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Welcome to the World of Irish Dance!

Dress Code

Irish dancing is a beautiful art form and great exercise. This page explains some of the questions most parents have when introduced to the world of Irish dance!

OIDC has a very basic dress code for child and youth classes:

  • School shirt or Irish dance themed shirt

  • Black, blue or white shorts, skort or leggings

  • White or black dance socks or black footed tights

  • Dance footwear

  • Appropriate undergarments to support safe dancing


Dancers who are not dressed appropriately for class will not be able to participate in lessons. Wearing appropriate clothing for dancing class is a safety issue and this policy will be strictly adhered to. All items except dance bottoms are available for purchase through the school. Please send us an email for more information.


Studio Dress Code


Competitions - Feis

Feis (plural = feiseanna) is the Irish word for competition. Students demonstrate proficiency in Irish dance technique for adjudicators who award medals. These placements are often used to inform teachers’ recommendations on students’ progress through program levels. Although this is only one measurement of dance, it is a valuable one as it teaches the art of performance, goal setting and dealing with unexpected results. Competition builds resilience and work ethic and OIDC highly recommends that students compete!


There are two local feiseanna in Ottawa each year, and the school also hosts smaller Class Competitions 1-3 times per year which are open only to our students. Class Competitions are a good way for dancers who may be less experienced and/or confident to prepare for larger competitions, and provide an opportunity to show off what we learn in class for parents and friends in a relaxed and friendly environment. New dance parents can expect support from OIDC staff when their dancer is ready for competition.


At OIDC, we find the best way of building a tight-knit and friendly community is to have fun together! A “ceili” is a party in the Irish tradition that includes music and social dancing. At OIDC, we hold two ceilis each year, usually in the Fall and the Spring, in lieu of a more formal recital. Ceilis provide a performance opportunity so dancers can showcase the skills they have learned, but also allow members of our community to mix and mingle and enjoy each others’ company. 


Dancers registered in all of our programs are encouraged to attend our ceilis and participate in social dancing. However, dancers new to our Ireland, Ulster and Connaught programs only perform at the Spring ceili (not the Fall ceili).

Dancers are required to have a school or solo costume, depending on their level, as well as proper footwear to perform at school Ceili’s.

Grade Exams

Grade exams provide a structured framework to support dancers in progressing towards achievable goals. The syllabus has been designed to provide a strong foundation in Irish Dance by developing a candidate’s physical skills, stamina, expression, musicality and an appreciation and knowledge of the traditional dances and culture. It provides a worthwhile sense of achievement for all dancers whether they dance solely for health, recreation or competitive reasons or hope to pursue a career in Irish dancing.

Exams consist of the Preliminary Grade followed by a further 12 grades with each grade becoming increasingly more demanding in terms of the candidate’s skill, knowledge and ability. Each Grade must be passed and a certificate awarded before a candidate may attempt the next level. A dancer who successfully completes all Grades will be awarded “The Diploma of the Irish Dancing Commission.”

School Ceilis

Grade Exams
School Ceilis
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