Below I have listed some of the crucial elements of Irish step dancing that parents can look for while practicing with their children. The children learn the required steps at class each week, but all is useless if the students do not reinforce what was learned at home through practice. Each student should be practicing at least 15-30 minutes at night. Of course, this time depends on the age and level of the student. For some, it may be longer. Parental involvement is needed!
1. POSTURE: Arms comfortably at side, shoulders back, hands in fists, chin proudly up.
2. FOOT PLACEMENT: Toes should be out, ankles crossed in front of each other, feet close behind each other.
3. Dancers should always be on their toes (the balls of their feet) – “BARBIE Toes“. Dancers should also point their toes (arch their feet) at all times. This should always be done especially during ups, overs, and jumps.
4. Dancers should look in a confident, upward position – not at the ground or the ceiling. Using a mirror will help. While practicing the dancer is looking forward not down.
5. Dancers should be practicing to music suitable for Irish step dancing. If you question the music, and/or its speed, please bring it to class for me to check.
Hopefully this guide will become useful during practice sessions at home. Remember class time is class time not practice time! All of the above mentioned points are also commented on during dance class, so it is not foreign to the dancers. Just in case your child says, “But Eileen said. . . ,” you now know exactly what Eileen says!!