About Irish Dance

what is irish dance and what is required to learn


SOFT SHOE: Dancers start learning in soft shoes for girls or reel shoes for boys. Immediately, you'll see a beginner dancer learn their "threes and sevens." This is the foundation of all Irish dances. You'll watch a dancer develop poise and grace, always improving body alignment. As the student advances, you'll see them be able to execute more complex steps and to be able to lift him/herself across the stage with the grace of a deer. By this time you'll become aware that there are features to dancing that are distinctly Irish and not found among other dances. The four main soft shoe dances are: the Reel, Light Jig, Single Jig, and Slip Jig.


FIGURES/ CEILI TEAM DANCING : The threes and sevens are being learned, almost immediately, a student will dance with other dancers, performing the same steps in unison. This helps the dancer develop the all-important sense of timing. By the end of the first year, these beginner figures will include hand holding and other arm movements as well as the execution of steps.


HARD SHOE : As the student develops coordination and timing, he/she will need a second kind of shoe, "Hard Shoes", fitted with fiberglass heels and tips. The dancer will learn to make rhythmic sounds using the toe, heel and ball of the foot. From there you'll see the complexity of the steps grow. As a dancer progresses and becomes more adept to the rhythm and timing of the "Hard Dance", we will put together a dance choreographed by your teacher. At this level most dancers have been dancing several years and have gained knowledge, coordination, timing, and discipline. The hard shoe steps are treble jig and hornpipe along with traditional and non-traditional set dances.