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  • Ally Gavigan:
  • 30 November 2023

5 Ways To Impress An Irish Dance Adjudicator

No matter what dance you're doing, no matter how good you are, here are 5 things you can do to impress any Irish dance Feis Adjudicator.

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Looking to improve your feis results? Check out our top 3 tips on how to impress the feis judges at your next competition.

We have assumed that you have been practicing regularly and are ready to show what you have learnt!


Your performance on the day of a competition has a lot to do with good preparation the day beforehand. Realising an hour or two before you perform that you have forgotten your pumps or jig shoes, or another key part of your feis kit will unsettle and lead to unnecessary panic.

Write a list of everything that you bring to a feis, and tick everything off as you put it in your feis bag. If a guardian or friend helps you pack then make sure you are clear on who is packing what. You don’t want to arrive at a feis and say ‘I thought you packed that!’ Having 1 list that you both work from can help.

Keep the list in your feis bag and add to it when needed.

2. Clean your shoes

Your dance steps may be magical but having dirty or scuffed shoes will make you look amateur and that you don’t really care.

Polishing your shoes the day before a feis not only makes your dance steps shine, it will help keep the leather of your jig shoes fed and happy, extending the life of your jig shoes. Just be carefully if you are using a wax polish that you buff your shoes properly afterwards so the wax or polish has been absorbed into the leather and won’t mark your dress. There are plenty of great videos on how to polish your shoes on You Tube.

3. Show Confidence

This sounds quite obvious, but many dancers overlook the importance of this Show your confidence before, during and after you finish dancing by having your shoulders back, chin up, eyes up and just a general, 'I rock' manner.

So when you are called for your competition, walk up to the side stage with confidence. This is the time to get your head into a winners mentality. Even when you are standing at the side waiting on your turn, stand confidently.

You can do some amazing moves, but if you aren't confident in your presentation it will detract from your dancing. However do not confuse confidence with cockiness. Ask someone to take some photos of you so you can check you have got the balance right!

4. Smile

This is one that is hard to master.

Keeping a pleasant smile on your face throughout the whole dance may sound easy, but it is NOT!

If you don't believe me, try it, you'll get to your second step and realize you're not smiling anymore. Either that or your smile will be a bit too enthusiastic, even painful looking. With some practice, though, having a pleasant smile on your face the whole dance will make your presentation ten times better. And not only will you be enjoying the dance, the judge will know you're enjoying yourself too!

5. Move Your Dance

Usually this isn't a problem for championship dancers. With a lot of practice you can learn to make your dance move from one side of the stage to the other with ease. The dancers who win are the ones who make their dance as big as it can be.

Those who tend to stay planted in the same spot in the middle of the floor don't draw the judges' eyes in their direction. And it's important to pull a judges attention because 80% of the time you'll be dancing on the same stage as another dancer. If they're dancing circles around you, you won't have a chance! YOU be the one to dance circles around the other competitor and the judges will have their eyes on you!

Bonus:. Be a gracious winner

Your training and dedication has paid off and you are on the podium collecting your trophy. This is a time to celebrate but remember that the eyes of the adjudicators are still on you.

Leave a positive impression for the next time your paths cross by being a gracious winner. Don’t forget to celebrate the success of other dancer’s even if they are higher on the podium than you are.

Keep these things in mind and we guarantee they will give you a boost at your next feis!

'Attentive managers, respond promptly to all questions, they don't confuse the items in the order'

Anna - Russia
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