Legacy School of Dance Beginner Handbook
Welcome to our Legacy Family!
We are excited to get to know you and your family! You are starting a wonderful journey and we look forward to seeing all that you’ll do! We hope this booklet will help you as you enter the world of Irish dancing.
About your Class:
The beginner class is offered once a week for an hour. Class is $55/month for the first student, and we offer discounted tuition after the first hour per student per family. Tuition is charged monthly through an auto pay system and is charged the week before the upcoming month. We urge dancers to attend every class so they do not fall behind in instruction. We recommend dancers have a dedicated bag to keep their dance shoes and a water bottle.
About Irish Dance:
Originating in Ireland, Irish dancing is a traditional dance form that includes both social, performance and competitive opportunities. Many people think of Riverdance when they think of Irish dancing. Irish dancing is this and so much more! Irish dancing is recognized by rapid leg movements accompanied by stationary upper bodies and arms. In competition, most dances are danced solo, characterized by a controlled upper body, straight arms, and precise movements of the feet. Irish dancing can be performed in either soft shoes or hard shoes, and can consist of solo dancing or group dancing.
New Students learn basic movements, then memorize a Reel first, then progress to Light, Single and Slip Jigs, Hornpipes, Treble Jigs and Set Dances. Irish dancers perform these seven distinct dances in shows and compete them at a Feis (pronounced fesh), an Irish dance festival. Students at Legacy may participate in shows as soon as they display proficiency in their first Reel.
What makes classes at Legacy Unique?
We strive to make learning Irish dance an enjoyable, family friendly, and individualized pursuit. We keep our class sizes small, our costs affordable, and our communication open. We teach a complete Irish Dancing Education and are certified through An Coimisiun Le Rince Gaelacha, the Irish dancing commission in Dublin, Ireland. We are invested in the whole dancer and focus on correct technique, strengthening, and conditioning to protect our students from injury and help them excel.
We focus on the individual, and help you along the pathway that is unique to you. We feel that anyone who wants to dance should be given the opportunity to do so. We have 4 pathway programs that you can choose, picking one or a combination of all of them is a personal journey. Dancers can choose to pursue performance, competition, teacher training, recreation, or a combination of all four.
We keep our class sizes small, our costs affordable, and our communication open.
We offer a developmental preschool program for ages 2-6, and teach a complete Irish dancing education. We dance through An Coimisiun Le Rince Gaelacha, the Irish dancing commission in Dublin, Ireland. We are invested in the whole dancer and focus on correct technique, strengthening, and conditioning to protect our students from injury and help them excel.
How to Contact Us:
We are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Please contact Christy to set up a time to discuss or email your questions at any time, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Christy Dorrity, Owner/Director
Misti Porter/Director’s Assistant
Legacy School of Dance
3080 N. Fairfield Rd
Layton, Ut 84041
Access your Dance Works account to see payment history, upcoming tuition, pay registration
Legacy families only
“Legacy School of Dance”
if you are not added at registration, please send us a request
Public Legacy Page:
Beginner Dance Checklist:
Items will be passed off by class instructor. Dancers who do not complete list will be required to continue in the same class level in the new school year until it is completed*. List is in order of instruction.
Reel, light jig, single jig, slip jig.
*All skills are taught in sequential order in class. Absence from class may cause skills to be taught out of order. Please strive to attend every class and practice at home.
Beginner Dance Reference
Please use these videos only for personal practice.
Click the link above to access the written dances
May be worn in performances for all levels
May be worn in competition through Advanced Beginner
For beginners, preschoolers and those who do not have a wig:
If you are wearing a purple ribbon, pull hair back in a half pony tail and tie the ribbon in. Please curl the hair or straighten in to look neat.
If you are wearing the new headband, make a side braid beginning on the left and finish to the end. Pull the end back into a high pony tail with the rest of the hair. Form a bun from the pony tail. Place the headband behind the braid and in front of the bun, and secure it with pins.
Beginners are required to follow the following guidelines:
Please wear navy, black or white tshirts and navy or black shorts. No logos or pictures please. Legacy t-shirts are available for purchase at the studio.
Any shirts dancers receive as part of a performance or Irish dance event through the school may be worn to class. White socks, please, it helps out our teachers' eyes.
NO jeans or baggy pants.
Please wear hair off the face.
Please ensure modesty is maintained. We kick, stretch and bend over a lot!
Beginner Practice Requirement 1 hour per week total
Regular home practice is essential for student success. Ideally, students should aim for at least 5 days of practice each week. Short, daily practice sessions are more effective than one or two long sessions per week. The most important time for students to practice is right after their weekly lesson, to solidify what they have just learned. Research has shown that retention of new knowledge drops to 60% after just 24 hours. It’s not a good idea to wait until the end of the week, then “cram” practice right before a student’s next class!
Parental involvement in home practice is crucial for student success. Please help your student to establish and stick to a practice routine, and see that practice time is free of distractions. If you are the parent of an elementary age student, please plan to sit with your child for at least a portion of their daily practice time.
Parent Practice Helper Tips:
1. Warm up before dancing (jog in place, jumping jacks, small knee bends and toe raises for 5 min)
2. Talk through dance before dancing it using the Dance Reference Page.
3. Check before and during each dance for specific technique:
a. Are they keeping their arms down and hands closed? Head up? Smiling?
b. Are they kicking their bums often? Always kick it on Leap 2 3’s, Hop 123’s, and Point hop backs in softshoe and Tip downs, Treble hop backs and Treble downs in hardshoe.
c. Are they keeping one foot in front of the other, inner heels/instep showing? There should be a diamond-shaped space between their ankles when their feet are turned toes out and knees are together.
4. Stretch calves, hamstrings and quads after each practice session. Drink plenty of water!
Click here to see our calendar of events for the year. If the event specifies all dancers, your dancer can participate!
*we follow the school district’s calendars-if your child is out of school, it is likely that class will not be held.
Beginner Irish Dance Dictionary
Beginner- First Levels of competition. Consist of Beginner I, for dancers who have danced less than a year, and Beginner II, for dancers who have not won 1st or 2nd in a dance to move it to Novice.
Boot Camp - Legacy summer workshop intensive, usually during the space of one week. During this time dancers will be invited to appropriate workshops during the day and evenings.
Boys - Irish dance enjoys the distinction of being a boy-friendly sport. If you know a boy who is interested in participating, please bring him along to class with you!
Costume - A set of clothing used for performance or competition to facilitate ease of movement and enhance dancing. Often reflects the culture it represents.
Feis - Pronouncedfesh. From the Irish Gaelic for “Festival.” A traditional Irish dance competition.
Feiseanna -Pronounced fesh-on-na. Plural of Feis.
Figure - Term for group softshoe dances, such as 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 hand dances.
Ghillie - Pronounced gill-ee. A soft black leather shoe with either a full
or split leather sole that laces across the top of the foot, used for softshoe dancing. Similar to a ballet flat or lyrical shoe. (also called a softshoe, pom or pump, or light shoe)
Hardshoe - A black leather shoe with a slightly elevated fiberglass heel, and a wedge-shaped tip on the toe also made of fiberglass, that laces on the top and buckles with a strap, used for percussive hardshoe dancing.
Hornpipe - A hardshoe dance in 4/4 time, with a syncopated rhythm. Beginner dancers will dance to faster metronomic speeds, while more advanced dancers will dance to slower speeds.
Light Jig - A softshoe dance in 6/8 time, acknowledged to be the oldest of Irish dances. Characterized by energy, good technique and “bounce.”
Poodle Socks - White cotton socks with a bubble weave knit pattern that goes from ankle to calf muscle. Girls wear this sock; boys do not. (see also sock glue)
Reel - A softshoe dance in 4/4 time, evolved from the Scottish reel. Characterized by energy and power.
Reel Shoe- Boys soft dance shoe. Looks much like a hardshoe, but without the fiberglass tip on the toe. Fiberglass heel permits percussive movement in softshoe dancing.
Single Jig- A softshoe dance in 6/8 time. Characterized by lift and bounce.
Slip Jig- A softshoe dance in 9/8 time. Traditionally a ladies dance, characterized by smoothness and grace.
Sock Glue- A washable adhesive originally developed for senior supports, but adopted by the Irish dance community to hold poodle socks up to the shins.
Softshoe- 1. Type of Irish dance that is more balletic- the foundation for technique 2. Another name for a dancing shoe.(see Ghillie)
Solo Dress- A costume worn by dancers preparing to enter and having entered Championship. Often expensive and intricate costumes custom-made for the dancer.
T.C.R.G.- Teagascóir Choimisiúin le Rinci Gaelacha-An instructor who has been certified through the Irish Dancing Commission in Dublin to teach traditional Irish Step Dancing at a high level.
Traditional Set Dance- One of four to seven Hardshoe dances where choreography is standardized around the world to consist of the same movements to specific pieces of music. i.e. “St. Patrick’s Day”
Treble Jig- A Hardshoe dance in 6/8 time. Beginner dancers will dance to faster metronomic speeds, while more advanced dancers will dance to slower speeds. Also goes by the name of “Double Jig.”
Introduction to Feiseanna (competitions)
While competing at Legacy is not mandatory, we recognize the many benefits of participating. Increased stage presence, poise, good sportsmanship, teamwork, manners, hard work and achievement, and it is fun! Students are prepared for the appropriate level of competition to the best of our ability, and we find that our students generally do very well in competition.
Dancers compete solo and in figures, or group dances with members of their school. At the end of their competitions, results are posted and dancers may pick up awards accordingly.
Your dancer will start in the First Feis category. This is a great way to get their feet wet!
♪♫ Oh, A Feisin’ we will go… ♪♫
Legacy typically attends these feiseanna during the year. Dancers are encouraged to attend these competitions:
Wasatch Winterfeis SandyFebruary (1st weekend)
Cowboy Feis Casper, WY May
Silver State Feis Las Vegas June
Utah Feis & Championships: SandyJune (3rd Weekend)
Utah Championship Feis Sandy October (last weekend)
How to go to other Feiseanna:
There are many competitions all over the United States during the year, and we would be thrilled if you want to include them in vacation or family trip plans, or just go for the fun of it. If you visit www.feisworx.`com there are a list of feiseanna, or there are more at the North American Feis Commission site. http://www.northamericanfeiscommission.org/
Please let us know if you are considering attending a feis. All feis entries require approval from a registered TCRG (teacher) before they are entered. Your teacher will know how to help you enter a feis.
Students at Legacy are encouraged to participate in performances. Performing teaches poise, builds confidence, and is just fun! Our performances are varied throughout the year, and often include opportunities for service.
Students are eligible to perform with us as soon as they know one dance. Students are required to wear an appropriate school costume when they perform. (please see Costumes)
All performances will have a call time. This allows the dancers to arrive, change into costume if necessary, warm up properly, become familiar with the show order, and run any dances that need polishing. Often, an event organizer will ask us to start early, so this call time acts as a buffer so you do not miss any part of the show. Students must arrive at or before call time to participate in shows. Students who often miss call times will not be invited to perform. Forgotten costume items may prohibit a dancer from participating in performances.
When in costume, onstage, sidestage or at the event, students must remember that they represent the school and need to behave accordingly. Likewise, when a student wears a school t-shirt or warm-ups anywhere, they are also representing our school.
Each year we put on a full-length production in the spring. Past productions have included Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Annie, Wizard of Oz, and Lion King. Every dancer participates in the show. This event unites our school and gives dancers and parents a chance to see what is possible, if they work hard and continue dancing. The show will be announced the end of September and practices will begin in class in January.
We welcome other opportunities to perform. If your school, ward, cultural group or family would like a private show, please contact the directors. We’d love to give the kids, especially yours, another opportunity to perform!
We hope you enjoy this journey with us!