Rulebook

Updated December 16, 2018. Light Jig is now available for Prizewinner. Traditional set options have been expanded for most levels.
Updated December 7, 2018. Privacy & Protection of Minors. Advancement by Ranking.


Participation & Privacy

    1. Open Platform: Digital Feis is open platform and therefore open to all interested dancers no matter their organizational affiliation. Digital Feis is not responsible or liable for dancers entering events not approved by their governing body.
    2. Dancers must only participate with the knowledge and permission of their teachers.
    3. Updated December 7, 2018. Privacy & Protection of Minors: Competitive rankings will be shared publicly on our website and social media, with dancer’s number, school, and country in a post-feis wrap-up video. No names, scores, or comments will be shared. If permission is not granted, a ranked dancer will be marked as [Privacy Requested]. Here is an example of the videos we create:

  1. Digital Feis does not require dancers to serve a formally defined suspension upon leaving or transferring to another Irish dance school. The resumption of competition is at the discretion of their new teacher and their new school’s organizational affiliation.
  2. Digital Feis or any other organizations affiliated with the same will not be held responsible for personal injury, property loss or damage. Submitting an entry implies agreement to this policy.

Adjudication

  1. All head adjudicators must have formal certifications from a recognized Irish dancing organization.
  2. Championship dancers will be judged by a minimum of two adjudicators. Final scores will be an average of all adjudicators’ scores.
  3. In matters pertaining to dance, including level placement, the adjudicator’s decision is final.

Age Categories

  1. Digital Feis welcomes dancers of all ages.
  2. Age groups are determined by age as of January 1st of the current year.
  3. The adjudication team has the right to adjust age groups based on number of entries into each competition for the dancers’ benefit. Standard age groups begin at Under 10, Under 13, Under 17, Under 21, Under 30, and 30 & Over but may be changed as necessary.

Solo Levels & Advancement

Structure of Levels

    1. Levels are Beginner, Primary, Novice, Prizewinner, and Champion. All levels are open to all ages.
    2. Dancers should enter the Digital Feis level that is most comparable to the level they compete in within their own organization (see illustration below). Independent dancers should choose the level they compete in most regularly. If dancers are uncertain about what constitutes their appropriate level, then they should consult their teacher or the Digital Feis adjudication team for an accurate assessment.
A color-coded illustration of how Digital Feis levels compare to most open platform organizations

  1. If a dancer or teacher decides their level and it’s evident during scoring that they should be placed lower or higher, it will be at the discretion of Digital Feis to place the dancer appropriately. If a dancer or their teacher insists on registering for a level clearly above or below the dancer’s actual standard after being warned not to do so, the dancer will be given all zeros and disqualified. Participation is at their own risk, as Digital Feis’s decisions are final, and fees will not be refunded due to this disqualification.
  2. If a dancer leaves competition for longer than two calendar years, then they may enter only one level lower than when they left. For those dancers who feel they should be competing at a higher level, a video of the dancer can be submitted to Digital Feis for evaluation of correct placement.

Scoring

  1. Dancers earn assessment scores out of 100; scores are used to advance levels.
  2. Dancers are first assessed in Knowledge, Timing, Lower Body Technique, Upper Body Technique, and Presentation.
  3. Dancers 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.

Advancement

Updated on December 7, 2018.

  1. There are two ways to advance in Digital Feis: by score and by ranking. Teachers and dancers may choose to advance a dancer in the way that most benefits the dancer’s progress and education. We highly 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.

By Score

  • Beginner, Primary, and Novice dancers must earn a score of 80 in a dance for that dance to advance a level. (For example, if you get an 80 in your Beginner reel, your reel is now in Primary. If you get an 84 in your Novice treble jig, your treble jig is now in Prizewinner.)
  • Prizewinner dancers must earn a score of 80 in two soft shoe dances of contrasting rhythms, two hardshoe dances, and one traditional set in order to advance to Championship.
  • Championship dancers demonstrate Mastery by achieving an average score of 90 or higher in 6 dances; one traditional set and one contemporary set are required.

By Ranking

  • 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.
  1. It is mandatory to advance a dance to the next level once a competitor earns high enough scores to do so. Dancers may not remain at the same level once placing out.
  2. Dancers who have advanced levels at live feiseanna may move up a Digital Feis level with teacher’s permission. Dancers should be well-prepared to compete in this higher level; once approved, dancers may not move back down a level.

Dance Requirements

  1. Competitors may dance any number and any type of dances within their level, according to the following list. See Traditional Set Dances for the available sets for each level.
    • Beginner: Reel, Light Jig, Single Jig, Slip Jig, Treble Jig, Hornpipe
    • Primary: Reel, Light Jig, Single Jig, Slip Jig, Treble Jig, Hornpipe, Traditional Sets
    • Novice: Reel, Light Jig, Single Jig, Slip Jig, Slow Slip Jig, Treble Jig, Hornpipe, Traditional Sets
    • Prizewinner: Reel, Light Jig, Slip Jig, Single Jig, Treble Jig, Hornpipe, Traditional Sets
    • Championship: Reel, Slip Jig, Treble Jig, Hornpipe, Traditional Sets, Contemporary Set
  2. Dancers who have transferred to a new school are not permitted to dance their previous teacher’s choreography, excluding traditional sets. Doing so will result in disqualification and a potential suspension from competition to be determined by the adjudication team.
  3. Toe stands are not permitted under Prizewinner and may not be performed by any dancer under 13 at any level.
  4. Dancers are subject to the following requirements concerning standard dance lengths. If a dancer stops and does not perform to the dance length requirement, they will receive an incomplete. If a dancer dances longer than the required bars, only the required bars will be judged.
    • Beginner: 32 bars
    • Primary: 32 bars
    • Novice: 32 bars
    • Prizewinner: 32 bars
    • Championship: 48 bars for reel and treble jig; 40 bars for slip jig and hornpipe
    • Traditional Sets: Dancers must dance the first step on both the right and left foot, and the first set on the right foot only (right and left is accepted from teachers whose organzations dance both, but in fairness only right foot will be judged).
    • Non-Traditional Sets: Dancers will dance the first step on both the right and left foot, and the first set on the right foot only, unless specified differently for a feis or Championship.

Dance Tempos

Tempos, counted in Beats Per Minute (BPM), should be as follows. Speeds in parentheses are preferred.

Dances Beginner Primary Novice Prizewinner Championship
Reel 112–124 112–122 112–116 112–116 (113) 112–116 (113)
Light Jig 112–116 112–116 112–116
Single Jig 116–124 116–124 116–124 116–120
Slip Jig 112–124 112–124 112–116 112–116 (113) 112–116 (113)
Slow Slip Jig 80–90 80–90 80–90
Treble Jig 85–96 85–96 72–96 72–76 (73) 72–76 (73)
Hornpipe 138–144 120–144 112–144 112–115 (113) 112–116 (113)
Treble Reel 115–120 115–120 115–120 115–120

Traditional Set Dances

Traditional set speeds are the following:

  • The Blackbird — 144
  • The Garden of Daisies — 138
  • The Hunt — 125
  • The Job of Journeywork — 138
  • Jockey to the Fair — 92
  • King of the Fairies — 124
  • Saint Patrick’s Day — 92
  • The Three Sea Captains — 92
  • The White Blanket — 124

Digital Feis accepts the following traditional sets for each level:

  • 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, The Humours of Bandon
  • Champion: Garden of Daisies, King of the Fairies, White Blanket, Three Sea Captains, The Hunt, The Humours of Bandon

Contemporary Set Dances

This list is not exhaustive. Digital Feis accepts all other organizations’ set dances.

Set dances are traditional Irish tunes whose set (second or “B” part) that has more than the usual 8 bars—often 12, 14, 15, or 16. Steps (the first or “A” part) may have 8 bars or might also have an unusual number of bars, such as 6 or 15.

Treble Jigs

  • The Blackthorn Stick
  • The Deep Green Pool
  • The Donegal Rambler
  • Down the Hill
  • The Drunken Gauger (The Funny Tailor)
  • Fiddler ’Round the Fairy Tree
  • Humours of Bandon
  • The Hurling Boys
  • Hurry the Jug
  • Is the Big Man Within? (Slip Jig/Treble Jig)
  • Miss Brown’s Fancy
  • The Orange Rogue
  • Planxty Drury
  • Planxty Hugh O’Donnell
  • Planxty Irwin
  • Rub the Bag
  • The Seafarer
  • The Storyteller
  • The Wandering Musician

Hornpipes

  • Ace & Deuce of Pipering
  • The Battle of Arklow
  • The Blue Eyed Rascal
  • The Bold Deserter
  • Bonaparte’s Retreat
  • The Cattle Jobber
  • The Downfall of Paris
  • The Four Masters
  • The Galtee Hunt
  • Kilkenny Races
  • The Little Heather/Heathy Hill
  • The Lodge Road
  • Madame Bonaparte
  • O’Carolan’s Concerto
  • The Piper thro’ the Meadow Straying
  • Planxty Davis
  • The Princess Royal
  • The Rambling Rake
  • Rodney’s Glory
  • The Roving Peddler
  • Woods’ Lamentation
  • Youghal Harbour

Team & Freestyle Dances

  1. Two-Hand and Three-Hand Figures must be between 48 and 64 bars in length, must contain traditional Céilí elements, and must be danced to traditional Irish music.
  2. Two-hand figure, three-hand figure, four-hand Céilí, six-hand Céilí, eight-hand Céilí, solo freestyle, group freestyle, and dance drama categories will be minimally broken into the following age groups:
    • Under 13
    • Under 18
    • 18 and Over
  3. Proper placement in age categories in the two-hand figure, three-hand figure, four-hand Céilí, six-hand Céilí, eight-hand Céilí, solo freestyle, group freestyle, and dance drama categories will be decided based on the average age of the dancers.
  4. Céilí dances will be done in accordance with Ár Rincí Fóirne, Ár Rincí Céilí and Oide Damhsa. Traditional céilí and figure dancing from other books (such as Rinnce na h’Eireann, A Handbook of Irish Dances, or Rinci Foirne Caillte) may be accepted; prior notice will be required in order to give our adjudicators time to learn the dance. Notice of 10 days is suggested.
  5. The Céilí must only include the lead round, the body and the first time through the first figure. All progressive Céilí dances must be danced once through and conclude with the movement that would be the progression to the next group or couple. For Sweets of May dancers must perform up to the end of the second figure, and for The Three Tunes dancers must dance up through the hook and chain.
  6. When lining up in Céilí dances, the leading top couple must have their back to the judge. Number cards should be pinned to the back of the dancer in the position of the “gentleman.”
  7. Solo freestyle dances must be a minimum length of one and a half minutes (1:30) and a maximum length of three and a half minutes (3:30). Dancing longer than the allotted time will result in loss of points.
  8. Group freestyle dances must be a minimum length of two and a half minutes (2:30) and a maximum length of four and a half minutes (4:30). Dancing longer than the allotted time will result in loss of points.
  9. For those competing in dance drama, a minimum of six dancers and maximum of 24 dancers may participate. The dance drama piece must be a minimum length of five minutes (5:00) and a maximum length of seven minutes (7:00). A school may only enter two dance drama groups per feis, with no more than half of the group participating in both — and the two must be different dramas. Dancing longer than the allotted time will result in loss of points.

Dress Code & Appropriate Attire

  1. Acceptable shoes for softshoe dances include Irish ghillies, black ballet slippers, and jazz or Oxford-style shoes with or without Irish heels. Pink ballet slippers are allowed for Beginner and Primary only.
  2. Acceptable shoes for hardshoe dances include Irish hardshoes, leather-soled shoes such as those used for sean-nós or set dancing, or tap shoes. Clogging or Canadian step-dancing shoes with double or jingle taps are not acceptable.
  3. Dance costumes are encouraged, but not required, for Digital Feis videos. If a dancer chooses not to wear a dance costume, we ask that they wear “Sunday best” or other well-kept, neat clothing. Remember that this is a special presentation. Dancers wearing sloppy practice gear will be marked down in the Presentation category. Elaborate solo dresses are discouraged in Beginner and Primary, but dancers will not be marked down for wearing them unless they are ill-fitting.
  4. Suitable undergarments (such as bloomers or dance trunks) must be worn under skirts and kilts.
  5. Costumes should fit well and not obscure good dancing form (for example, no capes hiding arms, nor baggy pants obscuring turnout issues).
  6. Hair must be neatly pulled back from a dancer’s face and held in place during the course of their performance. If wigs are worn, they must remain properly pinned and remain away from the eyes.
  7. We do not currently have separate categories for gender, nor do we require dancers to follow competitive fashion trends or utilize typical gendered costuming or gendered dancing styles. (For example, any dancer may wear pants, may dance reels in heeled reel shoes, or dance the slip jig, regardless of gender.)
  8. Make-up is strongly discouraged for dancers under 13. However, if a teacher or dancer deem it necessary, then it is acceptable but not required.
  9. Self-tanners are strongly discouraged for all ages. However, if a teacher or dancer deems them necessary, then they are acceptable but not required.

Video Rules

  1. Teachers, parents and/or any other persons are not permitted to give instruction or direction to dancers while they are dancing. The one exception is for Beginner and Primary (all ages): the teacher may be in the frame to assist the dancer with starting on time.
  2. Dancers may dance separately or down the line. If down the line, we suggest dancers dance one or two at a time.
  3. Numbers must be visible on camera, or dancers can face possible disqualification. (If we can’t properly identify a dancer, we can’t send them results.)
  4. Cameras must be set so that the dancer’s entire body, from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet, is visible at all times.
  5. A solo dancer may re-record their dance if they fall or if they suffer a bad slip that made them stop, after checking for and safely attending to any injuries that occur. Dancers should not dance on an injury.
  6. A teacher may use discretion with dancers who stop within the first 8 bars of dancing because of nerves and allow them to dance again. Only the second dance should be submitted.
  7. Digital Feis has the right to refuse a submitted video for technical reasons, including but not limited to videos only of feet, videos which switch orientation (horizontal/vertical) in the middle of the dance, or videos with too-quiet audio. Refused entries will be allowed to resubmit within 3 days. (If you are unsure of your recording, we are happy to pre-approve it before submission.)
  8. All DVDs and videos received for Digital Feis become the property of Digital Feis and will not be returned to the participant.