Do I have to be Irish (or of Irish heritage) to take Irish Dancing lessons?
Not at all! Since the debut of Riverdance and Lord of the Dance, Irish Dance has spread across the globe and is taught, practiced, and enjoyed on nearly every continent.
The McLane School will always remain an inclusive environment; we warmly welcome dancers and families of all backgrounds, cultures, nationalities, orientations, and gender identities.
Is Irish Dancing the same as 'Riverdancing'?
They are one in the same! Over time, Irish Dancing became synonymous with "Riverdancing" as the mainstream popularity of the show has expanded, but nearly all of the performers in these big shows have had many years of the traditional Irish Dance training, like what is offered through The McLane School. If you (or your dancer) have aspirations of dancing on 'the big stage' in a show like this someday, proper training and experience with an Irish Dance school is crucial.
Do I need any dance experience to enroll with The McLane School?
Not at all! The McLane School welcomes students (age 5 and up) from absolute beginner to seasoned dancer. If you are brand-new to the dance world, rest assured that we will take the time and attention teach you all you need to know.
What should I expect if I am brand new to Irish Dance?
New students will start by learning the most basic movements of Irish dance, how to execute them in proper form, how to stand ready to dance, how to point their toes, and how to rise up and walk on their tip-toes (similar to what ballet dancers call "releve".) At each stage, mastery of these movements teaches students of all ages physical fitness, balance, coordination, timing, rhythm, and patience through repetition.
Our beginners will learn these concepts and skills through exercises such as listening to Irish reels and jigs, learning how to clap their hands to the beat of the different tempos of music, etc.; all aimed at challenging them in positive and engaging ways. Friendship is also a focus as classmates learn to help, encourage, and celebrate one another as they learn their first steps.
Check out one of our very own McLane School beginners here.
What should I wear to class?
Anything that is light-weight and comfortable! We need to be able to see your dancer's posture, ankle, knee, and foot placement, so t-shirts and/or tank tops paired with shorts, leggings, and skorts are all great options. We also encourage you to keep cool and minimize distractions by having medium-to-long hair tied back in a ponytail, braid, bun, etc.
What should I bring to class?
COVID Compliance: Dancers (and parents) must wear a mask to enter the studio. We will continue to monitor CDC guidelines and provide updates to policies as they arise.
Dance bags containing shoes, socks, band-aids, extra hair-ties, warm-ups, and water bottles are permitted in the studio so long as they are kept tidy and out of the way of the main floor. Food and sports drinks (Gatorade, etc.) are not permitted in the studio. We also ask that dancers do not wear tape on the bottom of their shoes to prevent scuffing the studio floors.
Do I have to buy special shoes right away?
Nope! Students new to Irish Dance may begin classes in socks or ballet flats. However, for safety and proper learning, continuing dancers must commit to purchasing and wearing proper Irish Dance shoes during class.
We will meet with all new students and provide information on where to purchase the appropriate footwear.
Do you offer classes for Adults?
We LOVE Adult dancers! The Adult Irish Dance community is ever-growing and is a great fitness activity for all ability levels within an artistic and social atmosphere.
Because The McLane School is fairly new, we don't have a separate class dedicated solely to our Adult dancers just yet, but as demand increases, this is something we are actively looking to incorporate into our schedule ASAP - so please reach out if you are interested!
Is The McLane School Competitive?
Yes! Andy McLane is a certified T.C.R.G within the An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha (C.L.R.G. for short).
Our dancers - new beginners through champions - regularly compete solo, and in teams, at local, national, and international feiseanna (irish dance competitions - pronounced: fesh-anna).
Do I have to compete?
Not at all! The decision to enter into competition is left solely up each individual dancer. Non-competitive dancers can still enjoy classes and participate in performances with The McLane School throughout the year.
What Does That Mean?
Irish Dance terms you might not know - yet!
Rince- pronounced "rin-KAH"
The Irish word for "dance."
Feis - pronounced "fesh"
Typically refers to an Irish dance competition, but it can be so much more. In addition to solo and team dance competitions, a feis can also have baking, craft, instrumental, vocal and Gaelic language competitions.
Féile- pronounced "FAY-lee"
A féile is a like a feis, but has only dance competitions, not the crafts, baking etc.
Ghillies - pronounced "GIL-lees"
This is the soft leather shoe worn by female (and female-identifying) Irish Dancers. These shoes are also commonly referred to as "soft shoes" or "light shoes."
Hard Shoes- pronounced as you would expect ;)
A leather shoe (resembling tap shoes) worn by all genders after they have mastered the basics of light shoe. These shoes are outfitted with fiberglass tips and solid heels to produce that signature "Riverdance" sound. These shoes can also be referred to as "heavy shoes" or "jig shoes." We will help you fit and purchase the right pair when you are ready.
Ceili- pronounced "KAY-lee"
In Irish Dance, a ceili can be thought of as a group dance done in performances or in competition. It can also refer to the gathering of people, playing music, singing and dancing.
Oireachtas- pronounced "oh-ROCK-tus"
Oireachtas is the term used for Regional Championships in Irish Dance, but can can be used for National and World Championships. Think of it as a "super feis."
Side Note: Oireachtas is also a governmental term used in Ireland.
Teasgicoir Choimisiuin Le Rinci Gaelacha- pronounced "T.C.R.G"
The Teasgicoir Choimisiuin Le Rinci Gaelacha (TCRG) is a certified dance instructor.
Ard Diploma Choimisiuin Le Rinci Gaelacha- pronounced "A.D.C.R.G"
The Ard Diploma Choimisiuin Le Rinci Gaelacha (A.D.C.R.G) is a Certified Adjudicator or Judge of Irish dance.