Learn more about Irish dancing worldwide, our parent organization in Ireland, common terms, how a competition works, etc... 

  • What is CLRG?
  • What is a Region and how does it work?
  • What is a TMRF, TCRG and ADCRG?
  • What is a Feis?
  • What's the difference between a Non-Championship level competition and a Championship level one?
  • What is an Oireachtas?
  • What are Grade Exams?

What is CLRG?

An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG, English: The Irish Dancing Commission) is the oldest and largest governing body for competitive Irish step dancing globally. Founded in 1927, CLRG is responsible for creating a standardised system of Irish dance, music and competition for its member organisations in 26 countries. It organises Oireachtas Rince Na Cruinne (the World Championships) as well as Oireachtas Rince na hÉireann (the All Ireland Championships), and is the central authority for teacher and adjudicator accreditation. It is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland.


What is a Region and how does it work?

There are different geographical regions which represent CLRG throughout the world, for example: RTME (Registered Teachers Mainland Europe), IDTANA (Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America), AIDA (Australian Irish Dancing Association),  SAIDA (South American Irish Dance Association) among others. Teachers organizations are there to represent CLRG in the area and report back to CLRG the development and progress of Irish dance locally.

Each region has its own officers, who contribute to organize everything Irish dance related in the Region: from events, grade exams, the coordination of feiseanna, the promotion of Irish dance and the expansion of CLRG as an organization by the creation of new TMRFs, TCRGs and ADCRGs. 


What is a TMRF, TCRG and ADCRG?

The TMRF is a certificate awarded by An Coimisiún to candidates who have shown a competence in teaching céilí dances as described in Ár Rince Foirne - the official guide to Céilí dances. Further details are available in a word document by clicking on the associated link on the IDC website. Ár Rince Foirne is published by An Coimisiún and is available by post from its offices at 68 Amiens Street, Dublin 1, Ireland.

The TCRG certificate is awarded to candidates who have shown a competence in teaching the ceilí dances as described in Ár Rince Foirne and have also shown a competence in teaching solo dancers. Further details are available on the associated link on the IDC website. It is not necessary to hold a TMRF certificate prior to obtaining a TCRG certificate.

The ADCRG certificate is awarded to candidates who have shown a competence in adjudicating at official competitions, held under the auspices of An Coimisiún. Further details are available on the associated link. It is a requirement of the examination that the candidate already hold a TCRG certificate prior to obtaining an ADCRG certificate.


What is a Feis?

An organized dance competition is referred to as a feis (plural feiseanna), which means “festival” in Irish. It is the standard term used worldwide to refer to an event where comptetitive dance is the centre spot. There are different type of feiseanna: local, regional, national, and international levels. 

At a feis dancers are divided by , standard, age group and dance type. The levels of Irish Dance competitions have two distinct sections: non-championships and championships.


What's the difference between a Non-Championship level competition and a Championship level one?

In non-championship levels, each dance acts as a separate part and moves up at its own individual pace. Non-championship levels begin with the level Beginner. This only contains soft shoe dances. Then, there is Beginner

Advance, where the hard shoe dances start. Beyond that, there is Novice/Primary and then Prizewinner.

A dancer does not move out of Prizewinner until all the dances are placed in a certain range to move on to championships. This range is decided by the dancer’s school.

Championship Level is much different. There are two levels: Preliminary Championships and Open Championships. In any level of championships, a dancer dances two or three rounds: a soft shoe round (for girls reel or slip jig, boys do reel), a hard shoe round (treble jig or hornpipe), and occasionally a non-traditional set dance (this

varies between competitions). A dancer will remain in Preliminary Championships until he or she has placed 1st twice, then will move on to Open Championships. This is the highest level for Irish Dance competitions.


What is an Oireachtas?

An annual regional Championship competition is known as an Oireachtas (plural oireachtasai) which literally means “gathering” in Irish. In South America, Oireachtasai are, for now, non-qualifying events for the World Irish Dance Championship competition (Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne) but it recognises dancers as the very best in South America, which is no small feat! Oireachtas competitions are usually closed to dancers living in a certain geographical region. Each Region is overseen by an Irish dance teachers association, ours is called SAIDA. Usually each region’s Oireachtas moves annually to different cities/countries around the region, and area schools will serve as “hosts.” Teachers and parent volunteers from host schools will typically set up and tear down stages, register dancers and man the stages, run the tabulation and results rooms, and do other various tasks to keep the competition running smoothly.

Dancers competing at the Oireachtas in solo events generally must achieve a certain level of competency to be eligible for the competition, but the decision of a dancer’s readiness for the Oireachtas is necessarily made by the dancer’s instructor (a TCRG), who conducts all registration for the competition.

In South America we will have out own provisional Oireachtas, where the best dancers in the continent will be recognised. The name of the championship is "Oireachtas Rince An Meiriceá Theas - South American Championship".


What are Grade Exams?

The purpose of the Grade Examinations Scheme is to provide a structured framework within which dancers can progress towards an achievable goal.  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 individuals whether they dance solely for health, recreation or competitive reasons or hope to pursue a career in Irish Dancing.

Grade examinations are unlike competitions in that each candidate is individually examined and receives a detailed written assessment of their performance and knowledge of the grade being attempted. They are open to both male and female candidates regardless of age and ability.   

The scheme consists of an optional Preliminary Grade followed by a further 12 grades with each grade becoming increasingly more demanding on the candidate’s skill, knowledge and ability. Each Grade must be passed and 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”.

All 12 Grade Examinations must be completed to be eligible to apply for the TCRG Examination effective from January 1st 2018.


Prelim Easy Reel (122-124 ) and Light Jig (116)


Easy Reel (122-124) and Light Jig (116)


Basic Slip Jig (124) and Single Jig (124)
3 Primary Reel (116-118) and Basic Heavy Jig (96) 
4 Primary Slip Jig (120) and St Patrick’s Day (94)
5 Advanced Reel (113), Basic Hornpipe (144) and the Walls of Limerick
6 Advanced Slip Jig (113), The Blackbird (144) and the Siege of Ennis
7 Advanced Heavy Jig (73), Garden of Daisies (138) and the Four Hand Reel
8 Advanced Hornpipe (113), Job of Journeywork (138) and the Humours of Bandon
9 Two modern set dances, one in 6/8 time  and the other in 2/4 or 4/4 time and the High Cauled Cap
10 Two modern set dances, one in 6/8 time and the other in 2/4 or 4/4 time(different from those in Grade 9) and the Eight Hand Jig
11 Advanced Reel (113), Advanced Slip Jig (113), Advanced Heavy Jig 73), King of the Fairies (130), plus two modern set dances selected by the examiner from a list of 5 submitted by the candidate (different from those in Grades 9 & 10) and the Eight-Hand Reel and Harvest Time Jig
12 Light Double Jig (116), Single Jig (124), Advanced Hornpipe (113), Three Sea Captains (96), Jockey to the Fair (90), plus two modern set dances selected by the examiner from a list of five submitted by the candidate (different from those in Grades 9, 10 and 11) and the Morris Reel and the Sixteen Hand Reel

For Grades 11 and 12 new application forms must be completed and approved by the Examination Authority .  Each of these two Grades must be taken by a different Examiner and that Examiner must be an Examiner from the Údarás (Examination Authority).