Two (now three!) new feiseanna and one amazing Instagram

A tale of two (or three) feiseanna

Two Three new independent American feiseanna have been announced! The first two are on July 15, 2017.

The first, put on by My Pulse, My Passion School of Dance, will be hosted at the Vail Leavitt Music Hall in Riverhead, New York (Eastern Suffolk, Long Island). Riverhead has plenty of hotels nearby, as well as an aquarium, racetrack, water park, outlet mall, and plenty of activities. This is definitely a fun destination for a full weekend!

The second is the Houston Open Platform Feis and Championships, hosted by the Tew Academy of Irish Dance in Houston, Texas. This annual feis is held at the Johnson Space Center. Houston is the largest city in Texas, home to many cultural institutions and exhibits and an active visual and performing arts scene — don’t miss out.

Edit Friday, May 26: Last but not least, the twice-yearly Connecticut Feis is running on November 4 in North Grosvenordale, Connecticut, hosted by Lee Irish Dance. This feis has a cool Speciality Solo option so dancers can try their hand at choreography — no teacher creations allowed!

For more open platform feiseanna around the world, visit our list of Worldwide Open Feiseanna.

One Instagram to rule them all

I’ve decided I’d just like to crawl inside Sarah Churchill’s @threads_of_eire Instagram page and make a cozy home of it. I’m so excited to see her work on Irish dance history, and costuming in particularly. Her art is beautiful, too!

Instagram page with photos and drawings of Irish dance costumes throughout history

Sarah Churchill’s Instagram focuses on the history of Irish dancing costumes

Festival firsts: bringing a dramatic Belfast style to America

On May 12–14, 2017, the Festival Dance Teachers Association (FDTA) held their first North American workshop in Galloway, New Jersey.

FDTA instructors Deborah Anderson of the Zephaniah Dancers and Elizabeth Lynn of the Seven Towers School of Irish Dancing shared their choreography, technique, and humor throughout the weekend. Their American students included dancers and teachers from Connecticut, New Jersey, and Illinois.

Festival dancing, a Northern Ireland specialty, has been enjoying a boost in popularity due to appearances on Jigs & Wigs as well as the Innova Irish Dance Company’s success on Britain’s Got Talent. Lauren Smyth has also become the first Festival-style Irish dancer to earn the principal female lead role in Riverdance. This has not gone unnoticed in America.

Attendees were instructed first in the Festival’s most famous dance, the slow slip jig, with four steps appropriate to a young intermediate dancer. A slow, dramatic set dance to “Echoes of Erin” was also taught. The style was quite different to what we’re used to — we didn’t quite shake the feis in one weekend — but we’re excited to continue growing.

Much of this choreography was created special for this workshop, but will be shared by attendees. We are grateful for the gift! We are hard at work practicing, and have more teachers interested around North America and Australia. We will be inviting our instructors back again to continue learning next year, and encouraging independent feiseanna to open their speed limits to allow slow slip jig. Digital Feis and the Spring Rain Open Feis in Belwood, Ontario support Festival speeds, with more North American open feiseanna to follow suit, we’re certain.

Thank you to the Festival Dance Teachers Association, Elizabeth Lynn, Deborah Anderson, and Patricia Silver of the Mist of Ireland School of Dance in New Jersey for making this wonderful weekend happen.

Did you know Digital Feis has a slow slip jig category? We love Festival dancing, and though our primary style is Feis dancing, there’s no pressure to conform to Feis standards in choreography or costuming. Join our mailing list below to get Digital Feis reminders, and keep up-to-date with how-to tips.