World Irish Dance Association

The World Irish Dance Association (WIDA) is an Irish stepdance organisation founded in 2004. It is based primarily in Europe and the United Kingdom, and offers "open platform" competitions that are open to competitors from all Irish dance organisations.[1]

World Irish Dance Association
The World Irish Dance Association Logo re.png
W.I.D.A. World Irish Dance European and World Championships 2013-18.jpg
Awards ceremony at the 2013 WIDA World Championships in Düsseldorf
SportIrish stepdance
Founded2004; 17 years ago (2004)
Official website


WIDA was founded in January 2004 in Düsseldorf, Germany, to cater to a growing number of Irish dance teachers in the European mainland.[2] The demand for Irish dance which prompted WIDA's establishment in Europe had been driven largely by the success of Irish dance stage shows in the 1990s such as Riverdance.[3]

In 2013, WIDA subsumed a number of Irish dance schools in North America previously affiliated with the North American Irish Dance Federation. This substantially increased WIDA's geographic reach beyond Europe for the first time.[4]

WIDA has been praised for its inclusion of adult dancers in competitions, as other Irish stepdance organisations typically offer few competitions for dancers over the age of 25. The inclusion of adult age groups at the WIDA World Championships led to a significant increase in the number of dancers competing. By 2014, there were more than 90 dancers at the Championships over the age of 23, competing in six age groups.[5]


WIDA is an "open platform" organisation, meaning that their competitions are open to dancers registered under any organisation or without affiliation, and conversely, that their dancers may participate in competitions organised by any other organisation. Furthermore, affiliation with WIDA and other open platform organisations is based on adherence to mission statements and values rather than strict registration, as many open platform dance schools wish to remain relatively independent.[6]

WIDA mandates simple costumes of polo shirts and skirts for dancers under the age of 12 competing in the beginner category. Wigs and other hairpieces are also restricted depending on the ability level. However, in the most advanced levels there are fewer costume restrictions and many dancers wear costumes similar to those worn by An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha competitors.[1]


In continental Europe, WIDA is the only major organiser of Irish dance competitions apart from An Coimisún.[7]

WIDA competitions include four categories of entry: beginner, primary, intermediate and open levels which correspond to the grades used by An Coimisiún and other organisations, and which are open to dancers at that level from any organisation. In regular feiseanna dancers in beginner to intermediate level can also enter a premiership where they dance 2 dances (reel and either light jig/heavy jig depending on level/age) and are adjudicated by 3 judges. Those dancers with at least 4 dances in the open level (including 2 heavy dances) can enter preliminary or open championship where they dance either reel/slip jig and heavy jig/hornpipe and are adjudicated by 3 judges. Once a dancer wins 2 preliminary championships with at least 3 competitors they move up to open championships. [8]

WIDA also operates several oireachtais (championship competitions with multiple adjudicators and rounds of competition) annually in Ireland, Great Britain, Germany, Eastern Europe and the United States.[9]

WIDA is one of six Irish stepdance organisations to operate an annual World Championships event.[10]


WIDA uses a system of examinations and qualifications for its teachers and adjudicators which do not assume any prior knowledge of Irish dance, because many of its members are European natives.[11]


  1. ^ a b "In Depth – World Irish Dance Association". Feisonista. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "History". World Irish Dance Association. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  3. ^ Foley, Catherine E. (2016). Step Dancing in Ireland: Culture and History. Routledge. p. 238. ISBN 9781317050056.
  4. ^ Dorrity, Christy (3 September 2013). "National Irish Dance Federation and World Irish Dance Association merge". IrishCentral. Retrieved 9 November 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Dorrity, Christy (10 May 2014). "How old is too old to compete as a world champion Irish dancer?". IrishCentral. Retrieved 9 November 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Egan; John (October 2016). "Who Runs The Global Dance World?" (PDF). Irish Dancing Magazine. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  7. ^ Schmeisser, Wilhelm; Seifert, Anja; Hummel, Thomas R. (2010). Globalkompetenz durch Länderstudien II [Global Competence in International Studies II] (in German). Rainer Hampp Verlag. p. 9. ISBN 9783866185432. Retrieved 10 November 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Competitions List - Oireachtasi". World Irish Dance Association. Retrieved 10 November 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Egan, John (3 May 2017). "So many Irish Dancing World Championships - The Irish World". The Irish World. Retrieved 10 November 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Irish Dance Organizations". Irish Dance Today. Retrieved 10 November 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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