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How Irish Dancing Competitions work

Irish dancing suits

Getting started with Irish dancing

In CRDM Irish dancing (Cumman Rince De Mheasa) there are four levels to compete at. Beginner A, Beginner B, Intermediate and Open.

Open is the highest level and beginner A is the lowest. In other Irish dancing associations like CRLG and ORNC there are different levels. Cumman Rince De Mheasa is Irish for Organisation of Goodwill. In Irish, the levels are Bun, Tus, Mean and Ard. Bun for beginner A, Tus for beginner B, Mean for Intermediate and Ard for Open.

Three good Irish dancing schools are: St John’s Irish dancers, Amy-Leigh Irish Dance Academy and Canon Irish dance. These are all in our local area. An Irish dancing competition is called a Feis.


In CRDM the Beginner A and B wear their dance school’s costume and Intermediate and Open wear there custom or second hand dress or suit. Dancers wear lots of makeup from blush and eye liner to eye shadow and fake tan. Well, the girls do anyway! The girls also wear wigs. There are two types of wigs: bun wigs and full wigs.

We have two types of shoes in Irish dancing, soft shoes and hard shoes. With soft shoes your dances are more graceful and are mostly about movement of the legs. Whereas, hard shoes are more about making noise with your feet. Soft shoes are often compared to ballet shoes but soft shoes are black and not pink. Hard shoes are often compared to tap shoes but they don’t have a metal tip.

red irish dancing dress

How they are judged

Irish dancing competitions are judged by points. In a Grades Feis you have different placing for each dance since they all have separate points. However, in Prelim and Open Championships the points for each dance are added together.

Everyone gets a medal even if they come last except in Open Championships and Prelim Championships where they only place half of the dancers. You have numbers and they call you out in reverse order to collect your prize. If you are in the top 5 dancers you get a podium place!

By Nieve Dyas 5c


Blog Club is held on a Monday evening and is a group of about 20 pupils from Riverview Junior School who choose their own content and with the help of the teachers, create blog posts for you to read.

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