Grade Exams Fall 2021

Saturday, October 2, 2021

​Spaces are limited and often fill before the deadline. 
Application deadline for Grades 1-10 is SEPTEMBER 3, 2021. | Apply Here with Your Teacher Signed PDF

**As of 8/9/21, dancers are still permitted to sit for Grades 1-6 at one time.**

Once you submit your documents, please pay your total by PayPal Friends and Family to to complete registration.

Teacher form:

To apply, please start by filling out the form below for your grade level and have it signed by your TCRG. Once signed, the form will need scanned in or saved as a PDF. The teacher-signed PDF is required to proceed. The application process will ONLY allow you to upload the signed form in PDF format, as this is the format CLRG requires from us, and will not allow you to complete the application process without it. 

Held at the Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance Studio:
Hughes United Methodist Church | 10700 Georgia Avenue Silver Spring, MD 20902


Grades 1-3: $25
Grades 4-6: $35
Grades 7-8: $45
Grades 9-10: $50

All exams take place our main dance hall.  We have a large waiting room area downstairs for you to warm up and relax while you wait your turn. The week of our exam, you’ll receive a time schedule. Please bring water and snacks if you’d like.  All dancers will be asked to wear a mask at all times while in the studio.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions! 

Questions can be sent to Cierra O’Keefe:

Overview: What are Grade Exams?

As a brief overview, The Irish Dancing Commission (CLRG) has established 12 individual Grade Exams for the purpose of offering a structured framework within which dancers can progress toward an achievable goal.  For any Irish dance students who may be interested in eventually taking the TCRG Exam (to become a certified Irish dance teacher), these are required. Effective as of January 2018, to be eligible to apply for the TCRG Exam, a dancer must first successfully complete all 12 Grade Exams.  These exams replace the practical dancing portion of the overall TCRG exam.

Grade exams are NOT competitions. Each candidate is individually examined and receives a detailed written assessment of their performance and knowledge of the grade being attempted. Candidates do NOT wear a competition costume for the examination.

(Note: please be careful to not confuse Grade Exams with Grade Level Competitions at a feis… they are not the same thing!)

Grade exams must be taken in order, beginning with Grade 1 (the preliminary grade is optional). However, a candidate may only attempt a maximum of 3 consecutive Grades at any one sitting. For each exam sitting, a three month period must elapse before the next grade is attempted.

Here are a few very important points to know about the rules and regulations.

  • The number of bars of music to be danced for all Reels, Single or Hop Jigs, Light Jigs, Slip Jigs, Heavy Jigs and Hornpipes is 40. (40 bars = 2 1/2 steps)
  • A dancer must take all grades in order, beginning with Grade 1 – the Preliminary grade is optional. However, a candidate may only attempt a maximum of 3 consecutive Grades at any one sitting.
  • Dance costumes should not be worn.
  • Grade exams candidates must be examined by at least 4 examiners up to grade 10, plus two different full examiners for grades 11 and 12.
  • Candidates must be able to adequately demonstrate practical and theoretical knowledge of all ceili dances as per “Ar Rinci Foirne” as specified in the syllabus for Grades 5-12 inclusive.
  • The same set dance must not be performed in more than one of the Grades from 9 to 12 inclusive.
  • All candidates must produce previous reports before proceeding to higher grades. Please bring to the exam.
  • Grade 11 may only be attempted by candidates at least 16 years of age.
  • Grade 12 may only be attempted by candidates at least 17 years of age.

Please refer to the CLRG website for the complete details of current Rules & Regulations –

GRADES AND REQUIRED DANCES  – (Ceili Dances are underlined and in italics)

Grade 1 : Easy Reel and Light Jig (122-124; 116)

Grade 2: Basic Slip Jig and Basic Single Jig

Grade 3: Primary Reel and Basic Heavy Jig (116-118; 96)

Grade 4: Primary Slip Jig and St. Patrick’s Day (120; 94)

Grade 5: Advanced Reel, Basic Hornpipe and The Walls of Limerick

Grade 6: Advanced Slip Jig, The Blackbird and the Siege of Ennis

Grade 7: Advanced Heavy Jig, Garden of Daisies and the Four Hand Reel

Grade 8: Advanced Hornpipe, Job of Journeywork and the Humours of Bandon

Grade 9: Two modern set dances, one in 6/8 time and the other in 2/4 or 4/4 time and the High Cauled Cap

Grade 10: Two modern set dances, one in 6/8 time and the other in 2/4 or 4/4 time and the Eight Hand Jig

Grade 11: Reel, Slip Jig, Heavy Jig, King of the Fairies, plus two modern set dances selected by the examiner from a list of 5 submitted by the candidate (different from those in Grade 10) and the Eight-Hand Reel and Harvest Time Jig

Grade 12: Light Double Jig, Single Jig, Hornpipe, Three Sea Captains, Jockey to the Fair, plus two modern set dances selected by the examiner from a list of 5 submitted by the candidate (different from those in Grade 10 and 11) and the Morris Reel and Sixteen Hand Reel.


Payment must be made by PayPal immediately after submitting your application to

EXAM REFUND POLICIES: Unfortunately, we are unable to provide refunds assuming our exam takes place. However, if the exam itself is canceled (i.e. for a COVID shutdown or examiner canceled), then all candidates will receive a 95% refund (because processing fees are non-refundable). 

* Culkin Grade Exam Schedule will not start before time for each group.

* Please make sure you/your dancer’s name is spelled correctly as this is the spelling that will be used on official paperwork.

* If you have not received an email with the schedule and final details by September 26, 2021, please email to make sure we have your application.
* Please present yourself professionally with hair pulled off your face, poodle socks/tights, and modest athletic wear. We recommend leggings or a skirt with bloomers and a solid color tshirt/tank top.

* Dancers taking grades 9-10, remember to bring your own music that can plug into an 1/8th inch connector for your sets. 

Grades 1-10: Teacher Signature Form (Teacher Signs & then save as a PDF)

Application: Click here!

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