An Comhdhail - The Congress of Irish Dance Teachers is an organization created in 1969 and is also known as Comhdháil Na Múinteoirí Le Rincí Gaelacha. There are twenty-nine different branches: Australia, Belfast, Belfast Regional, Belgium, Channel Islands, Connaught, Cork, Derry/Donegal, Dublin, East European Slovakia, Finland, Israel, Japan, Laois, London, London & Home Counties, Midlands, Mid-Ulster, Newry, Scotland, South Derry/South West Antrim, South Leinster, Southern England Region, UAE, USA, Waterford, West Tyrone, and Wicklow. Each branch is responsible for promoting the art and practice of Irish dance in their community. Each branch has a one delegate per fifteen members. The delegate represents their branch at Executive meetings and can be elected into an Executive position. The Executive is responsible for hosting the World Championships and providing awards. They must also pick the adjudicators for the Worlds.
When An Comhdhail was created in 1969, it was a large group of dance teachers from An Coimisiun who formed it. They decided to create a new organization because they felt underrepresented in An Coimisiun. Back in 1969, the majority of Irish dancing was in Ireland, which is why An Comhdhail members are mostly found in Ireland, particularly around Dublin. Now, however, both organizations have expanded to all different parts of the world. At first, An Comhdhail was made up of teachers and adjudicators from An Coimisiun. The organization started holding open platform competitions, meaning that any dancer could enter and compete in their competitions. An Coimisiun responded by closing their platform, which is why many people were hesitant to switch over, as they still wanted to compete in An Coimisiun. When Cumann Rince Naisiunta was established in 1982, An Comhdhail closed their platform. CRN was founded when a group of twelve members from An Comhdhail who wanted to change it up once again. In the An Comhdhail organization, there are now forty-two registered schools and over three thousand dancers that compete at the World Championships each year. The latest Worlds were held in Killarney March 28th - April 4th, 2015.
There are many upcoming competitions in the An Comhdhail organization. Coming up at the end of June are the Braitslava Irish dance Champs, and then two weeks later are the Emerald Championships. Next is the annual Scottish Festival, a great place to enjoy Scottish culture during the competition. Half way through September is the River Clyde Championships, followed by Laois Regional championships a month later. At the beginning of December is the Belfast Branch Christmas Feis, which is always very festive and gets all the dancers into the Christmas theme. This competition is known for their creative ornaments they give as awards. All these competitions and qualifiers are leading up the biggest competition of the year: the World Championships. The 2016 World Championships will be held at the Killarney Convention Centre the last week of March. Over three thousand competitors are expected, and the dancing will be of the highest quality ever!