McConnell Irish Dance

McConnell School of Dance - Competitive Division

McConnell School of I rish Dance is a registered member of Cumann Rince Náisiúnta(CRN), based in Dublin, Ireland. Our students compete in CRN's Open Platform Feis (competitions), which take place at the Regional, National, and World Open levels.  

Dancers compete in 5 Solo Levels of CRN - Bunghrád, Ullmhúchán, Meanghrád, Ardghrád, and Craobhghrád 

  • Competitions are offered for all ages and abilities, including adult students.
  • Team competitions include all traditional figure dances and modern choreography.

The Competitive season extends Sept - May for dancers who wish to compete in our school or nearby competitions. For dancers who wish to compete at the Regional, National, or World competitions, the season will extend Sept - August.

Competition is not mandatory for dancers enrolled in Competitive classes. Our competitive program is ideal for dancers who wish to brush up on technique or who need additional learning time, even if they do not wish to compete.

There are no performances for dancers registered in competitive division.  Dancers who wish to compete and perform will need to register for Competitive & General or Performance Division Classes.

Competitive Division Information

Attending Competitions

Dancers who wish to attend competitions will need to confirm their participation with MSD in advance.  Instructors will determine which dances and levels are most appropriate for students. Schools hosting competitions will release their syllabus 6 - 8 weeks prior to the competition and generally registration for dancers attending competitions will be arranged through MSD.

Competition Registration

Generally, registration for CRN competitions is organised by the school. Students will receive notice via email once the competition registration is available and a deadline offered for registration.

After registration dancers will receive an invoice outlining their competition fees and a deadline for payment.
Competition Fees

Dancers are responsible for all registration fees for their competitions. Competition fees average at $7 - $10 U.S. per dance. 

Travel and Associated Fees

Dancers are responsible for all costs associated with their travel to and from competitions.  All travel arrangements are to be made by the individual, including transportation, accommodations, and chaperones.

Levels & Advancement

Instructors determine which level and which dances students will learn and compete with for solo and award competitions. 
CRN Level 1 - 3 Dances
Dances in Levels 1 - 3 are standardised steps throughout all schools in CRN.  There are slight variations in style between regions and schools, however dancers in Bunghrád, Ullmhúchán, Meanghrád must compete with the CRN sanctioned dances.
CRN Level 4 & 5 Dances
Dances in Levels 4 & 5 are of the same standard, however these dances are developed and choreographed by the school's instructor.  Slight differences in steps may be added for dancers who have individual strengths or weaknesses.

Solo Lessons are offered prior to all major competitions and sign up is on a first come, first served basis


School costumes, Solo Costumes, or  Basic Skirt & Blouse may be worn at CRN Competitions.

Basic Costume - Skirt & Blouse

Dancers may wear a basic skirt & blouse for any CRN competitions.  In most cases, basic costume attire is used for beginner levels, however dancers who wish to save on costume costs may choose to wear basic attire for any levels of competition in CRN.

School Costumes

2019 - 2020 Team Costumes - required for dancers competing in Team & Ceili Competitions.

Solo Costumes

Solo costumes are not permitted in Bungrád or Ullmháchán levels with the exception of dancers over 18.  Solo costumes may be worn in Meangrád, Ardgrád, and Craobhgrád levels by dancers of any age.

  • All solo costumes must be approved by the instructor prior to purchase or design by seamstress.
  • All school costumes are registered with CRN so please wear appropriate school costumes.


Irish Dance Shoes
Shoes should be well fitting, clean, and polished.  Ill-fitting shoes will affect a dancer’s placement and teachers will let you know if you require a better fitting shoe for competition.


Irish Dance Wigs
Wigs are optional for CRN Feile’s, however we prefer dancers wear wigs rather than hair down.  Dancers who wish to wear their hair down should verify the style with instructors prior to competition.
Full, Bun, or Pony tail wigs are acceptable.
Team dances must have their style of wigs coordinated by instructor.
Tights / Socks
CRN Rule, dancers 20 and over must wear black tights.
Dancers under 20 may wear poodle socks or tights, however we prefer dancers wear socks as it shows off footwork better than tights
Team dancers must coordinate socks or tights, depending on age of the team.
If you are under 20 and you wish to wear tights please verify with your instructor prior to competition
Make sure your socks are newer, clean, white, and well fitting.  Sock glue is essential.

MSD & CRN do not require the use of heavy make-up, spray tan, for younger dancers. There are no stage lights at Feile’s so heavy make-up is not necessary.  Light or no make-up is acceptable. 

Dancers competing at higher levels and in major competitions may choose to wear stage make-up.  Instructors will determine if a dancer's make-up is appropriate.

What is CRN?

Cumann Rince Náisiúnta ( koo-mun, rin-ka, now-shun-tuh)
CRN was established in 1982 in Dublin, Ireland by the late Ita Cadwell. CRN is the only organization whose competitions successfully operate with the Open Platform, where any dancer from any teacher, from any part of the world or any organisation can compete.

CRN believes in honesty, justice and fairness in competitions. CRN’s motto is: “Do not do to others what you would not like done to you”. CRN’s founder Ita Cadwell used the following phrase: “The honest road is the right and just road to take, but it is also a very hard and difficult road to take.

CRN is widely known as a traditional dance organization and it has successfully maintained the integrity of traditional dances, while actively encouraging the development of new and innovative work. Great thought was put into considering the developmental levels of students and their capacity to execute work in solo dances.

Five (5) grades/levels of dance were established. In an ongoing effort to honour tradition and continually protect the developmental
process of dancers a grading system is in operation in all 5 levels and grades. This system ensures that appropriate technique is being taught at each level.

CRN is committed to protecting the integrity and purity of the Irish Dance tradition.

CRN is very proud of the standard of dance education among its members. This standard was achieved through establishing a compulsory and rigorous teacher-training course and requires two to three years of supervised training in Ireland CRN Adjudicators must complete an additional two years of supervised study, taught by recognized trainers with Cumann Rince Náisiúnta. Additionally, the Instructor Examining Panel are also required to pursue continuing education.


For more information on CRN, please visit their website


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     Canada Feile

Saturday, May 23rd, 2020

The Canada Feile was established in 2016 and is CRN's only Canadian competition.  

Canada Feile is organised by instructors from McConnell School of Dance in an effort to allow our students and those from other nearby schools the opportunity to compete, place, and advance levels without the burden of long distance travel.

Canada Feile is open to all students from McConnell School of Dance, from all Divisions.  Dancers do not need to register for competitive division in order to compete at Canada Feile, although we do recommend Competitive Division classes for students who are serious about competing and wish to move on to higher competitive levels.


2016 - Ann English (A.D.C.R.N)

2017 - Lena McGinley (A.D.C.R.N)

2018 - Ann English (A.D.C.R.N)

2019 -  Brian Cleary (A.D.C.R.N)

Competitive Irish Dance Information

There are several major competitive Irish Dance organizations world-wide who offer either Open or Closed Platform Irish dance

competitions. Open platform competitions are open for any dancer, from any school to participate. Closed platform competitions
are limited to only open to those who belong to a particular organization.
Why Compete?

Competitions help motivate students to set individual goals and improve their technique.


Competitive Irish dancers have the opportunity to travel and meet other Irish dancers from around the world.

Improving technical skills in dance takes a great deal of self-discipline, patience, focus, hard work and commitment.


Dancers who are dedicated to competing and advancing through the levels through hard work will become better technical

Dancers and learn valuable life skills.