NEW AN COIMISIUN COSTUME RULES EFFECTIVE 1st JAN 2011 - CLICK HERE
Want to know about how Feis' are scored? Click and understand
A bit of background for new and early dancers in the UK, and Irish dancing is for both Boys & Girls.
There are two main Irish dancing bodies, An Coimisiun often called 'Commission' and An Comhdhail often called 'Cogol'.
An Coimisiun has a wider reach with many more schools, events and competitions overseas, especially in the USA, An Comhdhail tends to be more focussed on the Celtic Nations and England.
An Comhdhail often performs dance steps on traditional dances 'by the book', both organisations restrict younger dancers going 'en pointe' to minimise any damage to the foot, however make-up restrictions at an early age apply to An Comhdhail but definitely not to An Coimisiun.
When you are looking at schools, you need to be aware that it is rare that a teacher will let a new or young dancer have a trial, and if you are not sure about joining the school a) make sure you are upfront with the teacher b) do not pay for a class and c) make it very clear you have not yet joined their school. An Coimisiun has an unfortunate history of tactics in this area so BEWARE.
Transferring schools or organisations can carry a ban of 6 months or more, however in An Coimisiun it is 6 months from the 1st January the following year!
There are other organisations such as WIDA (WorldIrish Dance Association), CAID (Celtic Association of Irish Dance) CRN, CRDM, IDTA etc who sometimes do not agree with the approach of the 'big 2' and have started up their own organisations.
Usually this is done by parents & teachers who feel they have been treated unfairly, and it is fair that some of the approaches of the smaller organisations are much fairer, for instance WIDA when it holds an 'Open' competition means 'Open' as all can come. An Coimisiun & An Comhdhail adopt the 'oil & water' approach to each other and these smaller organisations either by ignoring their existance or banning their dancers from competing.
WIDA has links in the USA, Europe and Asia and is coming on strong with a couple of good championship events every year in the European & World Championships.
Fees vary across the organisations but a basic rule of thumb is that An Coimisiun & An Comhdhail are more expensive for lessons, but charge less for competitions than other organisations whilst the others charge a little less for teaching but more for competitions.
If you think your child is going to become the next Jean Butler, Colin Dunne, Michael Flatley (Riverdance) then it is likely you want to look at one of the big 2 organisations.
CAID & WIDA are pretty upfront with their rules & regulations, An Coimisiun is a bit trickier but I have some info here, An Comhdhail you have as much clue as us, so your teacher will tell you :)
HOW TO MAKE A 3 PANEL IRISH DANCING DRESS FROM SCRATCH - EMAIL ME
IRISH DANCING ORGANISATIONS
An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha (CLRG) Rules and Regulations - OK site
Comhdhail Website - Average site, lacks rules, regs, Feis postings etc
WIDA website - Good site, often updated & informative
CAID Website (more often down than up, very light on info)
IDTA - Irish Dance Teachers Association - Waiting on info
IDTA - Rules
CRN - An interesting small global organisation
NAIDF - North American Irish Dance Federation linked to WIDA
IDTNA - Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America linked to CLRG
NAFC - North American Feis Commission
NWRC - North West Regional Council - UK org affiliated to Coimisiun?
NWRC - Rules - Probably the CLRG An Coimisiun rules
CMFA - Cead Mile Failte Association - Herts, Kent, Essex, Sussex & WIltshire
RTME - Mainland Europe Affiliate for An Coimisiun
AIDA - Australian Irish Dancing Association Inc - (An Coimisiun)
FDTA - Festival Dance Teachers Association - 43 schools
CRDM - Cumann Rince Dea Mheasa