Kelly took the time to capture her insight in a review, and even though we already had a Cinci Grades review, I feel all inputs could provide something valuable to our readers, so without further ado, The Cinci Feis, A Second Opinion.
The 31st annual Cincinnati Feis was held at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center on November 2nd, 2014. This feis was broken up on 2 floors with food, most vendors, camping, and champ comps on the first floor. The 2nd floor hosted grade comps, grades results/ awards, tshirts, used dresses, and a really sweet little spot for selfies and photos.
Administration/Communication – 7
The feis committee did a good job with communication and pre-feis administration. They were good about announcing the opening and closing of registration on facebook, twitter, as well as their website (www. http://cincinnatifeis.com/). Communication was good regarding vendors, camping issues, parking, stage layout, etc. Communication where the schedule was concerned was awesome! After the initial stage assignments were released, the committee decided to merge some of the groups so the competitions would count for advancement and sent out several messages about this to let people know right away stage assignments were going to change (and why). This group also gets extra points from me for using QuickFeis. LOVE the printed judge comments. LOVE the live results on-line. LOVE that you get to see exactly where your dancer fell in the pack (instead of seeing either just a placement or “did not place”). Knowing whether your dancer would dance before or after lunch was also very much appreciated. Hopefully one of these days, though, QuickFeis wall results will include either the dancer’s name or school name instead of just numbers. It’s hard to check on the results of your friends when all you have access to are numbers, but that’s QuickFeis and beyond the control of the committee.
There was a lot of confusion regarding what was or was not allowed to be near the grade level stages regarding zucas, dress bags, etc. Facebook communication stated there was to be NO camping in the ballroom upstairs due to the venue fire code. However, there was a lot of discrepancy as to what could or could not be brought upstairs, whether items were allowed outside of the ballroom, if the issue was just what was allowed on the escalator, etc. Some facility workers were very strict, others were not…It was confusing and hopefully will be worked out by next year. It would also have been fantastic if social media had been used to inform competitors of when stages were resuming after lunch. Having all food and camping downstairs led to a lot of unnecessary stress and rumors that stages were starting ahead of schedule…simple announcements like “Stage 5 competition resuming in 10 minutes” via facebook and twitter would be a fantastic idea for next year.
Venue – 8
The venue itself was gorgeous. It was already all decked out for Christmas (which some hated, but my dancer and I loved it!). There was even a sweet little podium set up in front of the Christmas tree display on the 2nd floor for photos. Nice touch! Anyway, upon entering the venue you were greeted by the vendors and registration was just inside the main doors. My dancer was scheduled to dance after lunch, so we arrived around 11. Registration was smooth and painless. We set-up camp in the designated area which, if the stages were downstairs, was actually a really nice place to set-up camp. The space was near bathrooms and away from all the noise and intensity of the competition; it was just a nice, quiet place to eat, think, chill with friends, regroup, etc. However, having all camping items downstairs was definitely inconvenient, especially for dancers who were injured while dancing (and due to the poor stage conditions, there were many of those. More on that later….).
There were plenty of bathrooms, an elevator, and an escalator. Results and awards were also very convenient to the stages on the 2nd floor. It was quite nice.
Stages – 3
The condition of the stages, in my opinion, was unacceptable. While very generous in size, they were like ice (even in soft shoes) and quite bouncy. I could not count the number of slips and falls I witnessed on every. single. stage. This was a problem before and after lunch, and stages were only cleaned during the lunch break . That was it. With so many slips and falls, I feel it was irresponsible of the team running this feis to not ensure someone would mop the stages at least between judges. I observed a sweet mom taping her child’s hard shoes then demanding that one of her competitors also let her tape that dancer’s shoes so she wouldn’t fall. Another mom was seen tapping each and every hardshoe of dancers sitting in chairs and waiting to compete. I did love seeing all this motherly affection poured out on these dancers, but it also made me a bit angry that it was necessary. On stage 7, a dancer fell during her slip jig. The mother immediately spoke with the stage monitors (who seemed unaware and, sadly, unconcerned). She was told the stages were mopped during the lunch break and the dancers should know to wet their shoes. ?????? They did put down a damp cloth for the dancers to walk on before taking the stage after speaking with that mom, but it did not make a difference. I really hope they invest in new stages next year as this was a big damper on an otherwise fantastic feis.
Judges and Musician – 7
There was only 1 shared musician on stages 5 & 6, which was nice. I’m not a fan of the shared musician as it always seems to slow competitions and generally causes stage conflicts, but we were not on these stages so I don’t know how well this one worked. We had a fiddle on our stage and there was an accordion on the others, but there was little music bleeding and the dancers seemed to be able to hear just fine. My dancer saw only 1 judge for all of her light shoes which was kind of disappointing. She had different judges for both of her hard shoe dances. Judge rotation could’ve been a bit better.
Vendors – 8
There were some cool vendors at this feis. There was a vendor who made darling Irish dance wear for 18” dolls and a great vendor selling Celtic gifts and jewelry along with the standard shoes, wigs, feis shirts, and dance swag.
Food – N/A
We did not purchase anything beyond Starbucks at this feis, so I can’t speak to anything regarding food. My dancer and I did, however, REALLY appreciate having a Starbucks right there. J
Results – 9
The speed of result posting was close to the speed of light. Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but they were incredibly quick. My dancer’s TJ results were pretty slow (around 30 minutes), but that was an exception. Well done!
Feis Flow – 9
Again, I think the rate of the flow was something akin to the speed of sound. However, I majored in English, not science, so my estimation could be a little off. ;-) My dancer started dancing around 1. She danced 3 soft shoe dances and 2 hard shoe dances and was finished, with results, by 3:30. LOVED the efficiency, but I would’ve been willing to have the feis run a little slower due to frequent stage cleaning. I would’ve traded speed for safety in a New York minute.
The stage schedule was very nice as it was broken up by feis age and not by grade level. There were only a few merges between ages, so there seemed to be very few stage conflicts. Few stage conflicts always, always, always makes for a more enjoyable feis experience. Sticking to the plan to end the comps of dancers up to U11 before lunch and keeping U13 and older after lunch also made for an anxiety-free flow and I didn’t observe anyone miss a dance due to a stage conflict.
Overall Rating – 8
See you next year, Cincinnati Feis!
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