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NAFC Rules

  1. In the case of all solo and team competitions in all grades, the age of a competitor on 1st January of the year in which the competition is held will determine the right of entry. For the purposes of this Rule a competitor whose birthday occurs on 1st January shall be deemed to be under the age attained on that date.

  2. Competitions are open to all but those holding a TMRF, TCRG, or ADCRG designation. A feis can only accept entries from pupils of teachers registered with An Coimisiun, regardless of their domicile, and where applicable, registered with both the IDTANA and the North American region in which they reside.

  3. A competitor may be disqualified for any of the following reasons:
    1. Conduct unbecoming a lady or gentleman.
    2. Failure to report on time to compete. (Penalty: disqualification from said event)
    3. Falsification of age or other important facts -- i.e., teaching, award winning, competing under another competitor's name or number, etc.
    Penalty for a) or c): Competitor will be disqualified from the Feis at which the occurrence happened and from all NAFC-registered Feiseanna for a period of one year beginning at the date of the occurrence.

  4. Competitions may be closed if there are no competitors at the assigned stage ready to compete when the competition is scheduled or announced. This does not pertain to situations where competitors are involved in stage conflicts, and such conflicts will be handled by the stage monitor

  5. Steel taps or "bubble" heels on dancing shoes, display of awards, wearing of shorts or other unconventional dress is prohibited. Authentic Gaelic dress is desired. First Feis (if offered), Beginner and Advanced Beginner, aka Beginner I and II, must wear a class costume, or a skirt and blouse. All other categories are excluded from this rule. Modest attire is encouraged when a competitor is not dancing.

  6. Competitor's number must be worn and visible to adjudicators when performing in all competitions, except in Championships. Use of reflective plastic number covers is discouraged.

  7. Awards will be determined in proportion to the number of entries in each competition and to the degree of proficiency shown.

  8. Complaints must be in writing stating names and other factual information and signed by the complainant. A $25 fee must be enclosed and presented to the Feis Chairman within one hour of the occurrence. The fee will be returned if the complaint is upheld.

  9. The Feis Committee and any organization affiliated with same will not be held responsible for personal injury, property loss or damage. Destruction of Feis property or rental property will be punishable by law.

  10. The Feis reserves the right to reject any entry for cause, to cancel all or part of the Feis and to limit competitor's performing time. The decision of the Feis committee is final in all matters connected with the Feis.

  11. All Feiseanna must have a process to allow parents to request that their child or children’s name(s) not be listed on the posted competitor list prior to the day of the Feis.

  12. Competitors must answer all questions as required by the Feis Entry committee, including teacher's name, and enclose the entry fee when mailing. Failure to do so may result in a rejected entry. Entries must be postmarked on or before the closing date or they will be subject to a late fee as determined by the Feis.

  13. The status of the dancer does not change unless there are five or more dancers in a competition.

  14. With the exception of First Feis, Beginner 1 and Beginner 2 (or their equivalent), photography of any kind which has the capability of capturing a dancer’s image while in motion is strictly forbidden. A Feis may elect to allow in motion photography for publicity purposes, but the pictures are considered the sole property of the Feis and solely for Feis use only; these are not be used for personal gain through commercial use or sale, and under no circumstances can they be published on any website or other areas, without the express written permission of the persons involved. Additionally, a professional photographer may be formally contracted by a Feis to capture non-motion photographs, such as portrait photography, awards ceremonies, etc. and/or in motion photography provided it is taken at a vendor station or suitable location: (a) away from the dancing stages and, (b) requested by a consenting parent, guardian, or dancer (over the age of 18).

  15. No block, en Pointe, toe walking movements, stationary or moving is allowed to be performed for all ages up to and including the under 12 age group. However, after September 1 of each year an exception is made for those dancers who are 11 dancing in the under 12-age group.

  16. No substance that can become airborne should be used on any dance floor in an attempt to improve traction.


  18. Solo competitors in First Feis (if offered), Beginner, Advanced Beginner, Novice or Open (Prizewinner) competitions:
    1. Must compete in their own age group.
    2. Must be prepared to perform two steps in each event.
    3. Cannot change competitions on the day of the Feis.
    With the exception of First Feis and Beginner 1, a dancer's level is determined in each dance (Reel, Light Jig, Single Jig, Slip-Jig, Hornpipe, Treble Jig and Traditional Set). Traditional Set Dances are limited to those dances determined by An Coimisiún Le Rince Gaelacha as traditional set dances.

  19. Combining male and female dancers in any age category is left to the discretion of each region of the IDTANA. Competitions may be combined with the next higher age group if there are less than 5 competitors entered. Competitions can only be combined up (or down) one age group.

  20. Boys and girls CANNOT be combined EXCEPT according to the following:
    1. All Boys competitions below Preliminary Championships shall be initially entered in single year age groups;
    2. If there are less than 5 entries in any one age group, combination of the competitions shall be done according to the following rules, in order of preferential application:
      1. Into double age groups, all boy or all girl; and
      2. If a double age group does not create five or more entries, the boys shall instead be combined into the corresponding single year girls’ age group; and
      3. Any competitions so combined shall be run as a single competition.
    The Mid-America syllabus is to contain all grade categories. A Feis Committee may combine two or three consecutive age categories in the highest of the age categories within that grade when less than five (5) competitors are entered. (IDTAMA, 1/1/17)

  21. Each region may determine the system for moving dancers from one grade to another, as they see appropriate for their region. The syllabus is to contain all grade categories. A Feis Committee may combine two consecutive age categories into the higher of the two categories within that grade when less than five (5) competitors are entered. (See Rule 14, above). Competitors have the option to remain in the same category for the remainder of the Feis year. A dancer, at the discretion of the teacher, may move into the next Grade (not Open Championships) without satisfying the requirements. However, once a dancer competes in the higher level, they can never move back to a lower category. [except as outlined in Rule 18, above).

  22. Grade Levels:
    • Beginner 1 (Beginner) Grade: A beginner is a competitor who has not yet taken a full year of Irish Dance lessons, thereby giving beginners a full year with such status. A Beginner must move into the Beginner 2/Advanced Beginner category the next year.
    • Beginner 2 (Advanced Beginner) Grade: An advanced beginner who wins 1st, 2nd or 3rd place will advance to the Novice category in that particular dance. Competition dances are reel, light jig, slip jig, traditional treble jig and traditional hornpipe, as a minimum requirement.
    • Novice Grade: A novice who wins a 1st place will advance to the Open (Prizewinner) category in that particular dance.
    • Open Grade (Prizewinner): A competitor who does not qualify as a beginner, advanced beginner or as a novice.
    • Adult Beginner: An adult beginner is a competitor who never took Irish dancing lessons as a juvenile and is over 18 years of age.

  23. First Feis (if offered), Beginner I, and Beginner 2 are required to dance at traditional speeds. Novice and Open/Prizewinner dancers may choose between traditional and Oireachtas speeds.

  24. All regions in North America will follow this common set of speeds for all grade competitions at feiseanna in North America (IDTANA, 1/1/17).
    First Feis Beg 1   Beg 2   Novice Prizewinner
    Reel 122 122 122 113 113
    Light Jig 115 115 115 115 115
    Slip Jig 122 122 122 113 113
    Single Jig 124 124 124 124 124
    Treble Jig 92 73/92 73/92
    Hornpipe 138 113/138 113/138

    Traditional Sets   Traditional Speed
    St. Patrick’s Day 94
    Blackbird 144
    Job of the Journeywork 138
    Three Sea Captains 96
    Garden of Daisies 138
    Jockey to the Fair 90
    King of the Fairies 130

  25. First Feis, Beginner 1 and Beginner 2 perform only basic steps to coincide with the Grade Exam Syllabus.(IDTAMA, 1/1/17).

  26. Dancers competing in the First Feis category are limited to participating in the First Feis Category only. (IDTAMA, 1/1/17).

  27. First place winners in the Open Championship category cannot return to a Preliminary or Open (Prizewinner) competition. Placing in a Regional or National Oireachtas does not change the status of a competitor. A dancer who moves into open championship must stay a minimum of 2 years. If after 2 years they have not placed they are allowed to return to preliminary. An open championship dancer who places is not allowed to return to preliminary until 2 years after their last placement. The regional syllabus where the Feis is being held may have different qualifications for entry.

  28. Entrants in any Championship event may not enter in any other (Grade) events, but may enter in Figure Dances. Entrants in Championships should specify, on the entry form, their choice of soft shoe, hard shoe, and set dance. Entrants cannot change competition or category on the day of the competition.
    1. Dancers must qualify for open championship via the method now in place for prelimiary champonship (i.e., two first place wins)
    2. Dancers must compete in the preliminary championship competition in order to qualify for open championship.
    3. The regional syllabus where the feis is being held may have different qualifications for entry.

  29. Preliminary Championships are open to those who, at any NAFC recognized Feis:
    1. Have won 1st place in both an open/prizewinner light and heavy shoe competition, and
    2. Have never won 1st, 2nd or 3rd in Open Championship. A dancer who wins two first place awards will move on to Open Championship at the next Feis they enter, or as soon as the second win is achieved, in any age category, in the following years. Only in the case of back-to-back Feiseanna (successive days), in which case the first win in the first Feis will not change the dancer's status for the second Feis. A dancer is required to perform a light shoe dance (reel or slip jig for ladies and reel only for men), and a hard shoe dance. A Feis can opt to offer either a) a set dance or b) a jig/hornpipe.
    3. The regional syllabus where the Feis is being held may have different qualifications for entry.

  30. A Mid-America region feis may choose to combine boys and girls in Open Championship competition s when there are less than 5 dancers registered in a particular age category. (IDTAMA, 1/1/17)

  31. One of the following statements MUST be in the feis syllabus:
    1. When there are less than five dancers registered in a particular Open Championship age category, th e boys and girls will NOT be combined.
    2. When there are less than five dancers registered in a particular Open Championship age category, the boys and girls WILL be combined.

  32. The boys’ open championship age categories will match the girls’ open championsh ip age categories. (IDTAMA, 1/1/17)

  33. Any competitor in Preliminary or Open Championship must have a minimum of 8 rotations or 10 minutes between their rounds. (IDTAMA, 1/1/17


  35. Teachers or team captains are responsible that their teams are complete and in position when the competition is announced.
    1. There are no restrictions on figure age groups. (Effective 12/2014)
    2. Figure age groups will be determined by the oldest dancer.(Effective 12/2014).
    3. 8 hand teams are allowed to repeat dancers at all Mid - America feiseanna in accordance with the world and regional Oireachtas rules.
    4. The length of 2 hand and 3 hand dances in competition are to be 48 bars of music plus an 8 bar introduction.


  36. Musicians and adjudicators cannot be approached during a competition by anyone except the Feis Committee. No one can approach them while a competitor is performing.

  37. Musicians employed by the Feis Committee will be solely under the direction and management of the Feis Committee on Feis Day.

  38. In matters pertaining to adjudication, the decision of the adjudicators is final.

  39. Adjudicators are to monitor the quality of music at the stage(s) to which they are assigned.

  40. Championships and Preliminary Championships require at least three adjudicators.

  41. Each Feis is required to list their adjudicators on their syllabus and/or website at least three weeks before the close on entries, one - third of which are to be from outside the region where the Feis is being held.


  43. Make up is prohibited on a dancer in the first three grades (First Feis (if offered), Beginner 1 and Beginner 2 or their equivalent) up to and including the under 12 age group.

  44. Any competitor found to be using artificial carriage aids and subsequently refuses to remove same, will be subject to disqualification from that particular competition. Medically prescribed aids (proof of which may be required) will be exempt from this rule.

  45. Competitors in girl's competitions at the First Feis (if offered), Beginner 1 and Beginner 2 Grade will wear only the competitor's dancing School costume or a skirt and blouse.
  46. In order to compete in Mid-America feiseanna, dancers from the youngest age group up to and including Under 9 in all categories must follow our regional guidelines for U8 and U9 costume rules.

    Under 8 and Under 9 COSTUME RULE IN EFFECT JANUARY 2015
    • The dress may be one piece or two pieces
    • No animal prints
    • No low cut necklines
    • No decorations including rhinestones or sequins of any kind
    • No reflective fabric (this does not include satin)
    • No embellishments.
    • Base material and appliqué materials must be solid colors
    • NO plaids, stripes, patterns, flowers or reflective materials, etc.
    • Any embroidery and appliqué used on the dress must be of a traditional nature.
    • Length must comply with An Coimisiún
    • No Jewelry
    • Plain Satin Bows in the hair are allowed but bows may not be attached to the dress or used for a cape.
    • Plain colored satins that do not include sequins, glitter, or crystals are permitted
    • Buckles are allowed on shoes that do not include rhinestones All current school costumes are Grandfathered into the rule regardless of threads or materials. All rhinestones would need to be removed. (Jan 2012)
    • All of the above applies to headpieces, socks and shoes.
    • This rule applies for Boy and Girl Solo Championships and Traditional Set Competitions at the Mid-America Oireachtas
    • The above Under 8 Rule was approved to include the Under 9 age group (Jan 2012)
Music Competition Rules
  1. Only traditional music will be accepted.
  2. Music classifications are reels, jigs (double, slip, and single), hornpipe, airs, marches, and polkas-set dance.
  3. Electronic or amplified instruments will not be permitted.
  4. A tin whistle must have a metal body, a plastic tip, and only 6 holes.
  5. A beginner is anyone who started playing after January 1, 2017.
  6. Beginners will play one piece from the above classifications.
  7. Advanced competitors will play two pieces of contrasting tempo.
  8. Entrants may compete in only one category for each instrument.
  9. Miscellaneous instruments may include any other acoustic instrument.