How to irish tap dance

How To Do the "Irish Step" in Tap Dancing

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General information about the "Irish Step" in tap dancing. Includes the components of the Irish tap dancing step, free online tutorials, and related resources.

Components of the Irish Step:

(A) Shuffle
(B) Hop
(C) Step

Emily Larew's "Irish Step" Tutorial:

Rod Howell's "Irish Step" Tutorial:

Related Resources

Differences Between Tap Dancing, Irish Step, and Clogging
This "battle of percussive dancing styles" video demonstrates the differences between three related dancing styles: Tap Dancing, Irish Step Dancing, and Clog Dancing.

YouTube "Tap vs. Irish Dance Performance" Video

PSU "Irish Dance vs. Tap Dance" Article

Tap Dancing Steps A to Z

Tap Dancing Step Video Tutorials

Online Videos of Tap Dancing

All Tap Dancing Resources

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History of Irish Step Dancing

Irish Dance History from the Claddagh School of Irish Dance

Perhaps the history should begin with the Celtic peoples, also known as the Gaels. These peoples spread over Western Europe including France, Northern Spain, and the British Isles, spreading to Ireland in the 3rd century BC. Saint Patrick introduced Christianity into the country in the 5th century AD. Although little is known about the dancing in this period, the artwork survived and has influenced Irish dance costumes. Many of the designs on current day costumes are based upon illustrated manuscripts of the Bible, the most famous of which is the Book of Kells.

The Viking raids during the 10th century destroyed most of the books in existence; however, it is certain that music and dance played an important part in the Gaelic culture. The Traditional Irish culture continued through the Middle Ages when dances were once again recorded. It is not clear whose dances influenced whom among the Irish, English and French, but it is characteristic that the Irish dances had a faster tempo.

Irish dance and culture continued to evolve and in the mid 1700's, Dance Masters began the tradition of traveling village to village teaching the various dance steps they had created. It is from these teachers that the current day Irish set and ceili dances originated.

The four basic types of modern day Irish music and associated dances are the jig, reel, hornpipe and the set dances. The jig, which was referenced in ancient Ireland, has several variations including the single jig and slip jig. The slip jig is the most graceful of the Irish dances and features light hopping, sliding and skipping. Only women dance the slip jig. Jig music is 6/8 time; slip jigs are in 9/8 time.

The reel originated around 1750 in Scotland and the Irish dance masters brought it to its full development. Women and men both dance the reel. Women perform it as a light, rapid soft shoe dance that often includes leaping and always demands a high level of energy. Men usually dance the reel in hard shoes. Reel music is in 4/4 time and is usually danced to a fast tempo.The music accents the first beat.

The hornpipe also began in the mid 1700's and evolved from English stage acts. It was originally danced exclusively by men, but now, both men and women perform this dance.The hornpipe is in 4/4 time and is similar to a slow reel but has accents on the first and third beat.

Set dances are performed by individual dancers to a specific tune with each set dance having its own tune. Some of the tunes are more than 250 years old. Ceili (pronounced Kay-Le) dances are similar to the set dances, however these are performed by a group of dances. A "ceili" is Gaelic for a gathering for music and dance.

The Claddagh School of Irish Dance is owned and operated by Mary Mulvagh Quinn. Mary is a native of Springfield, MA. She began taking Irish dance lessons at the age of 5 at the John Boyle O'Reilly Club in Springfield. Her feet have not stopped since then.

She competed in Irish Dance Competitions throughout New England, New York, Canada and Ireland for many years and has been teaching Irish Step Dancing for over 20 years.

Mary's parents were immigrants from Galway, Ireland where the Claddagh Village is located. In honor of all of the love and support her Mother and Father gave to her during her younger dancing years, Mary has named the school in their memory.


Irish dances: features and benefits for the body

In the distant Middle Ages, Irish peasants liked to gather on green lawns to shake themselves up and relax after hard work. The dancers lined up in long lines, danced round dances and even danced with swords...

Irish dance gained world fame after the release of the River Dance and Lord of the Dance shows, as well as after the showing of some foreign films where irish dance was mentioned. Those who have seen with their own eyes how the dancers, lined up in orderly rows, uninterruptedly beat the stage with their feet in heavy shoes, assure that it is simply impossible to sit still! It makes you want to practice the Irish tap dance yourself. Is it possible?

Of course, yes! Today, Irish dancing is one of the trendy and popular fitness workouts. An ideal option for those who are fed up with shaping, step and want something like that. But before you rush into the dance, it is important to remember that Irish dancing is not just a few hastily learned elements with which you can surprise your friends at the disco. This is a complex system that requires regular training and willpower. For example, to become an Irish dance coach, you need to go through twelve stages of training and devote several years to this business. Only then will you be able to write out Celtic patterns with your feet.

What should you be prepared for?

Irish dance - group. Therefore, in training, you will have to give up any liberties: in collective classes, you will be destined for the role of a cog in a large mechanism. Don't be scared, it's not scary! On the contrary, a group dance gradually develops a sense of partnership, when you feel one whole with other people. Psychologists say that such training is especially useful for those who have difficulty joining the team. Or afraid of communication.

Another curious feature is that it is better not to practice any other dances before starting training. That is, the less prepared you are, the faster you will master Irish choreography.

The thing is that classical choreographic training often gets in the way. In ballet, the feet (as well as the hips) are strongly turned to the sides - here, on the contrary, the legs are always crossed. And forget about the hands.

How is everything going?

The training takes place in the middle of a spacious hall, in which there is not a single mirror. Surprising, isn't it? But the mirror in this dance is superfluous, because it distracts the dancer from the learning process. So you can learn about your mistakes only from the teacher, who clearly monitors each student.

The lesson begins with a 10-15-minute warm-up, during which the main muscle groups are warmed up, and then the elements are worked out. Basically, the load falls on the lower part of the legs: calf muscles, feet.

Movement technique

First of all, you need to get used to a rather unusual posture. The Irish dance is performed on the toes (the dancer raises his heels and stands on his toes), the upper body is motionless, the arms are always lowered. The basic rule is fast footwork.


Yes, this fitness is not easy. Burns up to 800 calories per hour of exercise! In this case, the load is distributed evenly.

Alas, it will be difficult for those who have been stepped on by a bear. Because Irish music has a clear rhythm and requires the same precise steps. It's important to hit the mark! And in the foot! Therefore, before dancing Irish step, clicking your heels, you will have to memorize all the elements of the dance without music and learn how to beat the count with your feet.

All movements should look light and graceful. And this, to be honest, is not an easy task. Try to rhythmically make elements of breathtaking complexity with your legs, and leave your upper body completely motionless, as if there is nothing difficult for you in this!

"Side effect"

After a few weeks of training, you will notice how your abs are pumped up and your posture improves. This fitness will give you chiseled calves and smooth thighs.


What to wear? Imagination draws the dress of a medieval princess. By the way, such fantasies may well come true. Because the costumes of dancers can be safely called a work of art: all the colors of the rainbow, unusual cut and silhouette, lace, embroidery are appropriate here.

The classic dancer costume in Ireland is as follows: a women's A-line dress with a very stiff skirt above the knee. A train is attached to the left shoulder and right hip with a brooch. On her feet are black or white stockings, high-heeled shoes. The hair of the dancers is curled, sometimes wigs are used, and the hairstyle is decorated with a diadem or an elegant crown. Naturally, we are talking about costumes for concert performances.

For a regular workout, you can wear a top, T-shirt, T-shirt and, of course, breeches. Legs up to the knee must be open, otherwise it will be difficult for the coach to correct possible errors in the position of the legs. Well, at home you can train by throwing on a light short cotton robe or other spacious clothes.

Nothing but advantages

By joining Irish dancing, you will not only learn how to control your body and coordinate movements with unprecedented ease, but also awaken the spirit of competition in yourself. After all, to achieve mastery, you need to show the will to win, striving and perseverance.

In addition, Irish dance increases self-esteem, it is not for nothing that the Irish are called an independent, proud people.

After training, you will soar in the clouds without feeling your legs (muscles will give voice only tomorrow), and today your mood will improve, all problems will fade into the background. Irish dance awakens the will to live! And this is the most important thing.

Hard Shoe Dancing (Irish Step) / Irish Dance School - The Carey Academy

Hard Shoe Dancing (Irish Step) / Irish Dance School - The Carey Academy - Chelyabinsk

The Carey Academy - Chelyabinsk school of Irish dance

school of sports Irish dance

Dancing in hard shoes (Hard shoes) were the hallmark of modern Irish shows. This is the most famous type of Irish dance, which is "popularly" called "Irish step" or "Irish tap". Performed in boots with small heels and special heels on the front, allowing the boots to "knock". This rhythmic clatter of boots has led most people to Irish dancing.

Any dance of this kind, even the simplest level, conquers the hearts of the audience. Dancer who performs it becomes a crowd favorite! Do you want people to say about you: "How does he do it ???"
In the Chelyabinsk dance school "The Carey Academy" you can learn Irish step dancing. We will teach you even more than you saw in the professional show!

You can learn dances: Hornpipe (Hornpipe), Heavy jig / Treble jig (Heavy jig / Treble jig), Treble reel (Treble Reel). Each has its own unique rhythm, pattern of movements, character, history and melodies. The music of is very diverse: both folk and popular today. A feature of the "Irish step" is also the fact that it can be danced to music and without it (A Capella).

Dance patterns (steps) can also be traditional or choreographed by young choreographers . Few people know that Treble reel in general can be performed to any pop music ! You can perform it even in a trendy club, including elements of youth dance styles! The numbers for our school were invented by John Carey - the founder of the school, teacher, world famous dancer and choreographer of several Irish fashion shows.

Dances can be performed solo, in pairs or in a team (including family). At sports competitions, as a rule, they perform solo, but at concerts and parties - whatever.

These dances are universal for men, women and children . However, there are separate elements that are traditionally performed only by men or only by women , which makes each performance unique. For example, girls get up on "pointe shoes" more often. Men in the step will have the element "gigl".

Continuing the theme of movements, it should be noted that a special position of the legs (greater eversion and crossed legs in the hips, knees, feet than even in the classical dance ), as well as arms (straight pressed to corpus) distinguishes these dances from other types, including American tap, Russian tap and flamenco. This allows the legs to work "as if on hinges", and the arms to give completeness to the whole image. On the one hand, it is physically difficult to maintain such a position of the body, especially for adults at the beginning of classes. It takes time for the body to get used to the specific load (as in any dance sport ). On the other hand, this originality puts in the same conditions for students with or without dance experience. Everyone will learn to dance from scratch!

What about special shoes ? After all, it contains all the charm of the "Irish step". Where can I get it? Will another fit? We will answer: " Shoes are not a problem" . Our students constantly dance in these "special shoes" both in training and at concerts. They are ordered from specialized factories or bought on the secondary market. Folk shoes or step shoes will not suit us.

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