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My Dancer wants to!

"Is my Dancer ready to do a competition?" 

"What do I need to do next?"

"What do they need?"

"The entry form is so confusing..."


All common things I hear! It's okay. It does get easier, but here is my guide to help as best I can. It's okay to still be confused... that's why I'm here. Come and talk to me! 

Firstly: Feis (Pron Fesh) = Competition

How Do I Know if my Dancer is Ready?

Tiny Tots and Beginners

Nearly all competitions have a section called "Dance to the Music", or something similar. This section is for a dancer who does not yet have a full beginner dance ready to dance in a competition. For these dancers, it's all about a positive stage experience. They usually will receive a prize and the audience gets involved (clapping) whilst dancing. If Leanne is at the Feis, she will also be on stage with the dancers. Dancers in this category will need dancing shoes and socks, which can be purchased from our online shop. Leanne also likes the dancer to wear either our leotard stage uniform, or our registration tee-shirt with a black skirt or shorts. 

Feisin' for the First Time

Once your dancer is ready to feis, get excited! Feising is so fun and so rewarding. 

Leanne will advise your dancer in class once they have a dance fully complete and are ready to Feis. 

All upcoming Feis Entry Forms can be found here. I advise you to come in and chat to Leanne about what to enter. Each form is always different, and yes, it is SO confusing. 

Some things to make it a little easier for you. 

1. All McGrath Dancers are required to wear our school leotard costume, dancing socks and shoes for Feiseanna. You do not need, and are not allowed one of those fancy dresses in Beginners or Primary. The full outfit can be purchased in our online shop and pick up is at the studio. It can take some time for outfits to arrive a tthe studio as they are ordered on request. Hair is half up, half down, a neat pony tail, or gelled for the gents. No hair in the dancers face please. NO MAKE UP!

2. All competing dancers (not dance to the music) are required to be nationally registered. This registration is annual and your registration number is required on entry forms. This can be done here.

3. The Novice Section is for dancing in a competition for the very first time. After novice you move to beginners. Leanne will advise you when your dancer is ready for the next level...again, bring the form in so I can help you fill it out! (I told you...confusing). 

4. No make up allowed! Period. Not until your dancer is in Elementary level and over 10. 

More Info

Basic info for a feis

1. Timetable information will be provided by the Feis host usually a week prior to the event. 

2. Always arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the competition start time. If a competition is running early, events can begin early also. 

3. Make sure socks are clean, laces are tied and wedgies are pulled out! 

4. Going up on stage can be scary...always take your dancer to the toilet before getting called side stage. 

5. When you arrive at the venue, you will collect a program and a number to pin on your dancer....don't forget a safety pin! 

6. Beginner and Primary sections can be filmed.... DO IT! once you reach the next level, no filming allowed. 

7. FUN! It is about fun. Please no pressure, harsh words, etc. Encouragement and High Fives are welcome at this school. If you want to be more strict with your beginner dancer, this is not the right school for you. I will not tolerate unacceptable behaviour. 

8. Dancers will always receive a prize and Leanne loves seeing and being in pictures with them. Chase me, take one and text it to me. 

Elementary and Beyond

Feis entries start to get a little easier at this point, I promise. Trust your dancer, they do know what they are doing, but still run it past me until your dancer is only in Open. Your dancer may now be ready for bigger things such as States, Australian International Oireachtas and the National Championships. Leanne will invite your dancer to be involved in these events. 

Solo Costumes

We can now start the hunt for a solo costume. Think about budget and colours you like. Costumes can range in price SO much. Literally from a few hundred dollars to thousands. The cheaper they are, the harder they are to on sell, and the more dated they are. However, we will always find something to suit each budget and level of dancer. A number of facebook pages below to start scrolling and seeing what you like. 

Feis Dress Sales

Australian 2nd Hand Costumes

Irish Dance Dresses/waistcoats for sale

Irish Dance Dress Resale North America

Do not buy a dress without input from Leanne....this is SO important! 


Wigs for this level are now a thing. Yay or ugh?!?! Well, ask me, yay... no hair curling like in 'my dance days'. But a wig can be challenging until it's practised. If your dancer is in high school, I recommend getting them really involved and having them do it, or at least help. 

Here are two You Tube clips to help you get started. 

Hair Preparation

Putting the Rat, I mean Wig on!

Wigs can be purchased at feiseanna if there are vendors, or online. Leanne also does some bulk ordering when there is a few people needing them. There is a wig colour chart at the studio. When it's time for a wig, pop in and lets discuss next steps. 


Your dancer is really now putting the whole package together. With that, comes stage make up. Our senior dancers are really good at makeup if you aren't. They are also really poor! $10 can go a long way if you need help. In all seriousness, think of yourself getting really done up for your own wedding....go a little harder and we are now at stage make up. Do it for every feis..... practice, practice, practice. 

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