Northeast Ohio Feis Weekend Day 2 – Cleveland

I’m going to open this posting by telling everyone that I am a bit biased when it comes to the Cleveland Feis because our school is very actively involved in running it and we, as students, are required – make that strongly encouraged – to attend. That being said I’ll try to make my critique of the feis as fair as possible. If any readers attended the Cleveland Feis over the Memorial Day weekend have a different opinion or something else to add please feel free to chime in.

Since our students are encouraged to participate in team dances we get there early to practice. With the feis starting at 8:30 this usually means arriving somewhere between 7:30 and 8:00am depending on how prepared your dancer is – wig, socks, costume on and ready to go or (like my girl) just rolled out of bed, down the stairs and into the car while I’m shoving a Pop Tart into her mouth. Luckily for me I can get there in 20 minutes (depending on traffic lights) and still be okay. The venue is located on the campus of Cleveland State University in the basketball/concert arena and surface lots are available for parking for a fee of $5.00 and up. You can also park on the street for free if you can find a place. I have mixed feelings about the Wolstein Center for a  feis venue. On one hand the seating is nice (stadium style with padded seats and backs), the stages are large and separated by curtains so the music doesn’t bleed through and there’s enough restrooms. On the other hand you can’t really camp, you’re always crawling over other people to get in and out of the seats and you’re at the mercy of the food vendors with their event style pricing. The Cleveland Feis prohibits coolers and any outside food/beverages being brought in. The first year we attended this feis they went so far as to check our bags and we were asked to take any food items back to the car. They’ve since stopped checking and I lace my daughters dance & dress bags with as many snacks, sandwiches and bottles of water that I feel I can get away with. Still I always make sure I give the hubby enough cash in case I have to post bail.

As for the feis itself. The competitions started on time and ran smoothly. The first judge on my daughter’s stage was there the entire morning but the afternoon judges rotated evenly. Results came up s-l-o-w-l-y……I felt for a moment I was back in Akron but since my daughter didn’t dance her first solo competition until 1:30pm this didn’t effect us too much. A friend who was working the results room  said they were sitting around waiting for the results to be handed to them so there had to be some disconnect between the runners for it to take about hour (or longer) to get the morning’s results. The Championship awards area is nicely set at the end of a row of stages and also doubles as spacious practice area when not in use for awards. The vendors are housed in an alcove with the grade awards so there’s good traffic for them. Used dresses can be hung around the perimeter of the arena which makes a nice display rather than being bunched up on hangers.

Am I missing anything – venue, food, start time, results, awards, Champs awards area. I think I got it covered. The last item is a nit pick on my part and has to do with stage assignments. For the past two years my daughter dances her team dance at 9am then sits around until 1:30pm to dance her first solo dance. Once those start, her competitions are one after another with dancers not getting the chance to catch their breath and regroup before lining up again. The girls in my daughter’s competitions literally bowed to the judge and walked right back to their seats for the next competition or ran to their parents for a shoe change before checking in again. That’s hard enough on an older dancer but these are 8 and 9 year old girls. I heard from a friend of mine that her son’s competition got moved and they got to the new stage just in time to get him checked in but he was so flustered he didn’t do well in that dance. Again – picky things but these are stresses the dancers don’t need.

This weekend we’re shuffling off to Buffalo. It will be a new experience for us as we normally go to Detroit which is the same day and the same driving distance for us. I really like the Detroit feis – especially the venue, food prices and the fact they sell beer but I felt we needed a change of pace. A couple good friends are going to Detroit so hopefully I can report on that feis as well. Til next time – Slainte!


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