Age Categories: How does Digital Feis choose acceptable age ranges?

Digital Feis begins with these age categories for each feis:

  • Under 6
  • Under 10
  • Under 13
  • Under 17
  • Under 21
  • Under 25
  • 25 & Over

When we’re gathering entries, our database puts everyone into one of these categories.

Our Head Adjudicator can also see individual ages as of January 1. She looks through each competition to see if any age categories should be split or combined based on number of competitors.

Though any dancer with a score of 80 or above can advance in Digital Feis regardless of competition size, outside organizations require a certain amount of dancers in each competition. We try to combine competitions for the benefit of the dancer — but we need to be careful about combining too large of an age range for younger dancers.

Under the 18–21 Range

Our rule of thumb is to take the age of the oldest dancer, and subtract the age of the youngest. For Beginner and Primary, if that range is 5 years or less, the competition can be combined. If the age range if more than 5 years, the competitions stay separate. For Novice and up, the range may but is not required to be extended to 7 years. Updated September 22, 2019.

Over the 18–21 Range

As adult dancers are often piled together regardless of age, our 5-year rule of thumb doesn’t apply to adults. However, if we were to receive a significant number of entries from adult dancers per competition, we would still assess the need to split age groups. Dancing when you’re 20 is quite different than when you’re 60!

Dancing with Digital Feis: Advice for CRN Dancers

We’ve had some great questions lately, and I’d like to clarify a few best practices for the CRN dancers joining us this year.

Level Comparisons

Digital Feis levels generally match CRN levels:

  • Beginner & Bún Grád
  • Primary & Ullmhúchán Grád
  • Novice & Meán Grád
  • Prizewinner & Árd Grád
  • Champion & Craobh Grád

If Meán Grád dancers are at a point where they are dancing Árd Grád steps while they transition through the levels, it’s up to the teacher whether to compete in Novice or Prizewinner for Digital Feis.

Dancing in One Level for Digital Feis

CRN has certain required choreography for their lower levels. In North America if not elsewhere, CRN dancers can compete their reel, for example, in both Bún and Ullmhúchán. This is because the choreography is different in each grade.

Because Digital Feis does not have required choreography and multi-level competition is not universal, we request that all dancers focus on the level that a dancer is working to advance.

Length of Dances

CRN dancers often go beyond the required bars for Digital Feis dances. CRN dancers can submit their entire dances, but here’s how we keep it fair: dancers will only be scored on their required bars. Any dancing after that will not be scored, but can receive adjudication comments. This keeps everyone on an even playing field, but gives CRN dancers feedback on their entire dance.

How this benefits CRN dancers: CRN dancers will not be docked points for stamina issues near the end of their dance, when they are often doing nearly double the amount of steps that are required.

How this benefits everyone: All dancers will be adjudicated on the same number of bars, adjudicating all dancers equally.

Number Cards

Dancers will request a number card once. They will always use the same number, for every feis. Registering for a number card is free.

Entering a Feis

Dancers will only pay when they enter a feis. You will see a button on the Current Feis page when the entry form is open. Payment is currently through Paypal.

Sending Results to CRN

Update on August 21, 2019: Be sure to send Digital Feis results to CRN within 5 days of receiving them.

Familiarity with CRN

Ashley Middleton and Charmaine Forbes both have training in CRN’s style and have access to Oide Damhsa, the CRN céilí book. Sharon Stidham grew up dancing in a very similar style. The team is supportive of all dancers and continues to learn about each organization’s style as Irish dancing continues to evolve.

Contact us for additional clarifications

Do you have more questions? Please contact us at hello@digitalfeis.co with anything else we can help you with.

Light Jig now available for Prizewinner dancers; traditional set options expanded

In order to assist dancers in four-level organizations reach Championship, we are adding light jig to our Prizewinner options.

Also, we have expanded the level options for the traditional set dances to better suit open platform dancers. As follows:

  • Beginner: St Patrick’s Day, The Blackbird
  • Primary: St Patrick’s Day, The Blackbird, Job of Journeywork, Jockey to the Fair
  • Novice: St Patrick’s Day, The Blackbird, Job of Journeywork, Jockey to the Fair, Garden of Daisies, King of the Fairies, White Blanket, Three Sea Captains
  • Prizewinner: Job of Journeywork, Jockey to the Fair, Garden of Daisies, King of the Fairies, White Blanket, Three Sea Captains, The Hunt (WIDA), The Humours of Bandon (CRN)
  • Champion: Garden of Daisies, King of the Fairies, White Blanket, Three Sea Captains, The Hunt (WIDA), The Humours of Bandon (CRN)

Rulebook Update: Advance by rank as well as score

There are now two ways to advance in Digital Feis: by score and by ranking. We recommend but do not require a dancer to advance by score. Advancement by ranking is based on a balance of the requirements from research into all open platform organizations.

Using scores for advancement

An important aspect of Digital Feis is our emphasis on raw adjudication scores and comments, not just Irish points, for advancement. Dancers earn scores out of 100; these scores are used to advance levels. Dancers are first assessed in Knowledge, Timing, Lower Body Technique, Upper Body Technique, and Presentation, and are given a score out of 20 in each category.

  • 18–20, Outstanding. I have mastered this category, for this dance, at this level.
  • 15–17, Strong Area. I am accomplished at this; it is one of my strengths.
  • 12–14, Satisfactory. I am doing a good job of learning this, and will keep improving.
  • 7–11, Weak Area. I am having trouble with this right now, but I am looking forward to getting better.
  • 0–6, Incomplete or inappropriate. Used when a dancer is dancing unsafely, when a dance is not the required length, or the dancer has insisted on competing in an inappropriate level after being warned.

Using ranking for advancement

  • First Place: Beginner, Primary, and Novice dancers must have 7 dancers in a competition to advance with a first place.
  • Second Place: Beginner, Primary, and Novice dancers must have 10 dancers in a competition to advance with a second place.
  • Third Place: Beginner, Primary, and Novice dancers must have 15 dancers in a competition to advance with a third place.
  • Prizewinner dancers must earn a first place in the following dances in order to advance to Champion, which must have at least 7 dancers in them: two soft shoe dances of contrasting rhythms, two hardshoe dances, and one traditional set.

Teachers and dancers may choose to advance a dancer in the way that most benefits the dancer’s progress and education. We hope this helps our dancers advance in the way they need.

For more Digital Feis rules, see our Rulebook.

Advancing with Digital Feis: By the Numbers

Digital Feis suggests dancers move up a level when they earn an 80 in that dance. An 80 is the adjudicator saying “Yes, this dancer is ready to advance.”

That’s not the only way to advance in Irish dancing. In fact, it’s unusual! Most Irish dancing organizations require a certain placement (first, second, or third) and a certain number of dancers in a competition.

Digital Feis wants to make sure it’s possible to advance with our results, based on the rules of your open platform organization. We’ll start with numbers.

  • Right now, we want at least 7 dancers in all grade solo competitions. This includes Beginner, Primary, Novice, and Prizewinner. This meets most open platform minimums for advancing with first place.
  • Long term, we want at least 15 dancers in these competitions. This meets most open platform minimums for advancing with first, second, and third place.

Because of this, Digital Feis will merge age groups where developmentally appropriate to form qualifying competitions. We will not merge children’s and adult competitions.

Let’s take a look at each organization’s basic requirements. Continue…