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Posted on Sep 2, 2011 in General News

General Class Info

Class information for Students and Parents

Website and emails:
All correspondence is done via this website and email. Please make sure your teacher has a valid email address. There will be no paper hand outs. Monthly newsletters are posted on this website. The website, Coyle Facebook pages, class calendars and emails should be checked regularly for any updates – schedule changes, things needing to be handed in, etc. Check before coming to class, there may be an update or change that is important for you to know about before coming to class.

Contact the teacher that teaches a particular location for up to date tuition requirements and payment options.

Eileen Coyle Henry, T.C.R.G., A.D.C.R.G. – eileen(at)

Colleen Coyle Kelly, T.C.R.G., A.D.C.R.G. – colleen(at)

Patsy Wrabley Swope, T.C.R.G. – patsy(at)

There are no refunds, nor is credit given for missed classes. Dancing class year is the same as your child’s academic school year – September to June. When you register you are registering for the full year, not part of it. If your child is a beginner, you do have a trial period for the first two months. If your child (beginner or current student) stays through November you are responsible for the full payment – not just up to December, but up to June. Remember you and your child/children are signing up for the full year, not part of it. It is your responsibility to make up classes that are missed. Students are welcome to make up classes at other locations. Check the website for other locations and times and if you are still unsure ask your teacher.  top

Class Cancellations:
If class needs to be cancelled due to inclement weather (or for any other reason) there will be a message posted on the Coyle Facebook Page and an email will be sent. As a rule of thumb for evening classes: if the students are let out of school early, or school is cancelled, there will be no class that evening. Saturdays, all cancellation messages will be posted by 8am. Classes will be made up if more than two classes need to be rescheduled.  top

Consistent class attendance is crucial for every dancer. Attendance is essential for learning and remembering dance steps.

If classes are missed due to injuries, dancers are encouraged and expected to attend class but will not dance until a letter from a doctor is received clearing the dancer from his/her injury

Every student is here to learn. Classes should be taken seriously. With everyone’s attention and cooperation, class time will be a fun learning experience! Dance classes should be treated like a classroom setting. No running around, bad attitudes or disrupting the class or the other students will be tolerated.

Practice is a MUST! Click here for a practice guide. Even if your child is in a non-competitive class he/she still needs to practice in order to remember the steps taught in class each week.

Each dancer should have music to practice to. Any of the following musicians are good choices: Pat King, Tony McQuillan, Bradley Brothers, Mike Shaffer, Chris McLaughlin, Brian Glynn, Ann Marie Acosta, Tony Nother, Gerry Conlon (Simply Open), Dean Crouch, Mark Arrington, Niall Mulligan – almost all of these can be found on the internet on iTunes.  If you need names see above or ask your teacher.  Fay’s Shoes also has a good selection of Irish Dance music.  Check their website –

Shoes: Every dancer must have a pair of dancing shoes. A second year dancing student should have the required shoes. Beginner students can wear the ballet shoes with the elastic across the arch. Please do not purchase the little slippers, the girls/boys can not arch their feet properly.  NO SNEAKERS. If your child forgets to bring their shoes to class, then he/she will not participate in class. When purchasing shoes, either soft or hard, make sure that the shoes fit properly. Shoes should not be too large, this makes the steps difficult to perform.

Those students in a competitive class must have the appropriate shoes. All sports require the right equipment. Injuries can occur without the proper shoes.

Clothing: Please make sure that your child is wearing shorts, a skirt, or stretch pants so that their legs are visible. In the colder months sweat pants may be worn over the shorts, but must be removed during class time. NO JEANS!! Boys, baggy shorts that may fall off are prohibited.

Jewelry: Please do not let your daughters wear big jewelry to class. As with all sports, jewelry is a hazard.

Hair: Students hair should be up and off their face.  If your daughter’s hair is long enough it should be in a pony tail, pig tails or bun – and securely held.  If it is too short for either of those styles then a headband should be worn..  top

Gum chewing:  No gum chewing is allowed.

Feis Information:
A feis (fesh) is the word used for an Irish Dance competition. A competition is a social way for the students to display their talents and hard work in the Irish dancing world. The students in our school are permitted to compete in competitions since our teachers are certified through the official Irish Dancing Commission, An Coimisiun le Rince Gaelacha, in Dublin, Ireland. It is not mandatory that students compete; however, those who choose to compete are highly supported in their competitive endeavors. Competitions are held throughout the year and all around the world. All registered North American feisanna are listed on the North American Feis Commission’s website. We are in the Mid-Atlantic Region –   You can also check out the First Feis FAQ link for additional information.  top

Other Competitions:  There are feisanna all year long.  Suggestions for local feis are always listed on this website. Syllabi are available on most school websites or the online registration site. If your child does not want to compete, that is fine and Coyle does not push any child into competing. No student will be punished in any way for not competing. Irish Dance should be enjoyable no matter whether you choose ­ to compete or not. If you do not know if your child wants to compete, the best way is to go and experience one of the closer feisanna; and if you are still unsure, talk to one of the “experienced” parents or ask your teacher. Visit the Mid-Atlantic Feisanna page for a list of local competitions. top

Here are a few local annual feisanna-
Baltimore Feis, MD
Brick, NJ
Herritage (formerly Peter Smith) Feis, NJ
Washington DC Feis
Delaware Feis
Ryan School Feis, PA
Cara Feis, PA
Four Province Feis, PA
Cummins School Feis, Wildwood NJ

Moving up in competitive levels:  

The dancing school has set in place the following requirements for our students in regards to “moving-up” in competition levels. Please read them carefully. These rules should be followed when entering the students in competitions. Each student needs to move at his/her own pace. Students should not be compared to any other student – each student progresses at his/her own individual pace. “Moving up” will be monitored by the teachers and decisions will be made at the teachers’ discretion.

Beginner : a student that has just started dancing. Example: if your child starts class in September then he/she can remain a beginner until the following September. Unless your child attends numerous feisanna and wins consistently, then the student can move up to Advanced Beginner.

Advanced Beginner: A student that has danced for more than one year, regardless of wins in the Beginner category. Advanced Beginner dancers remain in this category until they place at least two firsts, seconds, or thirds. Then they move to Novice in that particular dance the next year (the dancing calendar year is January to January) – or move at the teacher’s discretion – and remain in Advanced Beginner for their other dances.

Novice: dancers remain in Novice until they place at least two first, seconds, or thirds in a particular dance. They move to Prizewinner in that particular dance the next year (the dancing calendar year is January to January) – or move at the teacher’s discretion – and remain in Novice for their other dances.

Prizewinner: students must place at least two firsts in all Prizewinner dances – reel, slip jig, treble jig, treble hornpipe – before entering Preliminary Championship.

Preliminary Championship: A dancer who wins three 1st place Preliminary Championship awards in one calendar year will move on to Open Championship competition the following year. In the case of the three 1sts occurring in different years, the dancer will move on to Open Championships immediately after the third win is achieved in any age category.  top

IMPORTANT: The status of a dancer does not change unless there are more than five (5) dancers in the competition at any level.

Regional, National, and Overseas Competition Qualifications:
1) A student will qualify to compete in solos at the Mid-Atlantic Region Oireachtas, the Oireachtas (o rock tus), held in Philadelphia in November, if he/she has qualified for Preliminary Championship and has placed at least in two Preliminary Championship competitions by September 1 of each Oireachtas year.

2) Students will be invited, at the discretion of the teachers, to participate in team competitions at the Oireachtas.

3) A student will qualify to compete in solos at the North American Irish Dance Championships (Nationals) each year if he/she meets the following criteria:

a) The Under 8 and Under 9 competitors will be left to the discretion of the teacher.

b) All open championship dancers.

c) All recalled dancers from the previous year’s Nationals.

d) Top 10 placers and 33% of the dancers at the Regional Championship in each age group.

4) Eight hand teams will qualify to compete at the Nationals if they place in the top 20 at the Oireachtas.

5)  To qualify for an Overseas competition – other than the World Championships, where a student qualifies at the Regional Oireachtas – a student must meet one of the following criteria:

a) Be an Open Championship dancer.

b) Recalled at the Nationals

c) Have one first place in a Preliminary Championship which had five (5) or more dancers.

d) Teams, if any, will go at the discretion of the teachers.

Transfer Rule: Since the teachers of the Coyle School of Irish Dance are certified dance teachers and adjudicators and are registered members of An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha in Dublin, Ireland we must adhere to the following transfer rule.  The transfer rule applies to all Irish Dance Organizations, not just An Coimisium.

A dancer transferring from one certified teacher to another certified teacher (from any Irish Dance organization) will undergo a six-month suspension from competition. The suspension will be imposed beginning with the postmark date of the notification letter that is sent to the Transfer Secretary of the Mid-Atlantic Region. This letter is to be sent by the new teacher/school.

Any transfers from one school to another may not take place until all debts owed (tuition, fees, dues, etc) are paid to the satisfaction of the (teacher) school the student is transferring from.

There is a $25, per family, transfer fee which is to be paid to the Transfer Secretary of the Mid-Atlantic Region by the transferring family or by the new teacher/school.

The Transfer Rule is suspended for a dancer who transfers to another teacher for any of the following reasons:

1) if the family moves to a new area

2) if the former teacher(s) closes the class

3) if the dancer has not been to a class for 12 months

4) if the new teacher is not a registered/certified teacher

Under these circumstances a transfer notice must be sent to the Transfer Secretary of the Mid-Atlantic Region indicating that there is no suspension. The former teacher should also be informed of the transfer in all cases.

Costumes: If you would like to have your child participate in the St. Patrick’s Day parades, competitions, or performances, he/she will be required to have the school costume/skirt

Girls: All girls should either have a wig or hair must be curled (ringlets) and poodle socks (or leotards for parades)

Beginner/Advance Beginner (up to age 10): royal blue embroidered skirt, white long sleeve Peter Pan collared blouse or white turtle neck for the parades.

Beginner/Advance Beginner (ages 10 and up)/Novice/Prizewinner (all ages): Coyle school costume. We have one fitting each year usually in September. Everyone will be informed when the fitting will be and if you need a new dress please contact your teacher. There are used costumes for sale and the Used Dress list is sent via email.

Novice/Prizewinner: Students who compete in novice or prizewinner competitions may begin to consider purchasing a “personal” (or solo) costume.

Beginner, Advanced Beginner and Novice: Black dress pants, black socks, and royal blue vest and tie. Contact your teacher for information regarding the royal blue vest and tie.

Prizewinner: Boys may choose their shirt and tie options.

The dancing school does perform at many functions during the year and St. Patrick’s Day. If you have a group, organization, Nursing Home, wedding, or whatever, that would like to have dancers, just give the organizations the school’s number and I will talk to them.

Special Needs:
Please make us aware of any special needs or medical conditions that you child may have. Knowing this may help the teachers during class.