solely under the direction of the Feis Committee.

4.2 Speeds for solo dances and traditional set dances will be set out by CRDM.


5.0 General Rules

5.1 Feis organisers retain the right to employ additional Adjudicators on the day of the Feis to ensure the smooth running of the event.

5.2 Feis organisers will provide a safe floor for children to dance on. No responsibility will be held should injury occur while competing or at any other time.

5.3 Feis organisers are not responsible for the loss or damage to personal property in the venue.

5.4 Feis organisers should make the syllabus for the Feis available a minimum of 4 weeks prior to the event being held. Entries should be sent to the Feis organiser 2 weeks prior to the Feis being held. All entry fees are to be paid in advance. Any changes to entries should be lodged with the Feis Committee 1 week prior to the Feis. No entries will be accepted without payment.

5.5 Parents/Dancers are not permitted to approach the Feis Committee to query results. Queries must be made through the dancer’s teacher who may then approach the Feis Committee.

5.6 Dancers may be asked to provide proof of age at any time. Dancers should ensure they have a copy of their passport or birth certificate with them at every Feis.

5.7 From the 1st April 2009 any persons who have undertaken any part of the Irish Dancer Teachers Diploma (regardless of organisation) may not take part in any Feiseanna (solo or team dancing) that is run by CRDM.

5.8 If a person teaches Irish Dancing to any person, they are not permitted to compete in Feiseanna run by CRDM.

5.9 Any active dancers of CRDM are not permitted to set up a dancing class that has any connection with Irish Dancing.

5.10 Any dancer regardless of age is not permitted to consume alcohol the day of an event that they may  be competing in until the Feis is over and they are out of costume.


6.0 Costume Rules

6.1 Dancers must use the changing rooms provided at each Feis to change in and out of costumes.

6.2 Full costumes must be worn at all times while dancing and for presentations. Dancers must wear either a costume or skirt/trousers and top with sleeves.

6.3 Costumes/Skirts must be of an appropriate length so as not to cause offence or embarrassment. Skirt length should be no shorter than mid-thigh at the back of the leg. Kick pants should never be on display.

6.4 All competitors taking part in beginner A & B grades are not permitted to wear a solo costume. They must wear either a class costume or a skirt/trousers and top.

6.5 Dancers receiving results in the beginner grades must remain in their class costume for the duration of their results.

6.6 Competitors must wear either white bubble socks or black tights. Where tights are worn, they must be of a denier of not less than 70.

6.7 Dancers must wear appropriate footwear when they are dancing. Black leather/patent pumps for light dances and black treble shoes for heavy dances. Dancers are not permitted to wear coloured or diamante shoes whilst dancing . 

6.8 Buckles or elastic bands are not permitted on pumps/soft shoes.

6.9 The maximum dimensions for buckles on heavy shoes are 2 inches long by 1 inch wide.

6.10 Dancers should ensure that wigs, shawls, hair accessories and shoelaces are securely in place before they step on the floor to dance. Marks will be deducted if laces open or accessories fall off a dancer.


7.0 Competition Rules

7.1 Dancers must be ready to dancer 30 minutes prior to the scheduled time of their competition.

7.2 Dancers must dance under the age they are on the day of the Feis. If their age is not catered for they must dance in the next age group.

7.3 Once a competition has been called ALL dancers must go to the side of the stage. Dancers must report on time to compete (Penalty: disqualification from said competition).

7.4 Once a competition is closed no dancer is permitted to dance for any reason.

7.5 Teachers and team captains are responsible for their teams and should ensure that they are in position when the competition is announced.

7.6 The Feis Committee has the right to merge or cancel competitions on the day of the Feis.

7.7 If a dancer falls they will be allowed to re dance. They will be marked again on their 2nd performance.

7.8 If a dancer slips, they are to continue dancing and will be marked on this performance.

7.9  If a dancer enters and wins a competition that they should not have entered the prize will have to be returned and will be awarded to the correct dancer.

7.10 All Feiseanna will be run on the pickup system (regarding music). Dancers will stand in a line on stage and will step forward 2/3 at a time to dance the relevant amount of bars. There will be an 8 bar introduction between each set of dancers.

7.11 If there are more than 30 dancers in a competition, the competition may be split in 2. The groups will be determined by dates of birth.

7.12 Dancers are permitted to double up only once in figure dances. The guidelines are as follows:

  • 2 & 3 Hand Reels                                          1 Dancer may double up
  • 4 & 6 Hand Figures                                        2 Dancers may double up
  • 8 Hand Figures                                              3-5 Dancers may double up
  • Céilí & Show Dances                                     33% of the team may double up


8.0 Grades

8.1. Teachers/Dancers are to ensure that children are competing in the correct grade.

8.3. U/4 or Tiny Tots competitions are non-graded. Competitors U/5 and upwards are graded.

8.4. Unless there are 6 competitors in solo or figure competitions, the grade of the 1st prizewinner will not be affected. The Feis organizer will reflect this on their results sheet.

8.5. Dancers are only permitted to enter one age group for each dance in any grade.


9.0 Steps

9.1 The amount of bars danced in competitions are as follows:

    • Solo Competitions (except A Slip Jig)     32 bars
    • A Slip Jig                                                 24 bars
    • Traditional Set Dances                            Lead & Set on Right Foot Only
    • 2 & 3 Hand Figures                                 32 bars
    • A, B, Intermediate Awards                      32 bars
    • Preliminary Championships                    32 bars
    • Open Award                                            32 Bars (Age 5 & 6)
    • Open Award                                            40 Bars Reel & 32 Bars Jig (Age 7 & 8)
    • Open Championships                             40 bars Reel & 32 bars for Slip Jig/ Hornpipe / Treble Jig
    • World Championships                             40 bars Reel & Treble Jig

9.2 If a dancer stops at the correct amount of bars and the music continues to play the dancers will not have marks deducted.

9.3 If a dancer stops before dancing the required amount of bars or during a dance the Adjudicator will award the dancer zero marks.

9.4 All dancers performing in the A grades must dance basic A steps.

9.5 All dancers performing in the B grades must dance B steps i.e. skips, 123’s, sevens, hops, jump over, rocks, front clicks, points, single heels, jumps, stamp, toes (at the back no weight), kick/tip heel. No twirls, split jumps or clicks (other than front/through clicks) are permitted.

9.6 The steps danced in intermediate Light Jig and Single Jig must be no harder than the steps in grade A or B dances.

9.7 Traditional set dances must have traditional roots. CRDM accept different variations of traditional set dances. However, we do not permit the Molyneux versions.

9.8 The Rally Reel will be danced as one step down the line – right and left foot (unless otherwise stated).

9.9 No block, En Pointe, toe walking movements either stationery or moving are allowed to be performed by dancers up to and including the Age 11 age groups.

9.10 Dancers that are aged 11 are not permitted to execute En Pointe movements (stationery and moving) if they are competing in the age 12 age category


10.0 Awards/Championships

10.1 To compete in Awards/Championships dancers must take part in a minimum of 2 solo competitions first. (Exception to this rule is the Preliminary & Open Championships at the All Ireland and World Championships)

10.2 A, B, Intermediate Awards and Preliminary Championships are all confined to dancers of CRDM. Visitor Awards will be added to the syllabus for NON CRDM members.

10.3 A, B & Intermediate Solo & Figure Awards will be performed in front of 1 Adjudicator.

10.4 The A Award is for any dancer who has 3 or more solo dances in the A grades.

10.5 The B Award is for any dancer who has 2 or more solo dances in the B grades.

10.6 The Intermediate Award is for any dancer that has not attained 1st place in the Intermediate award, Preliminary or Open Championships.

10.7 If a dancer is awarded 1st place in the A, B or Intermediate Award they are not permitted to compete in that Award again and must move up to the next grade for the Award and solo version of the dance.

10.8 If a dancer is awarded 1st place in the A, B or Intermediate award where there are fewer than 6 competitors the dancer will be allowed to compete in the Award at the next Championship Feis provided they still meet the eligibility criteria.

10.9 The Preliminary Championship will be performed in front of 3 Adjudicators.  Preliminary Championships start at the age of 7

10.10 The winner of the Preliminary Championship will be open grade for both of the dances.

10.11 The Preliminary Championship is for any dancer who has never won an Open Championship.

10.12 A dancer may obtain 1st place in the Preliminary Championship 3 times before being deemed ineligible to participate in it again. If a dancer is awarded 1st place it is deemed as a win regardless of the number of competitors taking part. This also applies the Visitors Preliminary Championship.

10.13 The starting order of all Céilí and Open Championships will be drawn side stage by the competitors on   the day of the competition. Championships in the Age 5 &6 age categories are deemed Pre-Open Awards. They are judged under 1 Adjudicator.  They will perform 2 light dances Reel & Light Jig. If a dancer is awarded 1st place in an Open Award they will be open for the 2 dances they performed. Age 7 & 8 are Open Awards.  The dances will be a light and heavy round. They will be adjudicated by a panel of 3 adjudicators.  If the dancer wins this competition they will be eliminated from the preliminary championship and open for both of the solo dances. Age 7 & 8 preliminary championship will be Reel & Slip Jig or Light Jig. Championships in age groups age 9 and upwards are Open Championships (minimum of 2 dances). If a dancer is awarded 1st place in an Open Championship (regardless of the number in the competition) they will be open for all of their dances. They are no longer eligible to take part in the Intermediate Award or Preliminary Championship. Boys/Men may only take part in 1 Championship. 

10.14 From September 2014: Modern set dances may be danced from the age of 9 upwards.

10.15 Dancers may compete in more than 1 Award or Championship as long as they are not of the same grade.


Note: All dancers (regardless of organization) are required to qualify to be eligible to compete in the All Ireland and World Championships. If a dancer is entered for a Feis, has paid their fees but cannot compete for any reason this will not be considered as a qualifying Feis.


10.16 Dancers living in the islands of Ireland are required to compete in a minimum of 2 Feiseanna, Dancers living in the U.K. are required to compete in a minimum of 2 Feiseanna & Dancers living in the U.S.A. are required to compete in one of the designated R.TN. Championships


11.0 Céilí, Figure & Show Dance Competitions

11.1 Open Céilí, Figure and Show Dance competitions will be danced in front of a minimum of 3 Adjudicators.

11.2 All Céilí dances are to be taken from the book Ár Rince Foirne.

11.3 All schools are eligible to enter teams into the Figure competitions provided they meet the qualification   

           criteria which is: once a school participates and enters 50% of the class through the dance year in    

           figures, then the class qualifies for the All Irelands and Worlds figures.

11.4 There is no qualifying required for Inventions and Show Dances.

11.5 The guideline for the Figure Inventions are as follows:

    • The invention should be a modern interpretation of a céilí dance.
    • Footwork – only movements found in the figure book Ár Rince Foirne and those dances in A grades are permitted.
    • All hand and body movements are permitted.
    • No gymnastic movements are permitted e.g.: splits, cartwheels, handstands.
    • Music must be of Irish orientation with no vocals throughout.
    • Time Frame – must not exceed 5 minutes.
    • Teams may consist of a minimum of 6 or a maximum of 20 dancers.

11.6 The guidelines for Show Dance competition are as follows:

    • The Show Dance should portray a story through dance. A short story should be submitted for the presentation booklet.
    • All foot, hand and body movements are permitted.
    • The emphasis of the piece should be Irish Dancing.
    • Music of any orientation is permitted.
    • Time Frame – must not exceed 5 minutes.
    • Teams may consist of a minimum of 6 or a maximum of 25 dancers. 


Note: All Céilí teams (regardless of organisation) are required to qualify to be eligible to compete in the All Ireland and World Championships. If a team is entered for a Feis, has paid their fees but cannot compete for any reason this will not be considered as a qualifying Feis.

From the 1st September 2013 CRDM has introduced a visiting school’s policy.

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