Frequently Asked Questions

 

    What is Irish Dance?

Irish Dance is a mix of soft shoe and hard shoe dancing. It used to be that the counties in Ireland had their own specific style of dance. Now days, most Irish Dance schools teach an evolved form of Munster step style. If you’re interested in the history of Irish dance,  The Story of Irish Dance  by Helen Brennan is an excellent resource.  Most Irish Dance schools develop their own style of Irish Step, but there are under-lying rules for technique and traditions that must be taught correctly in order to be an accomplished step dancer.  And of course, the Irish definitely have their opinions on the subject!  As do we at Irish Dance Idaho!

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    Is competition a part of IRISH DANCE IDAHO?

Doesn't have to be.  Irish dance competitions are traditionally focused on the individual although people can compete in group dances. Our area doesn't offer a lot of competitions and they are expensive and rather exclusive.  Unfortunately, the feeling of competition carries over into the classroom and often into performance situations, pitting friend against friend.  We also don't like to see just a few dancers benefit from competitions due to the expense and travel required.

Performing will always be the focus at Irish Dance Idaho as we feel it gives the dancer a wonderful opportunity to progress, be in the spotlight, to feel the adrenaline rush that performing can bring, work with rather than against other dancers to perform as a team, and helps overcome fears of being on a stage in front of audiences. 

We do offer our students the option of competing at Open Platform competitions. The teachers at IDI work with each student to build their strengths and competition can be a valuable opportunity to gauge ability and meet dancers from other schools across the world. 

We definitely encourage our students to develop an inward focus that helps them to strive to do better every time they dance. This kind of dancer will succeed with whatever they choose to do, not only in dance, but in life in general.  While the IDI instructors competed in the beginning, reaching the Championship level,  These are just a few reasons we have chosen to focus on the performance aspect of Irish Step - hoping to give our students the best possible experience with Irish Dancing and the best possible instruction to keep their muscles and bodies safely performing and dancing correct Irish Dance technique for many, many years to come!

    How young is too young for lessons?

Younger students need to be able to focus for at least a half hour.  If they are overly distracting to the other dancers, we may ask their parents to wait and try again later.  We try to keep it as fun as possible for all our dancers!  But while it may seem fun to them, they are also learning basic technique, beginning to learn what it means to focus, and to follow directions.  It takes some longer than others - but that doesn't matter.  They are never made to feel that they are in a race.

    How old is too old?

If you can hop on one foot you’re fine - at least for ceili dancing!

    What are the costume requirements?

Most Irish dance schools have a distinctive “school dress.” At IDI, we have chosen organic, hand-dyed jersey hand sewn with a specific technique.  Design is a mixture of the Book of Kells and our own Idaho Syringa.  We encourage our school dress if the student is interested in performing and has been dancing at least a year. We try to keep the costs down as much as possible, while still having a classic performing look.  

    How many performances are there per year?

While St. Patrick’s Day week is our busiest in Irish Dance (ten performances in one day is typical) Irish Dance Idaho performs throughout the year. There are usually 2-3 performances per month that are open to the whole school and our advanced dancers often do more!  We are contacted continually and do the best we can to dance when and where we can. It takes a lot of organizing and juggling, as you can imagine! 

    That’s quite a load! Do I have to perform?  

No, but we strongly encourage it and our classes are formatted to teach performances pieces. Some of our students choose to participate for exercise and fun and there is definitely a place for them at IDI.

    Am I required to make it to every performance?

No. We have large classes to allow for people to live their busy lives and still enjoy Irish dance! But if you want to improve and make the most of your Irish Dance experience, you will at least make classes a strong priority. Performances are a great bonus and the dancer will progress even faster and learn the great attribute of commitment and team work that will carry over into their lives!  These are wonderful opportunities to teach dedication and commitment that will carry over into their lives.

    I am an experienced dancer in another form of dance. What can I expect?

It’s difficult to switch from one dance discipline to another, but it is possible! Irish dance has some similar movements to tap, ballet, Highland dance, and many other forms, but Irish dance technique makes all these similar moves unique to Irish dance. It’s a great challenge for an experienced dancer!  We suggest you give it a go and see if it's a good fit for you.