Frequently Asked Questions
Here you will find a list of frequently asked questions about the 'O'Brien Academy of Irish Dancing 'as well as Irish dancing in general. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us!
Does my child have to be Irish or have previous Irish dance experience to join?
Not at all! No dance experience is necessary and neither is an Irish heritage. Dancers of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to join our classes. All students will be taught the basics of Irish dance.
At what age can my child begin taking Irish dance class?
Dancers are welcome to join as early as 2 years old in our Mammy and Me classes. It’s also never too late to begin! We offer classes for all ages, from youth to adult.
How much energy/physical exertion is required? What about flexibility?
A moderate amount of both energy and flexibility is required. Irish Dance is an aerobic exercise akin to sprinting rather than distance running. The beginner levels require moderate exertion and it gets more taxing as the levels progress. Flexibility is not a necessity but is definitely beneficial and should be improved as a dancer advances.
Do you offer adult classes?
Yes, we do. It’s never too late to learn or to get back into it. There is a place for everyone, whether a beginner or someone with Irish dance experience.
What should my child wear to class?
Clothing: Regardless of age, students should wear clothing that is easy to move in and comfortable without being baggy. Part of Irish dancing is form and so it is recommended that shorts and t-shirts and tanks be worn. Students are encouraged to wear our class colours which are black / pink and white
Shoes: New beginners may come to their first few classes in socks or tennis shoes. If you wish to purchase a dance shoe, then a ballet slipper or jazz shoe is appropriate. As dancers progress it is required that they purchase ghillies (“soft” Irish Dance shoes). Ask the teacher for recommendations on where to get these shoes as well as how to properly size them.
Hair: Hair should be pulled back and away from the face, and any jewelry should be kept to a minimum so as not to interfere with dancing.
Is competition mandatory?
We encourage students to participate in competitions but do not require it– many choose to dance simply for their enjoyment and exercise. Students will be taught both solo material as well as ceili (group) dances, both of which are suitable for competition
Do I need to buy an expensive dress or wig?
Dresses and wigs are not required. For competitions, beginner and intermediate dancers do wear a school costume, but natural hair styles are encouraged. For more advanced dancers, wigs are optional and up to the dancer, his/her family, and the teacher’s discretion; solo costumes can be purchased used or custom made. These costumes can also be resold.
Will I get to see my child perform and when can they start?
Dancers of all levels are encouraged to perform with the school at shows throughout the year. Beginner dancers can participate in most of these shows. We are always encouraging new dancers to get stage experience to gain confidence.
We also hold an end of year 'Christmas Concert' where all dancers are included.
Where can my dancer register for classes?
Enrolment is open throughout the year, so long as space is available. Complete the online form under the 'Classes and Info' tab at the top of the page or email us via firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
How many classes per week can I attend?
Beginner to advanced classes are offered 1-5 times a week. We encourage dancers to come 1 - 2 times a week as a minimum and also to practice at home.
Additionally, a weekly ceili (group dancing) class is offered for all students of all ages and levels to encourage interaction throughout the various class groups. Private lessons are also available.
Can I watch my child’s class?
Our studio has two windows for you to view the class from the hallway or reception area. To reduce distraction and disruption, parents are not permitted to sit-in on classes unless requested to by a teacher. We have a small kitchenette available to all parents/guardians to use while dancers are in class and a comfortable waiting area. Parents do not have to stay for their child’s class, but must accompany any children and/or siblings while they are not in the dance studio under direct instruction. For parents who do not wish to stay during class, please be aware that you are still responsible for timely drop-off and pick-up of your students.
When and how do I pay tuition fees?
30 min classes (Kindy Kickers / Jumping Jiggers) $12 per class*
60 min classes (Ready to rally) $18 per class*
90 min classes (Little Legs / All the Bizz - Competitive) $20 per class*
Traditional Set Dances and Own Choreography Set $15 per class*
Ceili Central /Show Stopper ( 60 min group/team class) $10 per class*
Adults fitness (60 mins) $25 per class*
*All fees are paid by the term. Casual 'pay as you go' fees are an additional $5 per class
** Discounts apply if you take more than 1 class per week
***Our school endeavours to offer classes to all interested students. If finances are a constraint for your family, please contact the teachers personally so that we may work out a payment plan that meets your/your family’s capabilities. No student will be turned away.
What should be in my dance bag?
A dance bag is a great thing to have for anyone taking regular classes. It keeps your belongings together during class and is an easy way to transport them. It should always contain your shoes, socks (and an extra pair), a water bottle, and any first aid that you may want on hand (bandaids etc.). It is strongly encouraged that students have a water bottle with them to hydrate during class.
Where do I go for feis (competition) information? When can I sign up?
A full list of all the regional competitions can be found at www.aidainc.com (A.I.D.A). For more info on registration and competition interest, please talk to the teachers directly to discuss expectations and the entry process.
Where can I find music to practice with at home?
Download 'Feis the App' and create an account. It is the most central and current source of dance music and new tracks are updated regularly. Alternatively, you can search for specific tracks on itunes.