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2017 Raleigh Feis a great success!

One of our beginners showing off her new medal!

Inis Cairde is the only Irish dancing school in the Triangle that hosts its own competition annually. Each February dancers, adjudicators and musicians travel from all over North America to compete in our feis, pronounced "fesh." The dancers are divided by age and by level, with the smallest beginners competing in the First Feis competition, all the way up to World level dancers in the Open Championship level. Competitions began Friday night and continued throughout the day on Saturday.

One of our intermediate dancers pointing at her results in one of her dances

All of the Inis Cairde teachers and parents volunteer their time to make this the most positive experience that we can for each and every visiting dancer. We've earned the reputation for always having kind and enthusiastic volunteers in every capacity, awarding loads of awards, and securing a beautiful, spacious venue (the Durham Convention Center).

This year, our feis was host to over 600 competitors, and featured not only competitions in Irish dancing, but also Irish art, Irish music and Irish baking. We were delighted to have this year's feis featured on the front page of the Durham Herald Sun! Read the article here.

Adjudicator Jim Mueller congratulates his line of First Feis dancers

The first highlight of the day is definitely our First Feis competition, which is for all dancers who are competing for the very first time. The dancers line up, dance their light jig for the judge, and then every competitor is given an award and gets to meet the adjudicator for a special note of encouragement. We love our little ones and we all work together to make this an exciting and positive day for all of them!

We were so proud of not only our dancers' various successes throughout the weekend, but those of dancers who came from near and far to challenge themselves to dance their absolute best, no matter what level.

Another highlight of the day is our Charity Reel special, in memory of my dear friend and fellow Irish dancing teacher, Maureen Harling-Welty, who lost her battle against ALS in May, 2011. Given that Maureen was one of the funniest people I've ever known, dancers who enter the competition must choreograph their own 16 bars of a reel in some type of comedic fashion. Over the years we've seen everything from traditional competition steps with crazy arms and added dance moves to sumo wrestlers, dancers having pillow fights, and Napoleon Dynamite himself showing off his killer dance moves. One of this year's winning groups (pictured above), combined Irish dance, rugby and dabbing to clinch the top prize. None of us could imagine that they would ever top last year's appearance as the Village People, but they are pros at making us laugh, these three!

All of the proceeds from the entry fees for this particular competition, as well as any proceeds from our raffle sales, are sent on to the ALS Association of South Florida, where Maureen's former students still take part in the annual Walk to Cure ALS. You can watch our quick social media video here:

For more information about the Raleigh Feis, please check out the official website.

More pictures from Raleigh:

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