AGE GROUP BOYS AND GIRLS PRE-SCHOOL - ADULT
is a sport that began centuries ago in Ireland, and has since migrated
to other parts of the world. There are three types of Irish Dance:
Step Dancing, Ceili Dancing and Set Dancing. Both Ceili and Set Dancing are
performed with other dancers and are both social dance forms. Step
Dancing is solo oriented and is more formalized.
start Irish Dance....
There is no real age requirements for
Irish dance. On average most students begin at seven years old.
However there are programs available for younger children as well as
adults. A child must be able to stay in class without a parent and
must follow basic dance instruction in order to begin Irish Dance.
If you want your child to compete as a solo dancer and achieve high
awards consider starting them at a young age.
of Irish Dance....
The levels of Irish
dance will vary depending on the region where you live but
usually coincide with beginner, novice, prizewinner, and championship
Everyone begins with the
light jig, then moves to reel, then slip jig, and then progresses to hard
shoe. Your child will progress levels within each dance and not
all dances at the same time. Progression is a matter of skill, age and
experience. For instance they could have slip jig in novice
and all the rest of their dances in beginner. Listed below is an
example of how progression takes place.
is someone who has just started Irish dance lessons.
- A beginner becomes
an advanced beginner
the following year.
- If a dancer places
1st, 2nd or 3rd in a dance he/she will progress to novice in
that particular dance.
- A novice dancer who
places 1st, moves up to prizewinner in that particular dance.
- A prizewinner who
has placed 1st in a reel or slip jig and a jig or hornpipe moves up
to preliminary championships
- Any dancer who wins
two 1st places in preliminary championships in one calendar year,
must move on to open championship.
Timing, posture, rhythm,
presentation, execution and complexity of steps are all considered by
the adjudicator when judging a dancer.
will vary based on the studio.
dance studio in early Spring to find out their registration policy.
It is ideal to start your child in classes in the beginning of a
studios will register in late Spring or early Summer for September
classes. Enrollment for new students, at some studios, is on-going
throughout the year. Sometimes a studio will offer a trial period
for one month and then after that you will be
committing for the entire season or session. Normally these programs are very
popular and space is limited so don't delay registration or you may miss
Irish dance classes
meet one time per week on a regular schedule. A class will run for
1 hour. When you register for dance you are signing up for the
entire season. Classes will run all year long with performances
throughout. Good attendance is imperative. Absences and
tardiness will result in your child missing important instruction time.
Practice in dance is extremely
under-rated. Dance students many times do not consider practice an
integral part of their learning. This is in fact a fallacy;
practice is a necessity to show consistent progress. In order for your child to correctly perform several different dance elements they must be
able to do it automatically without thinking about the moves. This
will only come from repetition. Children should practice what they
remember. If your child does not remember a step or move it will
be reviewed many times in class until it becomes easy for them to memorize. They
can also write down their steps in a notebook after each class to help
them remember what to practice.
Irish Dance can get
expensive as your child progresses. Cost include: lesson fees,
hard and soft shoes, solo dresses, hair items, feis (competition) fees
and practice gear.
An Irish Dance class
will normally cost 50.00 to 60.00 dollars per month for one class per
week. Your total tuition will be based on the total number of
classes your child takes per month. You will receive a discounted
rate for multiple classes. Payment is made on a monthly basis or
some studios will group costs into four tuition payments for the year.
In addition, you will be charged a one time processing fee of 25.00 or 30.00 dollar.
You will also need to purchase practice wear and the proper shoes for
the class that your child is taking.
Your child will
participate in numerous performances throughout the year: charity
functions, weddings, parades and feisanna to name a few. Different
schools have different requirements for dress for these events. You will need to check with your teacher to find out their
The majority of dance studios do not have a standard attire for
practice. Most girls are required to wear biker shorts or tights
with a tee shirt. Boys usually wear soccer shorts and a tee shirt.
It is necessary for the dance instructor to have an unrestricted view
of legs, knees and feet. Dance socks, called poodle socks, should be worn. It is important to bring a water bottle to
class. Dance bag to hold all of the equipment is optional but
As for shoes, Irish dancing shoes have become recognizable icons of the
your child can wear any type of soft dance shoe such as ballet shoes.
Once they begin to perform or compete it is necessary to purchase Irish
Dance shoes. There are two types: soft shoes (ghillies) and hard shoes
Beginners and Advanced Beginners wear soft shoes only. They are made
from soft leather that conforms to the foot and laces around the ankle.
These should be tight on the foot for proper and safe execution of the
dances. Step dancers wear two different types of shoes: Soft shoes
and Hard Shoes. Girls and boys wear different types of soft shoes
but the same type of hard shoe. Hard shoes have fiberglass toes
and heels that produce the distinctive and mesmerizing rhythms.
Entering competitions is
encouraged in studios but is not mandatory.
Beginning students are not
required to wear full costumes to enter competitions. Each dance school has its own special
costume that delineates the spirit of the school.
Girls wear a "team or school dress" if
they are competing in non-solo competition or if they are a beginner.
This will many times consist of a skirt or jumper and white blouse with
a peter pan collar. Short sleeve blouses are worn in the Spring and
Summer and long sleeve are worn in the Winter.
In competition (Feis),
the attire is very strict. Once a female reaches a certain level of
competition it will be necessary to purchase a solo dress. Solo
dresses are one of a kind and will be made for your child. A solo
dress can run between $750 - $1500 depending on the detail of the dress.
male dancers do not wear an elaborate costume. Boys often wear
black pants with a white shirt and tie or sometimes the traditional kilt
with knee socks. Some will also add the embroidered belt.
There are several things to consider
when evaluating a dance studio. First, you should determine the
size of the classes. The fewer students in a class the more
personalized attention each student will receive. Second, you need
to know what all of the hidden costs are. Third, check to make
sure there is someone available at all times to answer your questions.
The office staff who is also the full time instructor may be spreading
themselves much too thin. Lastly, discuss with them their
involvement with competition and what other activities are offered to
the students throughout the year. For instance how do they get
their students out into the community to dance?
Children who are involved with dance
tend to perform better in school due to the fact that they have learned
the importance of dedication, focus and practice. Irish dance is
great exercise and will increase poise. In addition, dance also gives
your child a sense of self confidence that will help them in the future.
Music to purchase....
You should invest in a wide
variety of CD's for your dancer to practice to. These CD's can be
purchased on-line, at competitions or in dance studios. Titles by
Pat King, Olive Hurley, Tony Nother, Jim Butkem or Merv Bell are good
Irish Dance competitions
follow rules created by the Irish Dancing Commission in Dublin, Ireland.
All registered teachers and feisanna must abide by these set rules.
In addition, the Irish Dancing Teachers Association of North America (IDTANA)
set rules on a region basis that are required to be used in the United
States and Canada.
"Kay-lee". An irish dance party with group and pairs dancing.
An Irish dance
competition. Pronunced "Fesh
The soft dance
shoes with laces used by girls and women.
A traditional hard shoe dance.
A judge at a
most dancers begin.
A traditional soft shoe dance.
Great Activities for Kids....
A wonderful way for children to express their creativity,
while at the same time learning fundamental skills that
will improve their artistic endeavors.
teaches the importance of
dedication, focus and practice.
you to set goals and progress steadily towards them
with the help of your instructors.
the foundation for all sports because it teaches your child to control
is a great family activity and it is
something that kids love to do.