Levels Offered & Descriptions

Class levels at the 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. 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 Solo 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 routines in an individual (solo) manner.

Much of what the dancers learn in a Solo class can also be applied to Ceili/Team dancing and performance routines. 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.

Below, we describe the levels that will be offered for the 2019-2020 Dance Season. However, if you are looking to register your dancer for a level that we do not  have listed (Novice or higher), please contact shannon@foleyirishdance.com. 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 and Light 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 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 years, unless the dancer is able to demonstrate mastery of all dances within the first year.

Ceili/Performance Class (2 hr. Class)

Prerequisite – dancer must be age 7+ and enrolled in a regular solo class with Foley Academy. Dancer must be comfortable dancing sidesteps and hop 1,2,3. Dancer must be interested in Ceili (group) dancing and learning performance/show routines.

  • Focus on 4-Hand Reel and 8-Hand Dances
  • Learn treble reel steps and choreography
  • Learn group choreography for local performances and recitals

Adult Beginner & Core Review (1 hr. class)

This class is for Adults (18+) who are looking to focus on learning the core Irish Dance movements and steps, as well as Ceili dances. The majority of the classes will focus on Ceili dancing, but there will be some time allocated to beginner solo steps for Reels, Jigs, Slips Jigs, and Single Jigs. Dancers are required to wear lightweight tennis shoes or Irish soft shoes (Ghillies).

Adult Ceili & Solo (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 Ceili dances. Half of the class time will focus on Ceili dancing, and the second half will focus on Advanced Beginner and Novice solo steps for Reels, Jigs, Slips Jigs, Single Jigs, and hard shoe dances. Dancers are required to wear lightweight tennis shoes or Irish soft shoes (Ghillies), as well as hard shoes.