CLASS LEVELS

Margot Action Shot

Our classes are organized based on the material that is taught, and when the dancer has mastered the material for that level, they move to the next. The class levels do not equal the number of years danced but rather the material mastered.

Below is an outline of the material that we focus on at each level.  Based on schedules and numbers, our classes often include more than one level (e.g. Level 2/3 class), but students are grouped within the class and instructed on the right material.  Our instructors can help you and  your dancer know what level they are at, and what they need to work on to advance.  Most important is that your dancer practices at home!


 LEVEL 1:

During the first year of Irish dancing, beginners learn basic movements that are used in traditional Irish solo dancing. They will start by learning their “over-2-3s,” which is an essential movement for solo dancing. They will continue to learn traditional beginner jig and reel steps.

Dancers are required to participate in 1 class per week at this level.


LEVEL 2:

In soft shoe, knows or is working on:

  • Reel: lead around, side step, and steps 1, 2 & 3
  • Jig: Lead around, side step, feis step, steps 1, 2, 3, & 4
  • Slip Jig: lead around, side step and steps 1 & 2

The dancer will move up to Level 3 if they are ready to move on to hard shoe, or are already learning beginner hard shoe material.

Dancers are required to participate in 1 class per week, but are welcome to take more than one!


LEVEL 3:

In Level 3 dancers learn more complicated and advanced steps as well as start to learn hard shoe. Most dancers take more than one year to move into Level 4, this is due to the amount of material that must be mastered.

  • Reel: advanced lead around & side step
  • Slip Jig: continue working on steps listed above
  • Hard shoe: St. Patrick’s Day and traditional hornpipe

The dancer will move onto level 4 once they have mastered all of the material listed above and they are ready to learn the advanced reel and slip jig steps.

Dancers are required to participate in 1 class per week, but are welcome to take more than one!


LEVEL 4:

In Level 4 dancers learn more complicated and advanced steps including slow treble jig and slow hornpipe. Most dancers take more than one year to move into level 5, which is a class geared to competitive dancers who want to move into the championship level. Please note that there is a lot of advanced material that must be mastered, which will take time and practice. At this level, dancers must put in some extra time working at home on their steps.

  • Reel: cut back & jump push
  • Slip Jig: point cut hop back & hop/hop over 2-3 hop back toe
  • Treble Jig: beginner slow treble jig
  • Hornpipe: beginner slow hornpipe steps

The dancer will be considered Level 5 once they have mastered all of the material listed above and when they are ready to learn more complicated material.

Dancers are required to participate in 1 class per week, however, at this level, most dancers opt to take 2 classes per week, which is highly recommended.


 LEVEL 5:

This level is an advanced Irish dance class that prepares dancers for the championship level classes and competitions, and most dancers at this level are competing at feisanna on a regular basis.

In Level 5, dancers are taught new moves which are drilled weekly in order to perfect more complicated material. Dancers are also taught performance pieces and steps that are used in more high profile shows. Dancers are required to perform and master all material and must have all 8 Prizewinner 1st places from  feiseanna before proceeding to Level 6. (Boys must have 6 Prizewinner 1st places). There must be at least 5 or more dancers in a competition for the 1st place to count.

ALL Level 5 dancers are required to participate in 2 classes per week.


 LEVEL 6:

This class is catered to Preliminary Championship and young Open Championship dancers. The class focuses on learning set pieces, which are needed at the Oireachtas (Regional Championships) and other major competitions such as the North American Championships. The class will be dedicated to learning new moves and material geared towards achieving Open Championship status. Strength, fitness and stamina will also become a major focus. Dancers must win the required two 1st places at a NAFC sanctioned feis in order to move into Open. There must be at least 5 dancers in the competition for a 1st place to count.

All Level 6 dancers are required to participate in at least 2 classes per week. These classes will prepare your dancer for performances and competitions; including local feiseanna and majors.


 LEVEL 7:

This class is for Open Championship dancers, the highest level a dancer can achieve at the competitive level. Dancers will continue to learn new material and updated moves in order to stay competitive with the hopes of improving placements at major competitions and feiseanna. Strength, fitness and stamina will remain a major focus in this class.

ALL Level 7 dancers are required to participate in 2 classes per week. These classes will prepare your dancer for performances and competitions; including local feiseanna and majors.


 TEAMS:

The Culkin School offers a Teams Class once a week. In the fall session, this class is for our teams that will be competing at our regional championship that happens in  December.  During the winter and spring sessions, the teams class is open to other dancers who want to learn the basics of figures including footwork and arm movements used in traditional céilí dances. Dancers in this class will be eligible to compete in teams at the local feis level and the major competition level, if interested. Joining a teams class is a wonderful way for your dancer to meet other Culkin students, and also improve dancer’s form and stamina, which should result in improvement in their solo dancing!

Dancers are required to participate in at least one solo class per week in order to be eligible to enroll in the Teams Class.


ADULT PROGRAM:

If you’re an adult who would like to learn Irish dancing or an adult who danced as a child, there is a class for you in our award winning adult program! The Adult Program is held on Monday evenings at Glen Echo Park! The program is offered in the fall, winter and spring, and new beginners are welcome at any time!