BACK to the Business of Dance!
As the stay at home order eases in many parts of the world, we are seeing competitions restart and dance schools re-opening while diligently adhering to recommended safety restrictions and guidelines. It's a new dance world, yet the return to dance is thrilling. Dancers could not be more excited to be BACK TO THE BUSINESS OF DANCE!
Competitions are Baacckkkk!!
Last weekend life took another step towards the pre-pandemic norm with several schools hosting full feiseanna. With full Covid-19 precautions in place, these competitions allowed dancers to once again publicly demonstrate the skills & steps that they have been working so hard to perfect.
The successful feis weekend kicked off with the Scarriff School of Irish Dance who hosted the Utah State Feis where IDM was on-hand covering all the action!
The feis followed local mask protocols and limited entry to the venue to one supporter per dancer. The competition schedule was executed in a highly effective and well-timed manner which was of paramount importance to participants and the social distancing requirements. Participants followed local mask protocol, which families knew about in advance.
Because a limited number of people were allowed inside the venue, families waited outside where they found ample space to comfortably socially distance. Overall, dancers and their families were thrilled the Scariff School managed to effectively deliver an exceptional feis experience for everyone, illustrating "where there is a will, there is a way," in terms of executing a safe feis for families.
Class Feis Takes on a New Format
Dance teachers are the star of the show as they discover clever ways to see their dancers in person, while motivating them to compete. The pandemic brought a new format to the traditional intra-school competition or "class feis." In some cases dancers travelled to a teacher's home or pre-determined outdoor location to compete. In other cases the teacher took on the "old school" role of a modern-day traveling dance master, visiting individual homes and judging an "at home" feis where the dancer competed outside their homes under the watchful eye of their family (check out And the Feising Goes On!)! And, other teachers tapped into the technology provided through online options, such as Digital Feis and Video Feis.
Known for their innovative methods, the Doherty Petri School's New York teachers, Lisa and Karen Petri, launched a intra-school competition on the 12th July. During the day, over fifty dancers competed at the dance teachers' home while others tuned in digitally, sending in videos and watching the dancing via ZOOM. Annmarie Acosta, ADCRG was on-hand to evaluate the competitors. Masks and social distancing didn’t stop the Doherty Petri dancers from dancing their hearts out on the beautiful summer day.
The "at home" Doherty Petri class feis focused on contemporary dances as well as a variety of different sets as part of the IDTANA Traditional Set Proficiency Project. The IDTANA's project encourages dancers, regardless of their training or competitive level, to work with their dance teachers to learn one or more of the seven traditional set dances to a level of proficiency. After a dancer receives a certificate of proficiency in all seven traditional set dances they are awarded a special certificate, signed by the IDTANA President, indicating that he/she is “Proficient Plus”. While this program was developed by the IDTANA specifically for their dancers, it presents a great motivational campaign that any school might wish to create on its own.
Other schools focused on Grade Exams as a competitive outlet. Progressing through the "grades" is a worthy goal of most competitive dancers. The grade exam format allows for more social distancing with a small group of competitors judged by one adjudicator, and there are no spectators allowed inside the exam area.
With Grade Exams becoming more popular during the pandemic, Irish Dancing Magazine launched a helpful explanation of Grades 1 and 2 on our YouTube channel www.youtube.com/c/irishdancing.com with Grade 3 debuting in the coming days. Check out the playlist, "Grade Exams", to learn more! IDM's "How to Irish Dance" playlist also showcases the correct way to perform some of the traditional set dances, something also found in the Grade Exams. New additions are being added regularly; be sure to SUBSCRIBE to the IDM YouTube Channel to see our latest content!
Interested in reading more? The September-October issue of IDM will include additional articles & photos on The Feis Scene is Back. Visit the IDM shop to pre-order a copy or choose from a wide variety of subscription packages.
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