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Performance Division

Welcome to our 2015 - 2016 Season!
Please visit the member's area of our website often for school information & updates. 
All school updates are sent out via e-mail, if you are not receiving regular, please contact us immediately.
  • 2015 - 2016 Registration will be available soon!

McConnell School of Dance Performance Division was established in 2007.  The Performance Division Troupe performs under "McConnell Irish Dancers" and " Dawnswyr Gwerin Yr Afon Goch" (Red River Welsh Folk Dancers)  and are a professional group comprised of dancers, musicians, and singers.  The McConnell Irish Dancers perform locally at over 60 shows each year and have danced all over the world.   Performance Division dancers are dedicated, hardworking, and willing to commit to dance above all other extracurricular activities.  Dancers must achieve a high standard of Irish dance, exhibit strong performance skills & work as well as a team, in order to perform with the McConnell Irish Dancers.
  • The Performance Division is comprised of a Junior and Full Team and also includes a Senior Team.  Division assigned placement based on dancer's age, skill level and performance abilities.  Not all applicants will gain admission to Performance Division and the school reserves the right to determine placement and enrollment.
  • The Performance Division season is 12 months and dancers are required to commit to shows for the entire duration of the year (Sept 1 - to commencement of lessons in Sept the following year)
  • Lessons are held from September to July (11 months) and students must register for the entire season.

       2014 - 2015 FOLKLORAMA
       2014 - 2015 COMPETITIVE SUMMER
       2015 - 2016 GENERAL DIVISION 
       2015 - 2016 PERFORMANCE DIVISION
       2015 - 2016 COMPETITIVE DIVISION
       2015 - 2016 BRANDON DIVISION

Performance Division Entry
Enrollment in Performance Division is open to all McConnell School of Dance students who have completed at least 1 full year in our general or competitive programs.
  • Performance Division dancers are recommended to take at least 1 competitive class (at their current level) in order to learn  dances used in Performance choreography.  Dancers who compete must register for Competitive Division separately. 
  • In some cases, dancers will be asked to take private / semi private lessons if they are not able to maintain the standard within their team and level.
  • Enrollment in Performance Division does not guarantee a dancer will perform with McConnell Irish Dance troupe.
  • Dancers must learn performance routines and perform them at the high standard required for our performance troupe
  • New members or younger dancers should not expect to perform at every show.  Participation in shows is dependant on many factors which include requirements from the client, dancers contributions to the show, and seniority. 

  1. Registration Form - Completed McConnell School of Dance Registration & payment must be submitted on-line prior to the commencement of lessons  CLICK HERE FOR REGISTRATION
  2. Performance Division Commitment Agreement - All Performance Division Dancers must complete & sign a Performance Division Contract. Please bring printed copy of commitment form to your interviewCLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD
  3. Interview - All Performance Division applicants (Junior, Performance, and Senior) must attend an interview session.  Please bring your signed Performance Division Commitment Agreement to your interview.  CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR INTERVIEW
2017 - 2018 Practice Schedule
  5:30 - 6:30 PM  Junior Team - Warm Up, Soft Shoe & Hard Shoe Technique
  6:30 - 7:30 PM  Junior Team  - Dance Development
  7:30 - 8:30 PM  Performance & Senior Team - Warm Up, Soft Shoe & Hard Shoe Technique
  8:30 - 9:30 PM  Performance Team - Dance Development
  5:30 - 6:30 PM  Junior Team - Choreography Class
  6:30 - 7:30 PM  Junior & Performance Teams - Show Rehearsal & Choreography
  7:30 - 8:00 PM  Junior & Performance Teams - Stretch & Strengthening
  8:00 - 9:00 PM  Performance Team - Choreography Class

Performance Division Levels
Junior Team
Junior Performance is a younger division of our Performance Team for dancers who are dedicated, hard working, and interested in performance-style Irish dance.  Levels within the Junior Team range from Beginner to Advanced (Level 1 - Level 5)
Enrollment in Junior Performance is limited and dancers must complete 1 full season with the school prior to application.  Dancers must be proficient in Beginner Reel & Light Jig in order to enroll in Junior Performance. 
  • Junior Team members are required to attend classes on Tuesdays & Thursdays (4.5 hrs/week)
  •  It is highly recommended Junior Performance dancers attend a competitive class in addition to their Performance lessons.
Junior Performance Team dancers must fulfill all of the Performance Division Requirements (see below)

Performance Team
Performance Team is our main troupe in Performance Division.  The standard for the full troupe is extremely high and dancers must Advanced in Level (Level 4 - 5) Members of our Performance Team should be proficient in all 5 dances in Level 4 or 5, 1 Traditional & 1 Contemporary Set Dance, and an Advanced Treble Reel. 
  • Performance Team members are required to attend classes on Tuesdays & Thursdays (4.5 hrs/ week)
  •  It is highly recommended  Performance dancers attend a competitive class in addition to their Performance lessons.
Performance Team dancers must fulfill all of the Performance Division Requirements (see below)

Senior Performance
Senior Performance is intended for dancers 18 & up who due to school, work, or family, are unable to commit fully to the Performance Troupe. 
  • Seniors Team members are required to attend classes on Tuesdays & the last Thursday class of each month. (2 hrs/week + 2 hrs/month = 2.5 hrs/week)
  • Senior Performance dancers should be previous Performance Division members or dancers who are Level 3 - 5.
Senior Performance members are not required to fulfill all of the Performance Division Requirements for show attendance but are expected to participate in the major performances for the season (Christmas Show, Brandon Winter Festival, St. Patrick's Fest', Recital, and Folklorama)

All annoucements are sent out via e-mail.  If  you are not receiving school email updates, please contact us immediately.
Performance Division Requirements
Performance Division Dancers should not miss
  • More than 1 class per month
  • More than 6 classes per year
  • Dancers should not miss any classes two weeks prior to major performances (Irish Fest, Christmas Shows, Brandon Winter Fest', St Patricks' Fest', St. Patrick's Week Performances, Recital, and Folklorama)

Students registering for the Performance Division must be available for the majority of shows during the dance season
  • Christmas Show
  • Brandon Winter Fest
  • St. Patrick's Fest
  • St. Patrick's Week( approx., 10 days prior to &  including March 17th)
  • Winnipeg Recital
  • Canada Day
  • Folklorama. 

Dancers must maintain a show attendance of no less than 80 % for performances required for their current level, based on hours allocated to each show. Not all Performance Division Levels will be required for every performance.  Details for each show will be posted on Teamsnap.
  • Dancers should confirm participation on Teamsnap least 1 week prior to the Thursday practice before the show. 
  • Week day performances during school or work hours are never considered mandatory.  Performances with less than 1 week notice will not be considered mandatory.  For dancers attending these optional performances, additional attendance hours will be earned. 

Class Etiquette
  • Please try to arrive on time.  If you are late, please knock on the studio door, before entry.  Dancers who arrive late miss valuable warm up time and are at risk for injury.
  • Dancers are asked to bring all shoes and necessary dance items in with them at the beginning of class.
  • Dancers are to remain in the rehearsal studio unless excused by the class instructor.
  • Parents, friends, and family members are not allowed in the rehearsal studio.  Parents, please do not disturb instructors in the studio prior to, or in between classes. 
  • Dancers are to be dressed in appropriate dance attire as outlined in our Dress Code
  • Only dance shoes, dance bags, purses / wallets, and water bottles may be brought into the studio (no food or outerwear). 
  • No cellular phones, video games, laptops, cameras, video cameras, IPods, or books allowed in rehearsal studio.
  • Outerwear and other items not needed in class must be hung on the coat racks outside the studio (for security reasons, do not leave valuables unattended in the dressing room or studios)
  • Respectful behaviour and a positive attitude toward the class instructors and fellow dancers must be demonstrated by dancers and their parents at all times. 
  • Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class. Parents are asked to email info@mcconnelldancers.com mailto:info@mcconnelldancers.com   or call / text (204) 793-8557 to inform us of their child's absence from class
  • Instructors are not available for discussion with parents before or during classes. 
  • If issues which need discussion arise, dancers will be offered time at the end of class to speak with instructors and/or parents.  All issues will need to be discussed immediately after class.  Please do not email or text your instructors on their own time with regards to issues which should be dealt with at the studio.

Attitude and Team Spirit
All Performance Division members are expected to show a positive attitude at all times and work together as a team. 
  • Equal value is placed on dancer's positive attitudes as well as their skill as a performer in the Division. 
  • Hard work and dedication is required in class and with at home practice.
  • Dancers must demonstrate a willingness to learn new things and a desire to improve as a dancer and performer.          
  • Competitive or mean-spirited behaviour will not be tolerated from dancers or their family members.
  • Disrespectful behaviour towards Instructors, and Performance Division executive members from dancers or their family members will result in suspension or expulsion from the Performance Division.

Support of family members
Participation in the Performance Division requires a great amount of commitment from dancers, but also requires a large commitment on the part of dancer's family members.   There are many additional expenses with additional lessons, costuming, dance supplies, and travel to and from performances.   Parents must be able to arrange their child's transport to lessons and performances.  Often this includes long waits in lobbies, parking lots and delays due to performances which may run behind schedule. We strongly encourage parents to car-pool to lessons and performances in order to save on time and fuel. 
Family members are also expected to work cooperatively with McConnell School of Dance and follow all policies of Performance Division.  Difficulties with parents or family members may result in dancers' removal from the Division.

Dress Code
Lesson Attire
All dancers should have a good pair of runners with them for every class
Female Dancers
  • Tights, leotards, body-suits, dance pants, and dance skirts are acceptable
  • Shorts are allowed as long as they are made from a stretchable fabric
  • Plain t-shirts are permissible as long as they allow for movement.  Overly large sweatshirts may not be worn in class
  • Hair should be tied back securely jewelry should be limited
Male Dancers
  • Shorts made with stretchable fabric are acceptable
  • Pants are allowed as long as they are loose fitting
  • Plain t-shirts which allow for movement and are not overly large are preferred
Show Attire
Performance Division dancers will need to wear the basic McConnell School of Dance uniform to and from shows
. A School clothing order will be placed at the beginning of the season and dancers are expecrted to have the requipred school clothing for the season
  • McConnell Irish Dancers Track Suit - pants & jacket
  • McConnell Irish Dancers Skort (Females) / McConnell Irish Dancers Shorts (Males)
  • McConnell Irish Dancers or McConnell School of Dance Yoga Pants & Jacket
  • McConnell Irish Dancers Green V-Neck T-Shirt and Red T-Shirt
  • Black Soft Shoe or Black Hard Shoe Trainers
Black Trainers are required for ALL Performance Division Dancers and MUST be worn to and from Performances. Black sneakers may be used as substitute for younger dancers who cannot fit standard trainers.
Please bring trainers to every show

Academic Standards
All Performance Division dancers under 18 will need to maintain their academic standard and parents are asked to advise us immediately should there be concerns with school marks.  Dancers whose grades fall behind will be placed may be placed on leave of absence from the Performance Division until their marks improve.  Dancers are not required to bring their report cards, however if parents feel this is helpful we will certainly assist in checking report cards regularly.

Dancer Injury
Irish dance is a highly demanding physical activity.  Minor injuries (stiffness, aching muscles, minor bruising, and blisters) can be common for some.  Dancers who have long lasting issues or isolated pain as a result of Irish dance will be asked to seek treatment from a physician immediately.
Dancers who are injured are expected to attend class so they do not fall behind with their routines
. Instructors reserve the right to limit dancer's activities in class due to their injury or as part of the recovery process.  Parents are asked to fully support us in these decisions as our aim is always for the best interests of our dancers safety and health.
Depending on the type of injury and the severity, some dancers may experience delays or setbacks with the progress in Irish dance.  This is normal and should be expected from dancers recovering from an injury. Instructors and assistants will work with the student as best they can in class, however in some cases dancers may be asked to take private lessons or switch levels.

School Communication
Instructors are not available for discussions with dancers or parents before oe during the lesson.  Issues arrising at class or after performances should be dealt with at the end of every class.  Please limit texts to urgent matters and during studio buisness hours only.
  • Unless  an absolute emergency, please do not disturb instructors during class time.
  • Please avoid sending Facebook messages, unless absolutely necessary.
  • For non-urgent matters, please contact us via email at info@mcconnelldancers.com
  • For serious issues, please contact us by phone or email to schedule a meeting.

All communication, newsletters, and school notices, are sent through email. Please provide a current email address on your registration form to receive school information throughout the dance year and notify us immediately should you have a change of e-mail. 

Performance Division Status
Dancers are required to fulfill all obligations for their current Performance Division level.  Students with regular status will receive full benefits from Performance Division.

Conditional Status
Dancers who do not comply with the terms and conditions of the Performance Division may be placed on Conditional Status. Conditional status within the Performance Division may include the following;
  • Requirement for additional dances, practices or technique training
  • Exclusion from individual dances, performances, and travel.
  • Reduction in funding or removal of Performance Division subsidy
  • If the requirements of Performance Division are not fulfilled during the current dance season, conditional status members may receive a 1 year suspension from the Division. 

Mature / Senior Status
Over 18 dancers who, due to school or work obligations are not in a position to attend performance lessons or shows full time.

Dancers who fail to comply with the terms and conditions of the Performance Division may receive a 1 year suspension from the Performance Division.  After 1 year, students will be re-evaluated without prejudice.

Leave of Absence
Dancers with extenuating circumstances may be granted a leave of absence from lessons or Performance Division shows.  If dancers are unable to complete the season with Performance Division due to family or work matters, they are encouraged to apply for a Leave of Absense in order to maintain their status for future years in Performance Division

Performing with McConnell Irish Dancers
McConnell Irish Dancer's Performance Division dancers perform at Brandon Winter Fest',  St. Patrick's Fest', Recital, and Folklorama, in addition to over 60 shows throughout the season.
  • Decisions regarding which dances a student performs are left to the discretion of the instructors and the school as it is our responsibility to consider the entire group and maintain a professional quality performance.
  • Our performances include both traditional and modern style Irish dances.  Traditional Ceili dances and choreographed routines for our classes have a set number of dancers required for each dance.  There are times when dancers must share a position.
  • Due to our commitment to sponsoring the United Kingdom Pavilion, some of our shows will include Irish, Welsh, English, and Scottish dance.  All Performance Division members are expected to participate in every aspect, not just Irish dance performances. 
Show Information
All performances are listed on Teamsnap.  Updates are sent via email so please check your email or Teamsnap app prior to leaving for each show as details can change at the last minute.
  • Please try to arrive on time for shows and allow for traffic or parking delays.
  • If you are running late, please do not speed and risk accident. 
  • Always arrive with your wig on, socks & tights on, and make-up applied.
  • All dancers will need to be checked in and out of dressing room for our major performances St. Patrick's, Recital, and Folklorama.  Dancers under 12 will require an authorized parent or guardian to check out.
  • Parents are not allowed in dressing rooms at any performance, unless they are designated as dressing room volunteers.
  • Parents should not ask to communicate with Instructors at a performance as their attention must be focused on the show & no studio or Student's Association related business should be discussed at performances
  • Applying make-up and changing costumes in public washrooms should be avoided, if possible.
  • Be respectful of limited amounts of space in dressing rooms, especially when sharing with other performing groups. 
  • Healthy, non-messy snacks and drinks (clear liquids) are recommended for all dancers in the dressing room at performances as dancer's burn a great deal of energy.  Please send peanut free snacks as we have dancers with allergies.
  • Practicing in public is considered unprofessional and dancing in lobbies, waiting rooms or hallways is not permitted (unless under the supervision of a teacher)
  • Leave dressing rooms clean after using them.  Please take garbage home with you, if refuse containers are not provided.
  • It is customary and considered good form for dancers or groups who perform at the same show to politely watch each other's performance (if possible) and offer congratulations on successful show.  Please make every effort to foster good relations with other dancers and groups at shows.
  • Please do not discuss or grade other dancers or groups in public and refrain from making derogatory remarks about other performers.
  • Please remember that while wearing your McConnell Irish Dancer's attire, or costume, you are representing the entire school and appropriate and polite behaviour is expected at all times.
General Rules For McConnell Dancers & Families in Staying Hotels on Dance Trips
Dancers & accompanying family members are expected to uphold the good reputation McConnell Irish Dancers have established through years of hard work in building relations with our many out of town booking clients.  Any violation of the policies below from dancers or their family members will result in dancers being sent home (at their own expense) and could result in expulsion from Performance Division.
  • Good & respectful behaviour is expected at all times.
  • No running or loud voices in hotel lobby, pool area, or hallways. 
  • Please follow all hotel policies, respect all pool rules and closing times.
  • Keep hotel rooms clean, be respectful to hotel staff, and do not leave a mess behind you.
  • Absolutely no disagreements between dancers, dancing siblings/ family, and non-dancing siblings will be permitted.  Dancers are expected to get along, include all members of their age group in any group activities or outings. 
  • Dancers are expected to eat healthy meals, drink lots of water, and avoid foods which could make them sick and unable to perform.  Parents, please send dancers with healthy snacks and the recommended $30 / day food allowance. 
  • Dancers are expected to keep early bedtimes and get plenty of rest for performances.
  • Pool time should be limited for dancers performing as it tires dancers out and they are unable to perform their best.  Parents, please make certain young dancers do not overdo it in the pool!
  • Dancers are encouraged to wear their McConnell attire as much as possible.
  • Modest attire is expected and dancers with short or revealing clothing will be asked to change in to something more appropriate.
  • Absolutely no consumption of alcohol or any illegal substance from dancers under 18 years of age. 
  • Absolutely no unauthorized guests in dancer's rooms at any time.
Performance Division Costumes
Class Costumes
Performance Dancers require a well-fitting class costume for the season.
2017 - 2018 Class Costume - Black with Cumberbund & Cuffs
  • Dancers who've out-grown their dress, should order a costume immediately upon entering a new season or whenever necessary.
Solo Costumes
Female Dancers -
Solo costumes are elaborate and unique dance dresses.  Solo dresses range in price from $300 - $3000.  There is a large market for 2nd hand solo dresses on the internet and many website dedicated to listing used Irish solo costumes. 
Male Dancers -
Specialty kilts with kilt pins, embroidered vets, cummerbunds, belts with Celtic designed buckles.  Most professional dress makers also offer solo items for male dancers and prices vary by design. There is a growing market for 2nd hand male Irish dance costumes on the internet.

All Performance dancers earn the privilege to wear a Solo costume through hard work and accomplishments. 
  • We will advise parents when dancers have earned their solo costume.
  • All solo costumes will need to be approved by the school, including new and second hand costumes.
  • New Solo Dresses style, colour, and fabric will need to be approved by the school prior to beginning work with a seamstress.  Drawings, designs, and colour swatches are necessary in order to access whether or not a solo dress design will complement the dancer and work will with other dancers in the group.

Show Costumes
New 2017 - 2018 Show Costume estimated $200 - $250
Additional costumes may also be needed for Performance Dancers who have roles in our major productions.
MSDSA & Performance Division assists in funding some costumes for our major productions. Dancers who participate in dance productions may be required to purchase additional costumes for the show.  Dancers & parents will be notified during the season, if additional costumes are required.

Performance Division Fundraising
Performance Division fundraising efforts, along with revenue from performances goes towards necessary purchases of equipment for shows, sets & props, costumes, and travel related expenses for dancers, musicians, and technical staff. 
Performance Division members are required to participate in our group fundraisers, unless they choose to opt out of all fundraising and reimbursements from Performance Division and MSDSA (including costume & travel subsidy)

  • Dancers who opt out of Performance Fundraising need to confirm their fundraising status at the beginning of each season
  • Families with multiple performance dancers have the option to fundraise as individuals or on a family basis.   Please confirm if you are fundraising as a family at the beginning of each season.
Additional Performance Division fundraising is organized on a yearly basis and additional fundraisers may be announced during the season.

St. Patrick's Day
  • 6 hours of volunteering from family members or friends during the event.  Please note, dancers cannot volunteer for this as they will be required to perform
  • Silent Auction Donation
  • 3 hour volunteering from family members or friends during the event.  Please note, dancers cannot volunteer for this as they will be required to perform.
  • Baking or monetary donation required
  • 6 hours per day volunteering from family member or friend during the event.  Please note, dancers cannot volunteer for this as they will be required to perform.
Raffle (if applicable)
All Performance Division members will be required to sell a minimum number of Raffle tickets and volunteer to sell in public venues.

Regional & International Travel
2007 - Trujillo, Peru      2009 - San Jose, Costa Rica     2011 - Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria    2012 - Walt Disney World     2013 - Limerick & Dublin, Ireland   2016 - Trujillo, Peru

C.I.O.F.F Festivals
McConnell Performance Division may plan (usually during the summer months, June - August) to attend a C.I.O.F.F. International Folk Dance Festival. For more information on C.I.O.F.F. please visit their website.  www.cioff.org
Accommodations and food are generally provided by the host country at the festivals we attend. 
Dancers will receive funding from MSDSA to cover the costs of some of their travel expenses.  Subsidy will vary from year to year.
Most C.I.O.F.F festivals are geared for performers 14 and over, therefore C.I.O.F.F festivals are not usually appropriate for younger dancers however there are a growing number of festivals geared for younger participants.   Festivals have limits to the number of performers and most have requirements for live music.  Dancers are selected based on their abilities, their contributions to the show, their level of maturity and their abilities to manage themselves travelling away from home.  Some dancers may be offered the option of paying for their own travel costs, food, and lodging, if festivals limit the amount of performers with complimentary services.

Family Oriented Festivals
  • In July 2012, 43 members of Performance Division attended the American Celtic Irish Dance Festival at Disney World, Florida. The festival included a performance in Downtown Disney, a parade in the Magic Kingdom, and a Disney performer workshop.
  • In August 2013, 73 members of Performance Division (including dancers, musicians and singers attended the Tailteann Nua Festival in, Limerick Ireland.  Many of our dancers also attended & performed at the World Irish Dance Day in Dublin , Ireland.
  • In September 2016, our Performance Division performed at the North American Festival of Wales in Calgary, Alberta
  • In July 2017, our Performance Division participated in the CIOFF festival in Folkmoot, North Carolina.
Performance Division Travel Subsidy
Local / Regional
For performances more than 25 km outside city limits dancers or drivers may receive fuel reimbursement, if the show budget allows.  If the performance requires an over-night stay, dancers may be provided accommodations (hotel or billeting). In cases where there are budget constraints, dancers will be offered the option to attend the performance at their own expense.   Not all Performance Division dancers will be automatically invited to out of town performances.  Dancers are selected based on their abilities, their contributions to the show, their level of maturity and their abilities to manage themselves travelling away from home.
Performance Division dancers invited to participate in an International trip may receive funding from MSDSA & Performance Division MSDSA's policy is to provide a minimum 60% of their proceeds each year for International travel. In many years subsidy is higher than 60 %.  Dancers who participate in International trips are encouraged to begin preparing early in the season.  Class & show attendance, volunteer hours, and participation in fundraisers are factors which affect the level of subsidy received.  Additional individual or group fundraising may be organized for international trips, if there is a desire from participants.