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McConnell Irish Dance

McConnell School of Dance - Recreational Division

Students who wish to simply enjoy the basics of Irish dance should consider our Recreational Division.  This program is ideal for beginners, those new to Irish dance, and for students who are involved in other activities. 

  • The Recreational Division Season extends from September – May (9 months) with optional summer classes for Folklorama in June and July.
  • General Division dancers learn both traditional and modern styles of Irish dance.   General dancers have the option to take one class per week or attend multiple lessons (we recommend a competitive class as a 2nd option for improving technique).
  • General Division Students perform at our St. Patrick’s Fest, Year End Recital, and at Folklorama.

 

Recreational Division Levels

Recreational levels are based on dancer's ages and in most cases the best choice for students is to enrol in the class within their age category.  There are always exceptions and our aim is to find the best class for dancers to learn and progress with Irish dance, regardless of age or experience.

For dancer's who are starting at an older age than our typical Beginner (Ages 3 - 6) there are options to insure they are able to keep up with dancer's who've already had previous Irish dance experience. 

  • The best option for new Irish dancers to quickly pick up on the basics of Irish dance is to take a few private lessons with our instructors. 
  • A Competitive Bunghrád - Level 1 class is a great option for dancers wishing to speed up the process of learning the basics.  Competitive classes may be attended on drop-in basis.
  • Teacher's assistants may available to work with new students during class time to help bring them up to speed on the basics.  
  • For dancer's who register for a level and find it's not the right fit for them, there is always the option to try another level or Division to find the most appropriate class.

 

Preschool 

  • Ages 3 - 4

This level may be appropriate for students 2 1/2 if they are capable of participating in the class without an accompanying parent without assistance from their parents.  
Preschool students learn the basics of soft-shoe Irish dancing starting with the Beginner (Bunghrád - Level 1) Reel .  Student's also learn an Irish children's song and dance. Warm up, stretching and technique is included in the lesson.  Focus is on developing soft shoe technique and progressing towards learning their basic steps and Bunghrád Reel in it's entirety. 

Beginner

  • Ages 5 - 6

Beginner students learn the basics of soft-shoe Irish dancing starting with the Beginner (Bunghrád - Level 1) Reel and progress to the Light Jig (3 steps).  Once the Reel & Light Jig are mastered, Beginner dancers will learn the Bunghrád Single Jig and Slip Jig.  Student's also learn an Irish children's song and dance. Warm up, stretching and technique is included in the lesson.  Focus is on developing soft shoe technique and progressing towards hard shoe work.  
Novice

  • Ages 7 - 8

Novice Level students learn Irish soft-shoe steps the Bunghrád - Level 1 & Ullmhuchán or Level 2 Reel, Bunghrád Light Jig (5 Steps), Single Jig, and Slip Jig.  Novice dancers also learn their first Ceili dance (group dance with figures).  Novice dancers begin hard shoe training which extends through one half the lesson and learn the Ullmhuchán Hornpipe. Warm up and technique is included in the class.
Preliminary

  • Ages 9 - 12

Preliminary Level students learn Irish soft-shoe steps with the Ullmhuchán - Level 2 Reel, Single Jig, and Slip Jig.  Preliminary dancers learn a Ceili dance (group dance with figures and choreography).  Preliminary dancers continue hard shoe training, extending through one half the lesson and learn an Ullmhuchán Hornpipe, Heavy Jig, and a Traditional Set Dance. Warm up and technique is included in the class.
Intermediate

  • Ages 13 & Up

Intermediate Level students continue with more difficult soft-shoe work in the Meanghràd - Level 2 Reel, Single Jig, and Slip Jig.  Intermediate dancers learn a Ceili dance (group dance with figures and choreography).  Intermediate dancers continue hard shoe training, extending through one half the lesson and learn the Meanghrád Hornpipe, Heavy Jig, Treble Reel and Traditional Set Dance. Warm up and technique is included in the class. 

Advanced

  • Ages 14 & Up

Advanced Level students continue with more difficult soft-shoe work in the Meanghràd - Level 2 Reel & Ardghrád Level 4 Reel, Single Jig, and Slip Jig.  Advanced dancers learn a Ceili dance (group dance with figures and choreography).  Advanced dancers continue hard shoe training, extending through one half the lesson and learn the Ardghrád Hornpipe, Heavy Jig, Traditional or Contemporary Set Dance, or Treble Reel.  Warm up and technique is included in the class. 

Adult 

  • Ages 18 & Up

Adult classes range in level from Beginner to Intermediate and are suitable for dancers with no previous dance experience or some dance in their background.  Dancers who've had substantial amounts of dance in their background may want to consider a Competitive Class or our Advanced Level Recreational Class.  Adult dancers have the opportunity to learn Bunghrád Level 1 - Ardghrád Level 4 dances. Adult students have the option of soft shoe and / or hard shoe classes.  Dancers also learn a Ceili (group dance with figures).  Warm up and technique is included in the class.  

Recreational Division Performances
As part of your registration for Irish Dance lessons in our Recreational Division, McConnell School of Dance provides the opportunity for all dancers to perform at our St. Patrick's Fest', at our year end Recital, and at Folklorama (United Kingdom Pavilion)
  1. St. Patrick's Fest' (March 17th, 2020)
  2. Recital (May 31st, 2020)
  3. Folklorama (August 2020)

Irish Dance Shoes

All dancers should have the required footwear for their registered level by the end of September each season.
We strongly recommend beginner students wait a few classes before they purchase Irish dance shoes in order to ascertain whether or not they intend to continue with lessons.  New students may wear socks, well fitting slippers or ballet slippers for the first few weeks of classes. 

Soft Shoes

  • Girls wear Irish Soft shoes (pumps, or ghillies)
  • Boys wear Boys Reel Shoes.  Boys begin with soft heels (Capezio Jazz shoes) and progress to Reel Shoes with Hard Shoe Heel pieces.  Your instructor will inform you when it’s time to advance to Reel Shoes with heel pieces.

Hard Shoes
Both Females and Males wear Irish Dance Hard Shoes.

Dancer Shoe Requirements

  •   Beginner  Ballet Slippers or Soft Shoes
  •   Novice & Preliminary   Soft & Hard Shoes 
  •   Intermediate & Advanced   Soft & Hard Shoes
  •   Adult (All Levels)   Soft & Hard Shoes

Recreational Division Costumes

School costumes are required for all dancers wishing to perform. 

  • Costumes are ordered in November each season.
  • 2nd hand costumes can be purchased through our student's association
  • Irish Dance Wigs are optional for all Recreational Division Dancers.

Costume Fees
General Division School costumes range in price from $125 - $350, depending on the dancers level and age.
Additional items such as poodle socks and/or tights as well as Irish dance shoes are necessary.  Irish dance wigs are optional 

Beginner $120 - $195    Novice & Preliminary $195     Intermediate & Advanced $195    Adult $120 - $195

 

2nd Hand Costumes & Shoes
Second hand costumes and shoes may be listed on the bulletin board at the studio.