A Parents Guide to Understanding Feis Judging

dana-carvey-snlI am going to be honest, I don’t understand feis judging, at least not completely, so maybe the title is not quite right. Maybe this should be called ‘A Parents Guide to Helping Their Dancer Understand Why.’ Read the entire article over on Antonio Pacelli and let me know what you think.

If the link above does not work, you can copy and paste this into your browser’s address bar: https://www.antoniopacelli.com/community/article/a-parents-guide-to-understanding-feis-judging


In discussing the latest blog post with TGC yesterday, she mentioned a Voy post about bribing judges. In an effort to find that, I found another discussion that focuses on some of the politics behind judging.

Check out Zebadiah B’s comments. He hits some of the same points I mention in my post, only he did it years earlier (so much for my ‘original’ post idea :(  ) , but he also covers a topic I had not considered. The whole discussion is worth a read: http://www.dance.net/topic/8765577/1/Irish/politics-in-judging.html


Had some interesting comments on our facebook page that I wanted to share (with the permission of the submitter). More food for thought.

“One of the factors that affects placing well in one dance and less well in another at the same feis is that all dancers “hear” some types of music better than others. We say there are “reel” people and “jig” people based on which type of music they respond better to. That extends to the other three types of music as well; some dancers who are very good at other types of music never can get the hang of slip jigs, for instance. There are dancers who excel at hornpipes but, unfortunately, dance their treble/double/heavy jigs as though they were hornpipes, and that creates problems. They may both be hardshoe dances but they demand different styles, and that’s true of the soft shoe dances as well. I had one elfin student who couldn’t score in her single jig to save her soul. I told her to growl before going on stage for single jig competition. It embarrassed the heck out of her but it worked – the single jig was the dance they boys did back in the era when boys weren’t allowed to compete slip jigs (late 1980’s; boys still don’t compete slips in champs) and they’re supposed to have an aggressive, muscular style while slips are flowing and graceful. Dancers who dance all their soft shoe dances with the same style will score well in those which fit that style but not so well in the others. That’s “musicality.””


“Also, does your school pass on adjudicators’ comments to the dancers? We do. A lot of them are “turnout” and “point” which are nearly universal, but the biggies are anything to do with timing or rhythm, and the kiss of death is “late start” which can put you in last place even if everything else was excellent. We feel that if the adjudicators took the time to write comments, our dancers need to see them. It helps to understand scores.”

Thanks Bill!

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