What's "Open Platform"?
There are many Irish dance organizations that sanction feiseanna (the Irish Gaelic plural for feis) and certify instructors and adjudicators. Different organizations have different structures, goals, and philosophies.
Though many Irish dance teachers join the organization they were trained in, teachers can choose which organization suits them best. This affects the dancers they teach in a few ways.
Open & Closed Platform
Digital Feis is open platform. Open platform feiseanna are open to everyone regardless of affiliation. Schools belonging to any organization, or none at all, are welcome to compete. These feiseanna may be sanctioned by an organization with its own standard rules, levels, and expectations, or put on by independent schools. Closed platform feiseanna (Irish dance competitions) are only open to dancers whose teachers are current members of the sanctioning organization.
Irish dance teachers have many organizations to choose from. Current organizations include:
- An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG) was the first Irish dancing organization, established in 1930, and is primarily closed platform. Some of their European and Asian feiseanna are open to outside dancers. CLRG is one of the largest organizations worldwide.
- An Comhdháil na Múinteoirí le Rincí Gaelacha Teoranta (“Comhdháil”) was established in 1969. They are closed platform in Ireland and the United Kingdom, and open platform in their Branch of the Americas.
- Festival Dance Teachers Association was established to promote their unique style of Irish dancing in 1971. Though FDTA runs its own festivals, additional groups are choosing to support Festival in their competitions such as Ministry of Irish Dance and Digital Feis.
- Cumann Rince Náisiúnta (CRN) was founded in 1982 and is the longest-running open platform organization. CRN has a special style in its lower levels, as schools learn similar foundation steps passed down from Ita Caldwell, its founder. CRN was the first Irish open platform organization to break into North America.
- Cumann Rince Gaelach (CRG) was established in the 1990s and is open platform. CRG is based primarily in Ireland.
- Celtic Association of Irish Dance (CAID) was established in 2000 and is open platform. CAID is based primarily in England but does have membership in the United States.
- Cumann Rince dea Mheasa (CRDM) was established in 2002 and is open platform. CRDM is primarily based in Ireland, but partners with RTN in the United States for competitive opportunities.
- Celtic and Irish Dance Association (CIDA) was founded in 2002 and is open platform. CIDA is based in Australia, and is the largest open platform presence there.
- World Irish Dance Association (WIDA) was established in 2004 and is open platform. WIDA began in Western Europe and has quickly spread throughout the world, and established the first open platform World Championships.
- Rince Tuatha Nua (RTN) was established in 2013 and is open platform. Based in the United States, primarily in the east, they partner with CRDM for additional competitive opportunities in Ireland.
- Alliance of Irish Dance Teachers (AIDT) was established in 2014 and is open platform. This organization focuses on the independence of a dancing teacher, the human rights of dancing children, and offers a Senior World Irish Dance Championships for adults annually.
Note some open platform organizations, such as the North American Irish Dance Federation (NAIDF), have disbanded.
And these are just organizations focused on modern competitive Irish dancing — there’s so much more to the Irish dancing tradition! If you're passionate about different styles, established in the field, and you want to help include your style in Digital Feis (or its non-competitive program), please email [email protected].