do Irish Dancing
little difficult to explain, but I'll try!
|The first thing to
remember is that at all times during the dance
your arms must
be straight and held down by your sides (Like a
soldier at Attention)
Start with your feet together with the heel of
your right foot by the toes of your left foot.
Feet at 90° to each other. This will mean your
right knee has the left tucked behind.
This position is the normal position after each
step, changing to ending with the left foot in
front instead, and vice versa.
|The Basic Steps
There are three basic
steps to Light shoe dances, around which all
dancers are built.
Teachers weave these into their choreography in
different ways and vary them slightly, but if
you can't master them in their basic form you
will never really make the grade as a step
The basic steps are the
Jump Threes, the Hop Threes and the Sevens or
Jump Threes (basic step)
Start in Basic Position
1) Now lift the front leg (in this case the
right) keeping it dead straight with the toes
curled forwards, so don't try to lift too high.
(The worst thing you can do is point your toes
up so that people see the soles of your shoes)
Jump off the foot still on the floor onto the
raised foot, landing just in front of where it
As you jump bring the back foot up to kick your
This is all done at the same time so takes
2) As you land, step forward onto the original
back foot, placing it just in front of the other
3) Tuck the original front foot "behind" to end
up in "basic position" but with the other foot
now in front
Jump threes are always started from whichever
foot is in front.
Do threes very slowly to start with and build up
speed. One Three per bar of music.
Once you have the hang of them try the lead
Hops threes (basic step)
Start in Basic Position
1) Hop on the back foot as high as possible,
landing back on the same foot.
At the same time the front foot is brought up
across the knee of the other leg, as high as
(try to touch your hip with your toes)
2) step very slightly forward on front foot
3) tuck back foot behind
Hop threes are always started by hopping off
whichever foot is behind. One three per bar of
Sevens or side step (basic step)
1) is a hop or jump
2) The leading foot is moved to the side
(for example, the leading foot is the right one
so move right, left foot move left)
3) back foot moves the same direction but
4) front foot again
5) back foot behind again
6) front foot again
7) back foot behind again
|All Irish Step dances
follow the same basic pattern.
There are usually several
The Lead Round
The First Step
The Second Step (or Lead
As the dances become more
advanced these become a little harder to
distinguish. However in the early stages they
are very easily defined. Below is a basic
|A Beginners Reel
this is a Beginners Reel,
so choose Reel music. Try not to make it too
fast, as this is hard work!
A Reel is a soft shoe dance so either get some
proper Irish shoes, or use ballet shoes or the
like (preferably black)
For a costume you need something with a shorter
skirt (above the knee) with plenty of material
so that you can lift your legs freely. A Sports
skirt would be fine, although something a little
more colourful would be better.
A simple white blouse with loose sleeves would
also suffice. If you really want to look
traditional then take a simple scarf and pin it
onto the left shoulder. Then drape it across the
back and pin it at the waist on the right side.
Count the bars in your
mind, stood in basic position.(the bars are
usually easy to count in Irish music)
At the first note of the sixth bar point your
front foot and toes forward moving the leg ahead
of the back foot so that only the toes touch the
Keep your feet in the same turned out position
as in basic position.
You do not start dancing until the first note of
the ninth bar
The lead round is simply
Eight continuous Jump threes in a circle,
alternating leading legs.
You must end up back where you started, facing
the front again.
As each persons jumps are different don't try to
follow someone elses circle.
Hop three twice
Hop Seven side step to right
Jump three twice
Jump seven side step back to left
repeat A but to opposite side
Repeat A again but this time move forward more
with each hop three (on step 2 of the three)
repeat C but opposite (your sevens should be
along the very front of the stage)
Repeat Lead round (eight jump threes), but
instead of creating a circle just curve back to
end your last three facing the front again in
your original starting place in basic position
To finish any Irish Step dance do the following
Point your front foot as
if starting, and bow from the waist, head and
face up, arms still by your side.
Then turn towards the musician (or person
running the music machine) and bow in the same
way to them.
This is a recognised show of respect that all
Irish dancers uphold, and it looks very smart.
Stand up straight, turn left and walk off stage
with arms still by sides, and still straight
legs and pointed toes.
to learn more? Click here for details on the
best Irish dance videos on the web.