Dances, Grading and Levels

Explanations especially for beginners

When competing, dancers 7 years of age and under (as at 1 January) participate in all or some of the four soft shoe dances – Reel, Light Jig, Single Jig, Slip Jig – and may not compete in any other grade level. This section is a non-graded event (dancers do not move up a competition grade level), the length of the dance is shorter and each participant is rewarded with a ribbon award per dance performed. Dancers may move out of this section earlier should the teachers feel they are ready for the competitive graded sections.

These sections are open to dancers of any age if teachers consider them to be competition ready.
Soft and hard shoes dances are offered:

Soft shoe:
Reel, Light Jig, Single Jig and Slip Jig

Hard shoe:
Treble Jig, Hornpipe, Traditional Set dances

Bun-Ghrád (Beginner Grade)
On achieving a 1st place in their chosen dance or dances (provided there are a minimum of 5 competitors in the section dance), they are able to grade up to the next level, ie. Tús (Primary) and so on. After Tus, is Advanced Tús (Advanced Primary), followed by Meán (Advanced), then Ard (Open).

In a Priomh Comórtas (Pre Championship) which is commonly known as a PC, dancers from Bun to Mean Ghrád level choose one hard shoe and one had soft dance where they compete for medals for 1st to 3rd place per round. The overall winner with the highest points for both dances is awarded a section trophy, presentation medal and a sash. Dances they may choose from are:
Round 1: Hard Shoe -Treble Jig or Hornpipe
Round 2: Soft Shoe – Reel or Slip Jig

At the highest competition level which is Ard Ghrad, dancers are eligible to enter a Craobh Comórtas (full Championship) also referred to as a CC. They would compete in an initial two rounds as above (hard and soft shoes) and thereafter 50% of the section will be recalled to perform the Final Round (round 3) which would be another hard shoe dance called a Modern Set (2/4 or 4/4 or 6/8 timing). This dance is uniquely choreographed by teacher and dancer and is performed individually by the competitors. Dancers will then be placed after the 3rd round has been completed. The overall trophy, presentation medal and sash will be awarded to the highest placing dancer with 50% of the recalled section receiving awards.

Céilí section
In general, Céilí is a form of group dancing comprising three, four, six, eight, 12 or 16 dancers. Dancers compete against each other at the SA Championships and we have also entered teams in the World Irish Championships. This form of dancing we often interweave with other dances when we choreograph for events.

Figure Dancing
This comprises a group of up to 16 dancers performing a choreographed Céilí-type presentation dance to a specific story line written by the choreographer, to a selected piece of Celtic music. Only simple footwork is allowed and the patterning and formation of the dance should depict the story which is read out aloud before the team performs their dance.

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