Levels Offered & Descriptions

Class levels at Foley Academy define the technique, skills, movements, and types of steps that dancers will learn. Foley Academy is committed to proper, consistent, and careful training to establish a solid foundation. Simple steps and movements are the building blocks for good technique, which then enables dancers to learn more difficult movements in a safe and skilled manner. Foley Academy classes focus on refining technique before dancers are introduced to harder steps or tricks.

In order to move to the next level, the dancer will need to demonstrate that he/she meets the defined prerequisites. Movements and steps must be executed with proper technique, timing, and no mistakes if a dancer would like to move to the next level class. Foley Academy encourages dancers to practice and exercise outside of class, so that in-class time can be focused on improving routines, learning new movements and steps, and having fun.

Foley Academy offers Irish Dance classes for all levels. These classes focus on developing the knowledge, skills, technique, movements, and steps that enable dancers to execute and perform both solo (individual) routines and Ceili/Team dances. Foley Academy teaches all Ceili dances in accordance with Ar Rince Ceili and the rules and regulations defined by the CLRG.

No matter what the Dancer’s goals are – whether they are related to recreation, competitions, performances, fitness, or fun, Foley Academy helps all of are our dancers reach their goals, while also setting new ones for continued improvement and success. All of our classes help our dancers improve teamwork, communication, and cooperation skills, strengthen their physical fitness and confidence, and above all – make friendships and enjoy their class time!

For dancers participating in competitions, instruction is intensified with a focus on executing and performing routines specific to Irish Dance competitions. Competitive dancers are required to practice at home in order to not only participate in class, but also to register for competitions. Regular practice and exercise outside of class will greatly improve all aspects of your dancing and accelerate your path to reaching your goals.

Classes available for the 2020-2021 Dance Season are listed in the following sections. If you do not see a class to suit your level, please contact shannon@foleyirishdance.com to discuss your options. Foley Academy accepts dancers of all levels and abilities and will work with you to ensure we can meet your requirements.

Beginner I Solo (1 hr. class)

This introductory level is for dancers who have never taken an Irish Dance class or are reviewing and perfecting foundational technique and movements. Dancers are required to wear socks, ballet slippers, or Irish Soft Shoes (Ghillies). This level focuses on the following core requirements:

  • Foundational technique, skills, and posture
  • Musical awareness and timing
  • Beginner solo movements and steps
  • Introduction to Ceili dancing – Progressive dances, round dances, 4-Hand Reel, etc.

Dances taught: Reel, Light Jig, and Slip Jig; soft shoe only.

Dancers are typically in this class for one or two years, depending on the dancer’s ability to demonstrate mastery of all dances.

Beginner II/Advanced Beginner Solo (1 hr. class)

Prerequisite – dancer has demonstrated clear mastery of all required Beginner I core requirements and/or has received approval to register for this level. This level focuses on the following core requirements

  • Improve the foundational technique, skills, posture, rhythm, and timing learned in Beginner I
  • Learn additional soft shoe movements and steps to expand dancer’s knowledge and repertoire
  • Introduce hard shoe technique, skills, movements, and steps
  • Ceili dancing: focus is on 4-Hand Reel and 8-Hand Dances

Dances taught: Reel, Light Jig, Single Jig, Slip Jig, Traditional (fast) Treble Jig,  and Traditional (fast) Hornpipe

Dancers are typically in this level for two or three years, unless the dancer is able to demonstrate mastery of all dances within the first year.

Novice/Prizewinner (1.5 hr. class)

Prerequisite – dancer has demonstrated clear mastery of all required Advanced Beginner core requirements and/or has received approval to register for this level. This level focuses on the following core requirements

  • Continue to improve foundational technique, skills, posture, rhythm, and timing
  • Learn additional soft shoe movements and steps to expand dancer’s knowledge and repertoire
  • Expand hard shoe technique, skills, movements, and steps
  • Ceili dancing: focus is on 4-Hand Reel and 8-Hand Dances

Dances taught: Reel, Light Jig, Single Jig, Slip Jig, Traditional (fast) and Slow Treble Jig, Traditional (fast) and Slow Hornpipe, and Traditional set dances – St. Patrick’s Day and Blackbird, based on Director’s discretion. Soft and Hard Shoes required.

Dancers are typically in this level for two or three years.

Preliminary Champion (2 hr. Class)

Prerequisite – dancer has demonstrated clear mastery of all required Novice/Prizewinner core requirements AND has reached this level in competition. Dancer must receive approval to register for this level. This level focuses on the following core requirements

  • Continue to improve foundational technique, skills, posture, rhythm, and timing
  • Learn advanced and complex soft shoe movements, sequences, and steps to expand dancer’s knowledge and repertoire
  • Learn advanced and complex hard shoe technique, skills, movements, and steps
  • Focus on improving steps for competitions and performances

Dances taught: Reel, Slip Jig, Slow Treble Jig, Slow Hornpipe, Traditional set dances, and Contemporary set dances. Soft and Hard Shoes required.

Ceili/Performance Class (2 hr. Class)

Prerequisites – Advanced Beginner Level and Up. Dancer must be age 8+ and know hop 1,2,3s and sidestep – these will not be taught in this class, and 2 advanced beginner reel steps, light jig steps, and slip jig steps (minimum).

  • January – March, prep for St. Patrick’s Day (March) shows, and learn Ceili dances for the Oireachtas.
  • April – Dec., team competition dancers prepare for the Oireachtas.

Beginner Adult Class (1 hr. class)

This class is for Adults (18+) who have never done Irish Dance or would like to review the foundational movements and beginner steps. Dancers focus on the same core requirements and dances listed in Beginner I above. No experience necessary to join this class.

Advanced Adult Class (1 hr. class)

This class is for Adults (18+) who are have mastered the core Irish Dance movements and beginner steps and are interested in learning more advanced soft shoe steps and hard shoe. Dancers focus on the same core requirements and dances listed in Beginner/Advanced Beginner above. Must have 1 year of Irish Dance experience to join this class.