A first feis, or Irish dance competition, can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience for both parents and children alike. It marks a significant milestone in a young dancer's journey, where they get to showcase their hard work and dedication. To help ensure your child's first feis is a positive and enjoyable experience, we have compiled a list of great tips to guide you through this thrilling event.
Your Teacher: Your First Port of Call
Before stepping into the world of feiseanna, turn to your child's dance teacher for valuable information. They will have all the essential details about the event, including schedules, venues, costumes, and more. Relying on your teacher for guidance will ensure that you're well-prepared and have everything you need for the day. In case your teacher is unavailable, feis syllabuses and organisers' contact information can be found online to assist you.
Bring Cash for Admission
Be ready to pay a small admission fee, usually around €5 for adults, at the door. It's always best to have cash on hand as some feiseanna might not accept card payments. In some cases, admission fees can be paid in advance during pre-registration.
Essential Items to Bring
Don't forget to pack the necessities for your child's dancing debut:
Wear Your Teamwear
If your child belongs to a dance school with designated Teamwear, wearing it at the feis can create a sense of camaraderie and support for other fellow dancers from the same school. For Cabe Academy dancers, wear your Malley Sport teamwear.
To avoid last-minute stress, aim to arrive at least 30 minutes before your child's scheduled time. This extra time allows for any unexpected delays and gives your child the opportunity to get ready in their dancing shoes and costumes at least 15 minutes before their first performance.
Reminders for Children
Preparing your child mentally for the feis can help alleviate anxiety. Remind them of the following:
All Times Are Approximate
While organisers do their best to stick to the schedule, it's common for feiseanna to run slightly behind. Therefore, be prepared for possible delays throughout the day. Nonetheless, ensure you arrive 30 minutes before your child's scheduled time.
Bring Snacks and Activities
To keep your child comfortable during potential waiting times between dances or for results, pack some snacks and small activities like colouring books. These can be a source of entertainment and prevent any impatience.
Manage Expectations: No Trophies Expected
It's essential to manage expectations, especially for a first-time feis. While all participants receive a medal, winning a trophy usually requires more experience and practice. Emphasise to your child that the focus should be on enjoying the experience and celebrating their progress.
No Recording Allowed
Lastly, remember that feiseanna have strict policies regarding video recording or taking pictures while children are dancing on stage. These rules are in place for child safety reasons. However, you are welcome to take pictures during the prize-giving ceremony to capture those precious moments.
A first feis is an unforgettable milestone for any young Irish dancer and their family. By following these tips and preparing well in advance, you can ensure that the experience is positive and enjoyable for everyone involved. Cherish the memories made during this special day, and most importantly, encourage your child to continue pursuing their passion for Irish dance with enthusiasm and determination. With practice and dedication, who knows, they might even come home with a trophy in future feiseanna!
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