The following are the important basics for our beginner dancers.
How to Tie Your Shoes
Irish dance shoes are tricky only the first few times you tie them, then they become easy :)
It is important to ensure the laces cross in front of the ankle prior to going behind the foot, then wrap under the arch prior to being double knotted. Shoes should always be double knotted to ensure they don’t come undone while dancing.
Posture is key to all dance forms, and Irish dancers are infamous for their poise. Standing tall, shoulders back, arms tucked back, hands in a fist (thumbs in then fingers over top), legs strong and straight and crossed at the knee, legs turned out from the hips so knees, on our toes, and toes point to the outside (turnout).
A basic move which helps dancers with more difficult moves. Done with the legs crossed, from the toes, the dancer jumps off both feet points their toes while in the air, then lands on their toes with legs as straight as possible (resisting the urge to fully bend a the knees).
Similar to a spring, with the addition of the legs trading from front to back and vice versa. Again, toes should be pointed, legs straight, legs turned out, lifting off from and landing on the tipi-toes.
Begin with a hop - lifting the knee high to the belly button with the toe pointed towards the floor (this counts as the ‘1’). Then using the leg that lifted, travel towards that side stepping side-behind-side-behind-side-behind; so the step is counted as hop-2-3-4-5-6-7.
These are done using the back foot - kicking up to the bum then stepping in front - stepping together - then again with the front foot, leaving the weight on the front foot. Counted as skip-1-2-3, or skip-step-together-step. This is then repeated with the new back foot, alternating feet.
This is our beginner reel. It consists of eight over-2-3’s in a circle, sevens to the right and back, sevens to the left and back, then sevens turning on the spot.
Young Beginner Single Jig
This is the modified first step we teach our young beginners. The second step of their single jig is the same as in the beginner single jig.
Beginner Single Jig
This is our older dancer’s beginner single jig. It has two steps, each performed first on the right foot, then inverted on the left foot; the first step is danced in a circle travelling clockwise.
This is our beginner light jig.
The first step is danced in a circle: note how on the first set of three hops, the knee remains lifted for the first two before extending straight into a floating third hop.
It is important to ensure all the little steps are executed, eg: hop back-2-3-4 (this includes 3 small steps at the end).
Beginner Slip Jig
The slip jig can be a tricky dance to master at first. The timing can be challenging, however practice and perseverance pay off! We have the steps videoed separately to aid dancers practicing the portions they are working on.