Feis Levels Explained

Which FEIS LEVEL Should My Child Dance In?

Keep track of your Dancer's scores and placements from the past year's feiseanna. Once you have those, compare them to the rules below! 

Grade Category Definitions & Rules:

Beginner: A beginner is a competitor who has not taken a full year of Irish Dance lessons, thereby giving beginners a full year with such status. A Beginner must move into the Advanced Beginner category for the next year.

Advanced Beginner: An Advanced Beginner who wins 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place will advance to the Novice category in that particular dance.

Novice: A Novice dancer who wins a 1st place in a dance will advance to the Open (Prizewinner) category in that particular dance. In addition, if there are twenty or more dancers, a dancer who wins 1st place or 2nd place in a dance will advance to the Open/Prizewinner category in that particular dance. (Dec. 2012)

Open (Prizewinner): A competitor who does not qualify as a Beginner, Advanced Beginner or Novice. (see “Novice” for Prizewinner qualifications).

NOTE: The status of the dancer does NOT change unless there are five or more dancers in a competition.

Competitors have the option to remain in the same category for the remainder of the Feis year (until the following January 1st).

After entries have been closed, in any competition where five or more boys are entered, the feis committee will run a separate competition for these boys.

A feis committee may only combine two consecutive calendar year age groups (within that grade only) when fewer than five (5) competitors are entered in either age group, with the exception of the oldest age group listed.

Championship Level Definitions & Rules:

A) Preliminary Championships are open to those who, at any NAFC recognized Feis, have:

1. Placed 1st in both an Open (Prizewinner) light and heavy shoe competition; and

2. Never won 1st, 2nd or 3rd in Open Championship.

B) A dancer who wins two (2) first place preliminary championship awards in one calendar year will move on to Open Championship the following year (as of Jan 1); if the second first-place win does not occur in the same feis year as the first win, as soon as the second win is achieved, in any age category, the dancer must move up to open championship level immediately. Only in the case of a back-to-back Feiseanna (successive days) the first-place win in the first Feis will not change the dancer’s status for the second Feis.

C) A dancer in a preliminary championship is required to perform a light shoe dance (reel or slip jig for ladies and reel only for men) and a hard shoe dance. A Feis can opt to offer either (a) a set dance) or (b) a jig/hornpipe or (c) both a set dance and jig/hornpipe

D) Boys and Girls will be combined in preliminary championships –Please note the separation policy involving five or more boys

E) Preliminary Championship competitions must be offered separately in the syllabus for the minimum required age groups, yet the feis committee may combine an age group with the next higher age groups if there are fewer than 5 competitors entered in the lower age group. A feis committee is not permitted to combine dancers from one preliminary championship age group with any age group which is more than one age group higher than the age group in which the dancers are entered.

NOTE: Placing in a Regional or National Oireachtas does NOT change the status of a competitor. If after competing for two full feis years at the Open Championship level, a dancer has not placed first, second or third, he/she may opt to return to Preliminary Championship status.

Irish Dance Music Speeds

When dancers practice at home it is important that they use music that is the correct speed. When we perform or compete the musicians use a metronome to ensure they are playing at an appropriate speed for dancers. Below we list the different levels Burke Connolly dancers are in and the dances and speed of music they will need for practicing. Happy practicing! 

Visit our Spotify page for easy access to our Burke Connolly practice playlist: CLICK HERE

Level 1 (Beginner)

  • Reel: 122
  • Light Jig: 115

Level 2 (Beginner 2)

  • Reel: 122
  • Light Jig: 115
  • Slip Jig (Beginner/Novice): 122

Level 3 (Advanced Beginner)

  • Reel: 122
  • Light Jig: 155
  • Slip Jig (Beginner - Novice): 122
  • Fast/Traditional Hornpipe: 138
  • Fast/Traditional Treble Jig: 92
  • Traditional Set - St.Patrick's Day: 94

Level 4 (Novice - Prizewinner)

  • Reel: 113
  • Slip Jig: 113
  • Treble Jig: 73
  • Hornpipe: 113
  • St.Patrick's Day: 94
  • Job of Journey Work: 138

Level 5 & 6 (Championships)

  • Reel: 113
  • Slip Jig: 113
  • Treble Jig: 73
  • Hornpipe: 113
  • Traditional Set - St.Patrick's Day: 94
  • Traditional Set - Three Sea Captains: 96
  • Traditional Set - King of the Ferries: 130
  • Non-Traditional Set - Three Sea Captains: 71 (School Specific)
  • Non-Traditional Set - Blackthorn Stick: 69 (School Specific)
  • Non-Traditional Set - The Piper: 110 (School Specific)
  • Non-Traditional Set - Kilkenny Races: 110 (School Specific)




WATER. We dance non-stop the entire class.  Please ensure you have plenty of water :)  No sport drinks or glass bottles.

DANCE SHOES.  Beginner dancers need "Soft Shoes" for class.  Advanced dancers need soft shoes and hard shoes.  See the links below to order your soft shoes :)

WHITE SOCKS. "Poodle Socks" (info below) are the traditional Irish Dance Socks that our ladies wear at class. Men can wear white sport socks to class.  Link for poodle socks are below.  At competitions and performances, Ladies wear opaque black tights, and men wear black dress socks.

FITNESS TOPS & BOTTOMS. We need to be able to see the dancer's knees & posture.  Dancers are encouraged to wear their Burke Connolly T-shirt & black shorts or fitted leggings to class. 
HAIR should be tied back and away from the face.