Irish Dance Terms .v3

Irish Dance Terms are our attempt to label those Irish Dance things we know, but which don’t have a ‘real name’.


noun clus·ter·feis \ˈklə-stər-fɛʃ\
1 : a complex and utterly disordered and mismanaged situation :  a muddled mess, when it comes to anything related to Irish Dance
2 : a way to say what you are REALLY thinking when your Irish Dancers are in earshot and you can’t say what you are really thinking.

examples of clusterfeis

  • The construction on I-65 North driving home from Nationals was a real clusterfeis

origin of clusterfeis

  • Ohio English
  • First known usage: 21st century
Cincinnati Feis 2015 PC/OC Review

Be sure to take a look at the previous posts. I am streamlining this one a bit so as not to get to repetitive.

Before I get to the review, I want to give props to the Cincinnati Feis Committee. Not only did they read and comment on last years review, but before the feis this year, when I commented on the What The Feis facebook page, a member of the Cincinnati Feis facebook page commented that they had addressed the concerns from last year. Way to be proactive!



The 32nd Annual Cincinnati Feis was held on November 15, 2015 at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, KY. We have attended this feis a number of time, and this is the first year at the Open Champion level.

I did do a few walk thoughs on the second floor where the grades were, but this review captures my thoughts on the Champ area. If anyone has thoughts or opinions on the Grades level, please let me know and I will be sure to get them added, anonymously is you wish.


The venue was the same as the few previous years, and I have always liked this venue. Last years comments are still appropriate for this year, so I will not repeat.

A few notes from this year:

  • Climate control seemed to be an issue, especially in the camping/dining area on the first floor. Warm in the morning, and cold, not cool, by the end of the day.
  • And speaking of the camping/dining area, and I know the feis committee has no control over this, but the greasy food smell was so overwhelming in that room, we actually moved TGCs dress out of the area so as not to take the smell home with us.
  • The Vendor setup between the camping area and the champs stage area was not optimal. There was a bottleneck where people could pass each other but one vendor table was set up where if anyone was browsing the table, the flow was restricted, and inevitably, people would browse, stop and chat, etc… and traffic to/from the champs area was stopped.
    • There were some vendors on the second level, and there was a ton of room in the side hall that was not being used, hint, hint 🙂

For more on the venue, please see last years review.


At the end of the stage review for last year it said:

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.

This is the exact point the Feis Committee addressed in their comments on my facebook page, and I quote:

you will be happy to know we painted all our stages this year and we have Sticky Mats that were used at the NAIDC to help prevent the slipperiness of the stages from the carpet fibers at the NKYCC! See you Sunday – thanks for your support

And I am pleased to report, it appeared to work!

I did not see any slips this year, and heard no complaints from other feis goers. I did see one dancer appear to trip over a stage seam, but that was really the only issue I saw.

The stage monitors appeared to be watching and picked up any foreign objects between dances.

Good job on the stages Cinci!


They ran the Champs area like it will be run at Oireachtas. Three dances, three different stages, three judges on each stage, so a dancer was judged by 9 judges. That is some pretty good judging. I think that is great exposure for the dancers and prep for the O.

A side note: As I watched the judges, as one dancer finished their set, one judge turned to another and shook their head, then put their hand up to their mouth and followed their gesture with some comment. Sorry, but that was completely unprofessional.


The three stages had some pretty good separation, but the music bleed in the viewers area was terrible. It did not appear to affect the dancers however, at least not as far as I could tell, but it made it weird to watch.


Sorry, but not a fan. The fact that you could not bring in outside food made your options what was available in the dining area. They had a large selection, but if you wanted anything warm it was a very slow process, and we hit the tables before the lunch rush, so I can’t imagine what it was like on the actual lunch break. The food was not horrible, but not worth the price, and they were charging $3 for a 12 oz soda.


Cincinnati has a nice podium with 5 places for the PC/OC awards, lots of room for dancers and seats for viewers, and a great sound system so you can hear the announcements. They also have SASHES for the top 5 places, the ultimate prize for the champs! They also give glassware to the top 3 places and candy for all the placements.

That being said, I heard some grumblings as to why the Grades got medals and champs got Hershey Bars, and one mom actually said, and no it was not TGCs mom, ‘it’s like they fill the jars with leftover Halloween candy.’ Sorry Cinci, I gotta call it like I hear it. If it is any consolation, TGC really enjoyed the candy last year when she placed in the prelim level.

One other note, it seems like the committee holds results and does a few comps at a time. Though there is room, it would make it less congested to spread the awards out every 15 – 30 minutes if that is an option.

Feis Flow

It was an extremely long day. I am not sure exactly where the PCs ended and the OCs started compared to the lunch schedule, but lunch did not get done till 115ish. By 430, TGC had still not done set, and they were still going strong on all three stages. Needless to say, we were still waiting for awards at 6. If the feis committee wanted to make it like Oireachtas, they did a pretty good job.

I am afraid I have to say that there were lots of grumblings about the flow, from dancers, parents and even from some of the committee.

Sorry, I have no opinions on how to make it better, but faster would be good 🙂


As I read this, I think my grumpy old man card is showing. I like this feis, have always enjoyed it in the past, except for that stage thing last year, and think the committee is very dedicated to making this the very best feis they can. This year however, I think they fell a bit short in some areas.

What did you think?

[poll id=”14″]

American Pride Feis 2015 PC/OC Review

4-231x300Feis Info

The 3rd Annual American Pride Feis was held Saturday, September 12th, 2015, at the Franklin Field House in Franklin, Tennessee. This review covers some of the general info, but is slated more for the PC/OC levels since that is where we spent most of our time.


Afraid I didn’t make it to this feis last year when it was held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort Convention Center, but the grumbling in the crowd indicated to me that the Franklin Field House was not quite on the same par as the Gaylord.

There were 5 stages, 1 – 4 for the Grades (as far as I can tell, although it makes sense to me that some of the PCs/OCs ‘might’ also could have been on those stages). We were on 5 during our dances. The large venue was split into sections by sliding partitions so there was some separation between the stages, so to speak, and 2 of the stages were in an area, 2 in an adjoining area, and the PC/OC stage in a third area.

Stages 1 – 4 were plywood, and a reasonable size, looked to be about 20′ x 24′, BUT, they were attached along one side so really stages 1 & 2, and 3 & 4 were both just big stages cut in half with tape. Due to their proximity, the combined stages shared a single musician, so there were only 3 in the entire venue, more on that later. Please note, the 20 x 24 was the size of the stage after being cut in half by the tape.

Stage 5 was a pretty good size, about 32′ x 24′ and was textured. Not sure if it was paint (looked to be), but I heard no complaints about the stage from my, or any other dancers. In fact, this is the first feis I remember in a while where I saw no slips or falls. Not saying they did not happen, just that I did not see any. (now that that has come out of my mouth, it seems highly unlikely none happened).

SIDE NOTE: All stages, as in years past, were named after a branch of the armed forces. Why the PC/OC stage was not named after Navy is beyond me, and I will try not to let it affect my review.  😉

The practice stage, wait, the 6 individual pieces of plywood that served as the practice area, probably could have been handled better. At least they provided a hard surface for the dancers to practice, considering the remainder of the flooring was either like basketball flooring where no hard shoes were allowed, or artificial turf, not the best dance surface.

Results and awards, and the PC/OC podium was in yet another area, separated from the stage areas by a netting, you know, the kind that keeps soccer balls from being kicked into the spectator seats in an indoor arena, which this kind of was. Results were posted on the wall which was right next to where awards could be picked up, very convenient.

The size and layout of the venue allowed for adequate camping, and the Southern Region seems more tolerant of camping in spectator seats, although we never had an issue finding a place to sit.

The concessions and vendors were setup in another open area near the concession stand and front door.

The venue was really large, but easily navigated

Parking was plentiful but may have involved a bit of a walk depending on when you arrived. There was a way to pull right up to the front to drop off dancers and gear though. No charge for the parking, always nice.

The only issue I had with the venue was the climate. They really did not get a handle on that till closer to 10am, and it was VERY warm up until that point. Hopefully noted for next year.


PC/OC  always has 3 judges monitoring the performance. The judges seemed attentive on our stage and took no breaks that I saw, and the same three were there for at least the first half of the day.

There were only seven judges invited, so with 3 at stage 5, and one each on 1 – 4, I am not sure how much rotation was done by judges on the grades level. You should know by now I am a big fan of grades level judge frequent rotation.


Stage 5 had its own musician, Stages 1 & 2, and Stages 3 & 4 each shared a musician. Not a fan of that. It inevitably causes delays somewhere, and I did see some times when not all stages were active due to unbalanced stage assignments.


Standard concession fare, pizza, pretzels, hotdogs, soda, granola bars, water etc…. I thought the prices were a little high, but not terrible.


Tshirt people were there, and the standard accessories tables, but the vendors seemed VERY limited to me. No larger shoe vendors (that I recognized), no ‘fun’ Irish swag, and no Irish M&Ms…. 🙁


Really cant speak to how the Grades level results went. Sorry.

PC/OC were fairly smooth however. The stage monitor announced when awards would be, and there was also a board over in the awards area that listed the time. For us, it showed up about 20 minutes before it happened, which was great. Sometimes a feis will post the notice only a few minutes before, and it is not enough time to find everyone, get the dress on, and get to the awards.

I have commented on other feiseanna that I would like to see them announce the top three in each round, instead of just 1st. At this feis, they did that one better, they announced the top half in each shoe and in the set.

Anyway, between the end of the dancing and the announcement was about 75 minutes, which is probably a bit better than average, so no complaints. We were pretty much done before lunch with everything, so really I had no complaints.

Feis Flow

The comp was medium sized, between 15 and 20, and they were done dancing all 3 rounds in just over an hour. The stage monitor kept things moving after the champ stage finally got moving. Casual observation showed they had a hard time getting the stage started and that stage did not start till after 9 a.m.


Other than the building climate issue, and the late start, and the individual practice areas, none of which really seem to impact us very much, well there was some sweating, but I digress, I thought the feis was pretty good. I would give it a 8.25ish, not to shabby.

What Say You?

Take the poll below and if you have comments on what you thought about the feis, please add them below.

[poll id=”13″]



Is my dancer really learning life lessons from Irish dance?


llI am not actually sure if I am learning life lessons by watching TGC as she grows during dance, or if she is learning them, or both. For my next Antonio Pacelli post, I collected the lessons I think we are taking away from this Irish dance madness.

If you have a minute, give it a read and see if you agree, or have more to add:

Irish Dance Terms .v2


noun feis·pi·o·nage
1 : the activity of spying on dancers from other schools in order to steal their steps or routines.

Is the grass really greener on the other side?

podiumFor my next Antonio Pacelli blog post, a brief overview of some of the differences between Grades and Champs you as new feis parents might see at a feis.

You can see the entire article over on the Feis Dad section of the Antonio Pacelli Community Blog at

Buckeye State Feis Review 2015 (CR)

The Buckeye State Feis was held on April 25th, 2015 at the The Bricker Building at The Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, OH.

This is a Community Review with comments by the attendees. If you attended please add your thoughts below.

Please see the Community Review page for suggested comment subjects and a other posting suggestions if you are going to add your thoughts.



Dayton Feis Review 2015 (CR)

The Dayton Feis was held on April 26th, 2015 at the Dayton Airport Expo Center in Vandalia, OH.

This is a Community Review with comments by the attendees. If you attended please add your thoughts below.

Please see the Community Review page for suggested comment subjects and a other posting suggestions if you are going to add your thoughts.



McGrath Feis Review 2015 (CR)

The McGrath Feis was held on April 19th, 2015 at the CD Hylton High School In Woodbridge, VA.

This is a Community Review with comments by the attendees. If you attended please add your thoughts below.

Please see the Community Review page for suggested comment subjects and a other posting suggestions if you are going to add your thoughts.



Feis At The Beach 2015 Review (CR)

fabThe Feis at the Beach was held on April 18th, 2015 at the Wildwood Convention Center, in Wildwood N.J.

This is a Community Review with comments by the attendees. If you attended please add your thoughts below.

Please see the Community Review page for suggested comment subjects and a other posting suggestions if you are going to add your thoughts.