how do i sign up?
What should i expect from class - Beginner Dancer?
What should i expect from class - returning dancer?
Teini Tini are dancers of 3 or 4 years in age and interested in movement are invited to try our 'Teini Tini' class. It is a 30-minute class focused on developing movement skills and proprioceptive awareness. These dancers will learn skills that will prepare them to learn dance steps in their second year of dance. The class requires a minimum of 6 dancers to be offered.
Wee Ones students are 5 year old beginners. This class is primarily designed to teach the basics of positioning, fundamentals of technique and posture, and the beginning basic steps. These students will perform at our recital and will likely learn three major movements: threes, skips, and sevens.
Dancers 6 years and older typically learn faster than our little ones. These beginners will start with basics of poise and technique, move on to the fundamental movements, and begin piecing elements together for their first reel. Typically dancers beginning at this age will learn their first solo dance and a group dance in their first year.
Beginner students are those who are learning the fundamentals of Irish dance, technique and positioning. These beginner students will be learning and focusing on their Reel, Single Jig, Light Jig, and Slip Jig dances. Progression from their basic movements (threes and sevens) into their choreographed dances, and movement from one dance to the next will depend on dedication and practice. Please keep in mind that dancers learn at different rates, and dancers will be moved from the basic movements and up the progression of dances at their instructor’s discretion.
Intermediate students have learned all their soft-shoe dances with enough of a focus on technique to warrant beginning hard-shoe dances. These students will be learning the basics of hard shoe and may have learned 2-3 hard shoe dances. In addition to learning hard-shoe dances, these students will be learning more difficult soft-shoe choreographies.
Advanced students have multiple levels of choreography in their soft-shoe dances and multiple hard-shoe dances. These dancers will continue to learn a breadth and depth of choreography in both styles of shoes.
Our competitive dancers are grouped according to their placing at fesieanna: Beginner, Advanced Beginner, Novice, Prize Winner, Preliminary Champion, and Open Champion. Dancers are taught material appropriate to their competition level
As a dancer progresses over the years, class duration and frequency increase, and we ask for a larger commitment from the dancers. As a student’s breadth and knowledge of dances increases we require more time in studio to teach more difficult material, time to focus strictly on technique, as well as increased expectations for practicing at home.
Our studio also provides opportunities for our dancers to increase their power, strength, flexibility and other skills that aid in their development as a dancer. We strongly encourage our dancers to take advantage of these opportunities and become the best dancer they can be.
what should my dancer wear to class?
Dancers must come to class in gym/athletic shorts (above the knee), a t-shirt or tank top, white socks and have the appropriate dance shoes. Leggings/sweatpants may be worn for warm ups, but may not be long and loose enough to be a tripping hazard. Hair should be off the face: either in a ponytail, braid, or bun.
Shoes for beginner dancers: Female Irish dancers wear ghillies (aka. soft shoes, girls reel shoes, or pumps) and male dancers wear Reel shoes (with heels) however, beginner male dancers may wear jazz oxfords for their first year.
Dancers must bring a water bottle to class. Food, toys, cellphones and other electronics are not permitted and may be confiscated for the duration of the class.
Dancers are expected to practice at home in addition to their regular dance class(es). When practicing at home, dancers should be in their shoes and using music for practicing to be effective.
If concerned about the effect hard shoes may have on your floor, we suggest some shower pan liner, or a piece of plywood which can be put away in between practice sessions.
We have a 'tutorial' page which provides guidance for dancers as to what material they should be rehearsing.
The amount of time a dancer should practice increases as they progress and advance in their dancing. For example, minimal practice times would be suggest as: brand new/beginner dancers for 15 minutes a couple of times a week; returning dancers for at least 30 minutes 4-6 times weekly; dancers in Novice, Prizewinner, and Championships for an hour each day.
The more a dancer rehearses the stronger they will become, and the faster they will advance in their dances.
where do I find practice music?
Plenty of Irish dance music is available on iTunes for purchase. We use a lot of Sean Softly, Anton & Sully, Pat King, Declan Wilson, Tina Jordan Rees, and Dean Crouch in class, so dancers will be familiar with these tunes. Ensure you have the correct speed; young and beginner dancers should look for music with ‘beginner’ in the track title. If you think you have advanced to a different speed, please check with your instructor as to what speed they would like you to use.
Parents, and siblings, are not permitted to sit in the dance studio and view classes as it can be distracting for dancers and teachers. We have 2 dedicated parent watch days per year that parents are encouraged to attend to see what their dancer has been working on throughout the year.
Cancelled Classes – If your instructor is unable to attend a class, and another instructor is unable to cover, the class will be made-up. Either the instructor will make up the time for those students or those students may be invited to attend another class during the week. If a class needs to be cancelled, at the time of cancellation you will be notified of what the make-up option is.
Classes on Feis Weekend - On a feis weekend where the instructor attends the out of town feis, competitive classes will not occur.
Missed Classes – If you are unable to attend your class due to a conflict on your end, there is no make-up class scheduled.
what costs can i expect?
Annual lesson fees are due at the beginning of the dance year and will vary depending on the amount of lesson time your student has per week. Please check the online schedule or check with your instructor to see when and how often your dancer should be at the studio.
When starting out you will need to purchase soft shoes (anywhere between $15 used and $60 new), and a pair of white bubble socks ($15). Sometimes used shoes are available for purchase at the dance studio.
When your dancer advances into hard shoes these can be purchased either used at the studio depending on availability or new (ranging from $50 used to $200 new). Please see our Irish Community page for options for purchasing new shoes, bubble socks, and other Irish dance items.
Dancers rent costumes from the studio. Costumes vary depending on the level of the dancer, please speak with your instructor about which costume is right for your dancer.
How many performance opportunities are in a year?
There are multiple performance opportunities throughout the dance year available to PGSID dancers. Dancers are asked to sign up and take advantage of these opportunities which include performing at Senior's homes, private events, and community cultural activities.
For upcoming activities, check our calendar.
Our school's major performance event is our annual recital. Held in May, this is an exclusive opportunity for our dancers to demonstrate the result of their hard work throughout the year.
Typically young and beginner dancers make their performance debut at the Annual Recital in the spring. If your dancer is ready to perform prior to the recital, your instructor will inform you.
Competition and irish dance - can i compete?
All our dancers begin by enrolling in our performance stream to learn the basics of Irish dance. Once a dancer has mastered at least one hard shoe dance, they may decide if they wish to begin competing.
We strongly encourage all to consider competing once the requisite skills and material is mastered.
While we do encourage dancers to give competition a try, we understand that the competitive world is not for everyone.
We foster an environment that encourages a love for Irish dance. Our Performance dance stream is run with a focus on skill development and choreographies. Those dancers who do not compete are expected to attend multiples performances throughout the year.
Keep in mind that some dancers pick things up more quickly than others, so determining when exactly a dancer is ready to compete is at the sole discretion of PGSID. Sometimes a dancer may be ready to compete in less than a year and other times it might take a bit longer.
when/where are competitions?
There are multiple competitions (feiseanna) available to dancers throughout the year. As information about registration is available, we will share it with dancers in the competitive stream.
What are grade exams?
Grade exams are competency-based exams wherein a dancer is evaluated by a certified adjudicator against set knowledge and skill requirement. There are 12 grade levels, increasing in difficulty as a dancer progresses forward.
Typically two feiseanna a year offer grade exams, September & May; we offer additional classes to help dancers prepare for their examinations.
Dancers are not required to challenge grade exams, though they are encouraged to consider doing so as another manner of benchmarking and evaluation.
The CLRG (Irish Dance Commission) has instilled a rule that those interested in challenging their TCRG (teaching exam) must have succesfully passed all 12 grades.
What are 'Extra-Cirriculars'?
Extra-curriculars are activities we provide for the benefit of our dancers. These include activities such as yoga classes and dance outs/performances.
We expect our older dancers to take advantage of all activities which will benefit the community and improve their dancing.
Prairie Gael has both Performance and Competitive costumes for our dancers.
The costumes are property of the School and available for rent by dancers. Please contact your teacher about renting your costume.