How to become a world champion irish dancer

9 Steps to Becoming an Irish Dance Champion – Celtic Life International

1. Trust Your Teacher. Many dancers get so caught up in the grand scheme of things, that they forget their teachers really know what they’re talking about. Make sure to listen carefully when your teacher gives you instruction on things you need to improve/work on. Your teacher is certified (TCRG), and likely has many experience dancing themselves. For example, if your teacher says your kicks need to be higher, you need to work on your kicks.

2. Don’t Expect That Every Feis Will Yield A First. Some dancers (and sometimes even parents) have the expectation that every feis will yield a first. Very rarely does a dancer go through many feisanna without getting anything but firsts, but just remember to keep a positive attitude and that it is only one judges’ view of your dancing. The next feis may yield more good fortune!

3. Be Patient. This is very important. Make sure to attend a lot of feisanna. It takes a lot time to win firsts and move up through the levels!

4. Practice! This is the single most important thing you can do. Even on days when you don’t have class, go through your step(s) at least twice to stay in shape. This will improve overall technique, coordination, and will relieve some of the stress that comes with prepping for a competition.

5. Attend Classes At Least Twice A Week. If your school doesn’t offer two classes a week (and very few don’t), you may want to consider another school that does. The classes need to be at least 2 hours long to build up your stamina and endurance. Your teacher should be pushing and motivating you in class. While no one likes to be yelled at or corrected, the alternative is a teacher who thinks you look great, when they know that you’ll never get a first dancing like that.

6. Practice The Execution of Your Steps. Even if you think that your steps are not the greatest, practicing your technique is really important. Remember, the judges are not judging on your ability to memorize choreography, but they are looking at turnout, height in jumps, etc. If your execution is great, odds are you’ll place great too. Remember to never be sloppy, fore a sloppy dancer can ruin even the nicest choreography.

7. Set Goals For Yourself. Try to stay away from general ones (ex: I want to reach Preliminary Championship level) and focus on the more specific ones like: I want to place in my hornpipe for that feis in a couple of months. Then set up a strategy for achieving that goal, including how much you need to practice, how many days a week, etc. Although you may be tempted to stray to the big dreams (and who hasn’t been guilty of daydreaming every now and then), those big dreams won’t happen unless you focus on the more specific goals.

8. Make Friends At Classes. School spirit will always motivate you and dance friends are some of the greatest things you can have. It’s always nice to have someone else cheering you on besides your parents, and dance friends can be great for support. Wear your dance school gear (i.e. t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc) to school and other places, and have dance friends sleepovers and parties. It’s always nice to have friends who share these major lifetime experiences with you.

9. Help The Younger Dancers. If you are a teenager, help the little ones in class. Younger children always look up in awe to teenagers, and helping then will only help you in the end. It’s hard to tell others to cross and turnout your feet and then not do it yourself. (You can do this even if you’re a beginner yourself).


What it takes to become a World Champion Irish Dancer

LAST Sunday our Olympics began in London - that’s what the World Championships are for Irish dancers.

It's the one competition that everyone strives to compete in with dancers travelling from all over the globe just to experience three or four minutes on stage.

Into those few minutes of magic goes a phenomenal amount of preparation.

The training all these young dancers go through consists of two or three hours every single day. It demands levels of fitness that would equal, if not better, that of a professional athlete.

As a Champion dancer, there are so many sacrifices that you have to make to become the best in the world. Not only did I make them myself, but my family also made them for me.

Many years passed where we had no summer holidays, with my mum and dad instead spending their money and time driving me up and down the country, to England, Scotland, and America for competitions.

Every year, from about February, to the start of the Worlds (normally around Easter) it is dancing, dancing, dancing!

I am a six-time World Champion and, for me, becoming a World Champion the first time wasn’t the most stressful – that came with holding on to the title a further five times. It is one thing getting to the top, but retaining your title is another level altogether. There were nights where there were tears and arguments, but it's all worth it in the end if the result goes your way.

I won my first world title on my 13th birthday. My last title came in Boston last Easter, where I won the age group 19-21, while I was previously victorious at Under 13, 15, 17, 18 and 19 level.

Depending on the year, you could be judged by up to 15 judges. There are usually five for each round and there are three rounds in total.

Obviously, the standard is incredibly high. There are roughly about 50 to 60 boys in each age group, and there could be up to 200 girls in a single age group. Boys and girls are split to separate competitions, and everyone there is fighting for the top spot. You want to take home the Gold Medal and the amazing Globe Trophy the Champion receives.

So how do you become a top dancer? What does it take to become a Champion?

Firstly, it takes an enormous amount of dedication. You have to be prepared to put in the endless hours of dancing and perfecting different things. Listening to your teacher is the main thing. Remember they are the qualified ones. They'll always advise you in the right direction.

I danced in class, Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and competed on Sundays. On Tuesday I would practice by myself and I took Wednesday off.

Six or seven days of dancing gave me the best possible chance at winning this major title. Other dancers should be doing about the same if they want to compete at a high level in competition and strive for the top spot.

For me, retaining the title was the biggest relief every year as you can never judge what way things will go. I know the amount of preparation you do is extremely important, but a lot of it depends on the day too. Nowadays it's all mental fitness as well as being ridiculously physically fit.

I know it seems like there are so any aspects that have to be right to make it to World Champion, but to put it simply - there are. Years ago, the World Championships were not as competitive as they are now.

In London this week you will see kids literally pushing themselves to the limit every day. In the build-up they will have visited mind coaches as they strive to be positive all the time. The preparation these days involves a lot more than just dancing.

I went through all this too, and it did benefit me in the end. The sessions with my mind coach, Sean Connolly in Belfast, certainly helped bring out the best in me.  I felt a lot more mentally stable and didn't have as many doubts as I previously did.

A lot of people might think sessions with mind coaches and such supreme fitness levels are made in to an unnecessarily big deal for 'just dancing', but I guarantee you it's a lot more than 'just dancing'. You will see that at these Championships.

The level of passion behind all these kids is remarkable and every child loves it just as much as the next. I now have friends all over the world because of Irish dancing. Not a lot of people can say that at all, and I really count myself so lucky, for everything.

I thank my parents for pushing me to be the best, yet always keeping me level headed, and making sure I'm always top notch dancing wise before a competition. My friends have also been so supportive and, of course, my dancing teachers for dedicating so much time to make me the dancer I am today.

For anyone who isn't in the world of dancing but is thinking about going to watch these Championships in London, I would advise you to go. You'll get a little taster for this mad world that is the 'dancing world' and you'll be blown away by the skills of all of these dancers, from the age of 10 right up the senior age group.

This is the first year I won't be competing at these Championships, as I am now on tour with Riverdance...and I'm so lucky for having this opportunity. So for those in London over that brilliant mad week, stay focussed, give it your best and enjoy the experience. Best of luck!

John Lonergan is a six-time World Champion from Ballypheane in Cork City. He was taught at the Eleanor O’ Brien School of Irish Dancing, the Sheila Hayes School, and finally the Kiely-Walsh Academy. He is now a member of Riverdance.

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Irish Dancing Commission (Coimisi?n le Rinc? Gaelacha)

The Irish Dancing Commission was created by the Gaelic League (irl. Conradh na Gaeilge , eng. The Gaelic League ) and remains under its auspices at the present time.

The Gaelic League itself was founded in Dublin on July 31, 1893 by Douglas Hyde with the participation of Eugene O'Grooney, Eoin MacNeil, Luke Walsh and others. The League's aim was to promote all aspects of Irish culture, especially language and literature, an organization created "to preserve the Irish language spoken in Ireland". However, the dance received League support almost immediately, and dance classes were established in most of the League's divisions.

The London Branch (established in 1894) organized an evening of music and dancing - what became known as the caylee ( C?il? ) - in 1897. The first dance festival - fesh ( Feis ) was organized in the city of Macroom ( Macroom ) in 1898. The Festival of Ireland ( Oireachtas na Gaeilge ), the largest Irish language and culture festival organized by the Gaelic League, was first held in Dublin in 1897. Within the framework of this Festival, Irish dances were held for the next thirty-five years, until their organization was taken over by the established Commission on Irish Dances. Since then, festivals and fashions have become a worldwide phenomenon, as well as caylees. Early 19In the 1920s, Irish dances became popular throughout Ireland, with the county of Cork (irl. Bruachbhaile Chorca? , eng. cork ) and the province of Leinster (irl. Laighean , eng. leinster ) having their own association of dance teachers. Most if not all of the festivals during this time were in fact organized by the Gaelic League divisions (as the festival looked like in 1926)

In 1927, at the annual Congress of the Gaelic League it was decided to set up a "sub-committee for dancing", which was later called " Coimisi?n le Rinc? Gaelacha ” – “Irish Dancing Commission”. When the Commission reported on the first results of its work at the annual Congress of 1929, it was instructed to conduct its own independent activities, and therefore, since June 1930, the Irish Dancing Commission has been operating as an authorized body regulating all matters related to Irish dancing. . The last surviving member who attended the first meeting of the Commission was Tomas O Faircheallaigh . He remained President of the Commission until his death in 2004 at the age of 99. He and Una Ni Ruairc from Limerick won the All Ireland ( All Ireland ) championship in the categories Senior Mens and Ladies at the Festival in the year the Commission was established.

During 1932-33 the newly formed Commission took over the task of registering all festivals ( Feiseanna ) and dance competitions. At the same time, 32 teachers and 27 judges were registered by the Commission in Ireland. A handwritten list of registered teachers and judges was first drawn up in 1933 and subsequently issued annually in typewritten or printed form, until 1971, when the "Official List" (irl. Liosta Oifigi?il ) was first published in the form of a pamphlet. Since 1933, the responsibility for organizing the dance section of the festival “ Oireachtas na Gaeilge ” has been transferred to the Commission, the name of the festival has been changed to “ Oireachtas an Rince ” – Dance Festival. This name was retained until the early seventies, when it was changed to a more favorable “ Oireachtas Rince na h-?ireann ” - Irish Dance Festival (championship) to distinguish it from its new brother - “ Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne ” - World Dance Festival (championship).

In 1943, the Commission developed a system of examinations for those wishing to become qualified teachers of Irish dance. Successful candidates were issued certificates with the title “ Teastas Coimisi?n le Rinc? Gaelacha ” (TCRG) – Irish Dance Commission (Teacher) Certificate. Subsequently, a similar examination was developed for teachers wishing to serve as jury members in Irish dancing competitions. They are awarded the title “ Ard Diploma Coimisi?n le Rinc? Gaelacha ” (ADCRG) – High Diploma (judge) from the Irish Dancing Commission. Another certificate was introduced later for those who wished to teach team dances ( C?il? - ceili dances) with the name “ Teastas M?inteora Rince F?irne ” (TMRF) - Team Dance Teacher Certificate.

Already in 1932, the Commission compiled the first list of Irish figure (group) dances acceptable for performance and distribution. More detailed data were collected over the following years and published as a pamphlet in 1939 with the title “ ?r Rinncidhe F?irne ” describing the ten most popular keili dances of the time. A second such booklet, with an additional ten dances, was published in 1943. Then there was a long break until the end of the 1960s, when the third book was released. As a result, all three booklets were combined into a brochure, which is now used by the Commission and certified teachers. Currently, the work is at the final stage in the process of harmonization of the terms and expressions contained in “ ?r Rinncidhe F?irne ”, which was actually originally written as a guide for those who wish to learn dancing, and was not intended to be used as an examination tool.

Until the end of the 1960s, the Commission acted and determined the rules exclusively for Irish dances in Ireland, of course, taking into account dancers from the UK, who also fell into its area of ​​​​responsibility, but then the situation began to change. Previously, casual visitors from Australia and America only qualified by passing exams in Dublin. The most notable of these was Geraldine O'Shea Ryan ( Geraldine O'Shea Ryan ), who set out for Ireland from Australia in 1953 and the journey took three weeks by ship. In the course of establishing a dialogue with foreign organizations, a series of examinations were held with the participation of Commission experts directly in America (1967), England (1969) and Australia (1969). Among other figures in the Irish dance world who traveled to Ireland to take their exams was Peter Smith ( Peter Smith ), longtime President of the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America and President of the Irish Dance Commission.

The appearance of the “ Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne ” – the Irish Dance World Championship in 1970 was perhaps the most important event in the development of Irish dance in the eighty years of the Commission's history. The role of the Commission has changed dramatically from a small national legislature to a global organization. The founding fathers of the World Championships are Seamus MacConuladh , former Secretary, Chairman, and Executive Director of the Commission, and Maitiu O Maoileidigh , long time chairman of the Irish Championship and Executive Director of the Irish Championship committee. From humble beginnings in the tiny theater Colaiste Mhuire in Dublin's Parnell Square, " Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne " has grown into an international event of incredible proportions, with unprecedented opportunities that were not foreseen in the thirties by the founders of the Commission.

One has only to look at the media interest in the event to appreciate the impact the World Championships had on promoting Irish dancing on the world stage. Until 2000, when the Championship moved to the magnificent Waterfront Hall in Belfast, the World Championships have never been held outside the twenty-six counties of Ireland. Since then the event has been held several times in Belfast, three times in Glasgow Scotland, in 2009 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania USA. In 2011, the World Championship was held in Dublin for the first time in fifteen years, using the premises of Citywest Hotel and Conference Center , and in 2012 the World Championship returned for the fifth time at Waterfront Hall in Belfast

The main aims and objectives of the Irish Dancing Commission remain, as they were when they were founded, the preservation and promotion of Irish dancing.


  • - Official website of the Irish Dancing Commission
  • - Official site of the Gaelic League (opens the English version of the site)

Irish dancing in Vladimir

Reels, jigs, hornpipes are national melodies, to which the well-known Irish dances are most often performed. The occupation is difficult and requires good physical preparation. How to learn it and where to start, we learned from the teacher of Irish dances in Vladimir - Natalia Loginova.

One for the whole of Vladimir and Suzdal

The first time I learned about Irish dancing was at the Historical Reenactment Club, which had a historical dance club and a small section dedicated to Irish dancing. We studied everything on our own, because the dances were not in full and in the traditional form, from a technical point of view there were some omissions. After moving to Moscow, I decided to go to an Irish dance school there, and then, due to personal circumstances, I moved to Suzdal. Now I have my own school - “Solas”. And I am the only teacher of Irish dances in the whole of Vladimir and Suzdal.

Only legs work

We have children who have been walking since the age of three. Until the age of seven, they have choreographic training and the program is more playful. After it, they are already prepared for any dance, especially classical, because the position of the legs is developed.
There are older kids, for example, from the age of 13 you can already go to an adult group. Both teenagers and young people 20-40 years old are engaged. We teach almost all types of Irish dance, for example, solo dance (popularly called Irish ballet), keili (group dances for 2 or more people), and many others.
In the Irish dance, the arms are lowered, the body is not allowed to move, only the legs work. Naturally, if these are group dances, then handholds are allowed, but they are also regulated. Of course, you can add something of your own, but the back always remains straight.

Irish dancing is more than ballet

We do so that the sweat flows! But it should be so when it comes to dancing or aerobic exercise. For those who want to lose weight - ideal, and the muscles will be in good shape, and a few kg will go away by themselves. They even conducted studies on the degree of load: it turned out that Irish dances give more than ballet. If in ballet the movements are sometimes smooth and calm, then we have constant jumps and all the time on our toes. The lesson lasts an hour and a half, for the kids - an hour. An hour and a half includes: warm-up, work on new movements, dances themselves, plus various physical exercises. I think this is necessary because the muscles that are involved in the dance need to be pumped up in order to facilitate the efforts of the dancer.

Motion memory

Now there are many children who have flat feet or improperly developed legs - knees together, heels apart. We straighten it out, do certain exercises, and the legs are aligned. There are children who have different lengths of legs, someone has weak muscles with ligaments, and they need to be strengthened. When a student comes to me, we start with the smallest, and then we give loads a little bit. A person does not particularly notice this, and the muscles of the legs are strengthened, relief appears, the back and abs are strengthened. Even the hands become stronger: in group dances, you need to lead your partner and hold on tight.

But the main thing is that choreographic memory develops in any dance. This is movement memory, it is very important. Unfortunately, in life we ​​practically do not use it. When you make movements on one leg, and then you need to do the same mirror on the other leg, problems begin, oddly enough, brains begin to boil. There are those who come and quickly drop out of class. But there are few of them, because these are mainly people who, in general, quickly give up everything: the slightest difficulties begin - and that's it. In fact, it gets easier and easier every time.

Celtic dance

We have access to competitions up to world championships. We attend festivals and competitions in Moscow.

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