Culkin Ceili and Figure Choreography Team FAQs

What is an Oireachtas?

  • Oireachtas (pronounced “O-ROCK-TUS”) is an annual regional Irish Dance championship competition. Jeopardy question alert: the Oireachtas Éireann, is the legislature of Ireland, and the word itself means gathering in Irish.

What is the Southern Region?

  • The Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance is part of the Southern Region, one of the seven regions in North America.
  • The Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America (IDTNA) Southern Region is comprised of teachers and adjudicators registered with An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha in 14 states, the District of Columbia and Mexico. The region includes Alabama, Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Mexico.


What is the Southern Region Oireachtas (SRO)?

  • The regional championship competition for the Southern Region.
  • The SRO is a prestigious competition and serves as a qualifying event for the National and World Competitions.
  • The SROs is the weekend after Thanksgiving and where it is held rotates within the southern region every year.
  • The 2018 SRO will take place Nov 30- Dec 2 in Houston, TX. Click on the link to the SRO Home Page.


When do hotel reservations open up?

  • Monitor the IDTNA-SR facebook and twitter feed for details about the discount hotel block.
  • These fill up very fast so you need to book as soon as they open.
  • Information on hotel reservations will be posted in early August.


What is the daily schedule for SROs?

  • According to the SRO website, the tentative daily schedule is as follows (specific order and start times TBD).
  • Friday: Adult Championship,  Senior Ladies 22 and over,  Girls Under 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Boys Under 8, 9,10,11,12, 13,14, and All Traditional Set Competitions
  • Saturday: Senior Men 20 and Over,  Boys Under 18, 19, 20,  Ladies Under 20,  All Team Events,  College Ceili
  • Sunday: Girls Under 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, Boys Under 15, 16, 17

When should dancers travel to SROs?

  • Plan to arrive the day before and stay until the day after your competition as competitions can be early morning and awards can be late in the evening
  • There is a team practice session in the afternoon/evening before the competition.

What are the competitions at SROs?

The competitions at Oireachtas include solos, traditional set and teams.


  • Championship (Prelim and Open) dancers may dance solos at SRO which is similar to a champ competition at a feis.  The dancers are divided by age and gender then each competitor performs a hard shoe dance (treble jig or hornpipe) and a soft shoe dance (reel or slip jig) specified by the Oireachtas syllabus. Dancers who recall then dance a set dance.

Traditional Set (“Trad Set”)

  • Non-champ level dancers can compete in the Traditional Set Competition.
  • It is a one round dance with a recall for dancers who have placed (usually the top half).
  • Hardshoe dances that use choreographies that have been part of Irish dance for centuries.  Like a feis, the dancers are grouped by age but have a choice of dance.

Teams: This year Culkin will compete in the Ceili Teams Competitions.

  • Ceili Teams:  The competitions are divided by age groups and team type (4-hand/8-hand/girls/mixed). The instructors pick which dance each team will dance.
    4 Hand Ceili (4 dancers)
    8 Hand Ceili (8 dancers)
  • Figure Choreography
    Figure choreography is a team dance performed by 8-16 dancers that tells a story with an Irish theme without any props.  The dance alone tells the story.

Who are the Culkin Queens

Why should my dancer participate in teams?

  • Being part of a ceili or figure choreography team is first and foremost…FUN!
  • A valuable way for dancers to connect with the tradition of Irish dance, learn more about Irish culture and dance history,
  • Develop teamwork skills and forge bonds with other dancers.
  • Learning the ceili dances means that you can join in at social gatherings (ceilis).


 What will my dancer need to participate on a team or figure choreography?

  • Being part of a team or choreography is a commitment.
  • The success of the team depends on everyone who is part of it.
  • Dancers need to fully commit including weekly practice, extra practices during the summer and before SROs
  • Compete at Feis Culkin and the SRO 2018 in Houston
  • Costume (for new parents, you will have help with this)
    • All the dancers look alike
    • All teams wear the Culkin school dress (or vest) and age appropriate matching wig with headband
    • If you do not have a school dress you will need to get one before Feis Culkin in November

Why should my dancer participate in traditional set competitions?

  • Experience competing at a major competition before becoming a champ level dancer
  • Develop foundational dance skills
  • Learn more about Irish culture and dance history
  • Preserve the traditional choreographies of Irish dance for future generations.

Travel tips to minimize cost?

  • Consider flying Southwest Airlines because you can cancel or change flights without fees. Note: Southwest is already booking through the SROs in December 2018.
  • Try to take advantage of the hotel block discount. If the Marriott Marquis fills up, there will likely be additional blocks at nearby hotels.
  • Some families have had good luck using travel reward points from credit cards (e.g. put your dance tuition on a Chase Sapphire, Southwest, Hilton or Marriott Card during a point promotion and use the points to book reward travel).

I have never been to an SROs. How will we know what to do and where to go?

  • You will be part of a team!
  • There will be lots of information shared prior to the event and there will be lots of experienced families to help.
  • There is usually a room in the hotel rented for use by the Culkin School. The dancers can gather in this room to get ready, warm-up, and hang out when they are not competing.
  • When the competitions are over, many kids say the best part of the SROs is the hotel pool.

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