Cincinnati Feis 2014 Grades Review

Cincinnati-Feis-LogoFullThe 31st Annual Cincinnati Feis was held on November 2, 2014 at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, KY. This is the 1st time we have attended this feis, and overall, we had a pleasant experience. This review is mainly aimed at the Grades experience at this feis. As this feis divided grades by age (with younger dancers in the morning session & older dancers in the afternoon), we attended only the morning grades session, so this review covers only that piece of things.

Venue

The feis was held at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. The venue is connected to the Cincinnati Riverwalk Marriott, and the feis secured a relatively reasonable rate for attendees.

Parking was available in the Marriott’s garage, as well as in an open lot across the street. Since we drove in from about 5 hours away, we stayed overnight & parked in the Marriott’s garage. I felt that the $10 we paid for parking from 5:00 PM Saturday until 1:30 PM Sunday was quite reasonable, but other options may have been less expensive.

Registration was right inside the entryway. There was a bit of a line to check in, but the volunteers kept things moving & my dancer was checked in fairly quickly and easily.

We did not spend much time checking out the vendors, but as list of vendors can be seen at http://cincinnatifeis.com/general/vendors/.

Restrooms were convenient, clean & well stocked. I never had to wait in line in the ladies room, which was nice.

Grades stages were located on the 2nd floor of the building, while PC/OC stages were on the 1st floor. The one negative was that Zucas were not allowed on the escalator that took people from the 1st floor to the 2nd, and this being a convention center, it was more than just 1 regular flight of stairs between floors, so I definitely got my exercise that morning!

There was no camping on the second floor (at least not that I saw), but there was sufficient room for everyone’s gear at the stages. There were chairs at all the stages & people generally seemed polite & respectful of space – I didn’t see a lot of gear left on chairs that people could have been sitting on.

There was some space for practicing, but not a whole lot of it. The younger dancers were able to make sufficient room to run through dancers, but the older dancers attending in the afternoon might have had more trouble.

Overall Venue Score: 8/10.

Stages

After this feis, I felt that stages really needed their own category in my reviews, as in some cases, they can make or break a feis.

The feis had 7 stages this year – 4 for grades & 3 for PC/OC. The PC/OC stages (1-3, were on the 1st floor in what appeared to be a large ballroom, while the grades stages (4-7) were on the 2nd floor in another large room. Stage 4 was in a corner by itself, and stage 7 was in another corner by itself. Stages 5-6 were together near the center of the room, and shared a musician. The setup worked well – there was no music bleed over & there was plenty of room to move around in the room.

The stages themselves appeared to be made of plywood (although my dancer insisted they did not feel like normal stages) & were a decent size. However, they were the slipperiest stages I have ever seen at a feis, and we’ve been at this game for almost 4 years now. I saw dancers at every age & level, in both soft shoe & hard shoe slip & fall all day long on all 4 grades stages. My own dancer slipped in 2 dances & took a full out fall in a 3rd (and we did douse the soles of her shoes in sprite to try & prevent slips/falls). The feis did put wet towels at the side of the stage for the dancers to rub their shoes in & I did see stages being mopped during the lunch break, but the sheer number of slips/falls we saw was completely unacceptable.

This alone would keep me from coming back to this feis next year – it is extremely disappointing to have driven 5 hours to a feis, only to find that the quality of the stages is this poor.

Overall Stage Score: 0/10.

Judges

My dancer danced 5 times and was seen by 4 judges. I thought that was excellent rotation, particularly for a feis that moved as quickly as this one did. My dancer’s judges seemed attentive, but unfortunately didn’t provide many comments.

Judge Score: 8/10

Music

The musicians did a nice job playing consistently. There was very little bleed over from stage to stage & I didn’t notice excessive breaks or timing issues or anything like that. The musician on stage 4 played some lesser known songs, which did throw some of the dancers for a bit of a loop, but as a parent, I appreciated the change of pace from the standard songs that are stuck in my head for 3 days post-feis.

Music Score: 9/10

Food

We did not partake in any of the food offered by the feis, but options/prices looked to be standard convention fare. A full list of food offerings & prices can be seen at http://cincinnatifeis.com/general/food/.

Food Score: 7/10

Results/Awards

This was a Quickfeis feis, so results were fast & simple. Results were posted on a wall, but you could also simply hand your number card to a volunteer at the awards table, who looks you up in the computer, prints out all your results (including comments & exact placements!) and hands you your awards.

We don’t check results until our dancer is finished with all her dances, so I don’t know how fast results were posted during the day, but she got in line to pick up awards within 10 minutes of finishing her dances & was able to get all her results immediately.

This year, the feis was also posting results online. I believe they were updated every 30 minutes or so, so it was probably faster to simply walk over to the awards table, but it did allow folks who weren’t able to attend the feis to see how friends had placed.

Placements appeared to be generous – I am not sure of the exact formula, but it appeared to me that the feis placed either through 5th place or half the dancers, depending on level & the size of the group. I doubt many dancers went home empty handed, which I like – it’s nice to see the dancers have a little something to show for their hard work, in my opinion.

Medals were awarded for all grades placements, and trophies were given out for 1st place in Open Prizewinner. The medals were very nice quality & best of all, they came with the ribbons already attached (other feiseanna, please take note – parents LOVE this!!!). The trophies were also nice quality – small, but well made.

Results/Awards Score: 10/10

Feis Flow

For grades, this feis was run by dance, but was divided by age, with younger dancers in the morning & older dancers in the afternoon, which meant people were in & out fairly quickly. My dancer started dancing around 9:15, and was done around 11:15, so things moved very quickly.

Feis Flow Score: 10/10

Overall Score: 7/10

A solid score overall, but this feis was definitely hampered by the poor quality stages. We are unlikely to attend again next year because of that issue, and I heard several others make similar comments.

What did you think?

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3 Comments

momtothree

The Cincinnati Feis is our home Feis and I agree with all the glowing comments in your review! My oldest daughter danced 5 dances and was finished by 11:30. I have never been to a Feis that has run so smoothly. After reading this, and the other review, about the slippery stages I talked to one of our teachers. The inside “scoop” on the slippery stages is that the Northern Kentucky Convention Center installed brand new carpet the week before the Feis. We were the first people to walk on it. So carpet fibers stuck onto dance shoes and traveled onto the wood stages. Once they realized this was a problem, our volunteers did the best they could to rectify the situation and encourage dancers to wipe the fibers off their shoes prior to dancing. There is no way to have predicted this problem and it doesn’t seem it was an issue with the actual stage as much as the carpet fibers from the new carpet in the facility (which we were only informed of after the fact). I would hate to see someone not return to this Feis based on a freak occurrence like this one. Thankfully, no one was injured from the slips.

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Cincinnati Feis Committee

Thank you for attending our Feis – I am glad you had a very enjoyable time minus your issue with the stages. As a member of the committee I feel inclined to comment on the stages just so you can feel like you have some insight as to why they were in the condition they seemed to be in. It was brought to our attention at the Feis that the NKYCC laid down brand new carpet the week of the Feis. Unfortunately we were the first group to use the carpet and the fibers from the carpet stuck to dancer’s shoes and that provided friction with the wood on the stages. We have used this wood in years past and have never had any issues to the extent that the wood provided this year. We were baffled as to why the stages were so slippery but once we learned about the new carpet it made sense. Obviously we cannot control the fibers from the carpet and we have already begun brainstorming about how to resolve this issue for next year. We will be making changes so even if we run into a new carpet issue again the stages won’t have the same issues as they had this year. Hopefully this provides some insight into the stage developments of the day, as by no means would we ever wish for stages to be slippery for the dancers.

Thank you.

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dancermom

Not predicting a problem is one thing. Being aware of it and not addressing it is another. The stages could have, and should have, been cleaned more frequently. No one would’ve complained had it run a bit slower due to the stages being cleaned frequently; likely you would’ve been praised for it. It’s disappointing to not hear regret about not being more vigilant in cleaning the stages which were unusually slick due to new carpet. This was an otherwise fantastic feis, but the stage issue was pretty serious and the lack of ownership on what could’ve been done to help, but the ball was dropped (we’re all human) is really disappointing.

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