Below you will find the general rules & guidelines for when your dancer can move levels based on MT requirements. For all levels (except First Feis and Beginner 1), there must be 5 competitors in a competition in order for the dancer to advance to the next level.

First Feis and Beginner 1 Levels (2 steps, 2 at a time)

A First Feis dancer is a dancer who is competing in a feis for the very first time. Once a dancer competes in a First Feis competition (Light Jig, Reel, or Slip Jig), he/she must move into Beginner 1 at the next feis. A Beginner must move into the Advanced Beginner/Beginner 2 category the next calendar year.  For dancers starting Beginner 1 after September 1, they may continue in Beginner 1 until December the next year.


MT School standards require dancers to win a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in a particular dance or feis for one-year time period before moving to Advanced Beginner.  Requirements:  beginner skirt, blouse, cape, soft shoes, bun wig, scrunchie and bow, spankies, poodle socks.  Earrings cannot be worn by dancers U10 and younger.  


Advanced Beginner/Beginner 2 (2 steps, 2 at a time)

A dancer who has been dancing for more than one year and who has not won a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in Advanced Beginner.  A dancer remains in Advanced Beginner until he/she wins 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in a particular dance.  A dancer can advance to Novice only in the dance(s) he/she has won 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, and must move up no later than January 1st of the next year in the relevant dances. 


Requirements: beginner skirt, blouse, cape or blue school dress, soft shoes, hard shoes, wig, headband (if full wig) or blue scrunchie and white bow (if bun wig), spankies, poodle socks.

Novice (2 steps, 2 at a time)

A dancer who has won 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in a dance in Advanced Beginner must move into Novice in that particular dance the next year.  A dancer who wins 1st in Novice in a particular dance may advance to Prizewinner and must move into Prizewinner in that dance no later than January 1st of the next year. 


Requirements: blue school dress with matching headband until qualified for solo dress*.  If wearing bun wig, blue scrunchie and white bow.  Please email Meghan when you are qualified and interested in purchasing a solo costume.  Whether it is a used dress at a feis or off dance-again.com, or you're considering buying a brand new dress custom made, it is imperative that you consult Meghan before purchase.  Dresses cannot be purchased to be worn at competitions and shows without Meghan’s permission. 

*Dancers who are Novice in all dances and have placed 1st in one soft shoe and one hard shoe dance are qualified to earn a solo dress. 

Prizewinner (2 steps, 2 at a time)

A dancer who has previously won a 1st in Novice in a particular dance. 


Requirements: Solo dress strongly encouraged for Prizewinner competitions. See note above regarding solo costumes.   

Preliminary Championship

A dancer who wins 1st place in each of the Prizewinner dances (reel, slip jig, treble jig, and hornpipe) can move into Preliminary Championships with teacher’s permission. In this level, dancers compete three steps of either Reel/Treble Jig, Reel/Hornpipe or Slip Jig/Treble Jig depending on the age. Dancers may also compete in a set round depending on the feis. 


Requirements:  Solo dress required. 

Open Championship

A dancer who wins two 1st place awards in PC in one calendar year must move on to Open Championship the following year, or as soon as the second win is achieved, in any age category, in the following year. Dancers with two 1st place awards in PC in one calendar year may move earlier with teacher permission. In this level, dancers compete three steps of either Reel/Hornpipe or Slip Jig/Treble Jig depending on the age. Dancer's will also compete in a set round.

Requirements: Solo dress required. 

Feis Age

Your child’s feis age is determined by her age as of January 1st of the present year.  For example, if a dancer is 8 years old on January 1st and will be turning 9 on January 2nd, he/she


will dance in the Under 9 category for the entire year.  If you are 8 on January 1st, the feis system considers you 8 up to, and including December 31st.  The Under 9 category includes anyone who will be turning 9 on any date during the calendar year.  A dancer remains in the same age group for the entire year and does not move to the next age group once he/she has had a birthday.  No one changes age groups until January 1st of the following year. 


How Are Irish Dance Competitions Judged?

A judge marks scores for each dancer’s technique, timing, poise, and presentation, and then awards placements proportionate to the number of entries and to the degree of proficiency shown.  Judging is somewhat subjective, and results will vary.

Basic Irish dance skills include (but are not limited to):

  • Good timing (meaning the dance movements match the rhythm of the music)

  • Pointed toes with arched feet, and toes out

  • Legs crossed (so that it looks like one knee is hiding behind the other), and legs turned out (so that it looks like the feet are pointed away from each other)

  • Upright upper body carriage with arms straight at the dancer’s sides, chin level, eyes forward and shoulders back

  • Graceful and energetic movement, including high elevation on the toes and snappy legs which kick the dancer’s bum if crossing from behind to in front or vice versa

  • Well-executed jumps, which incorporate all of the above principles, and an overall sense of “lift” throughout a dance

  • Confident and pleasant affect (smile!)

For each competition, a dancer must perform two steps in sequence, except for Preliminary and Open Championship who will dance two rounds with three steps in a sequence and a set round. Competitors will dance two or three at a time, and will typically be lined up next to dancers from other schools. Therefore, competitors will not be performing the same steps as the dancer(s) next to them on stage. 


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