New to Irish Dancing?


Irish Dancing is a Dance art form consisting of Softshoe & Hardshoe.  

Softshoe, which compares closest to Ballet, is performed in Ghillies for females & Reel shoes for males.  Young male Irish Dancers wear black jazz shoes, commonly worn in other forms of dance & as they become more advanced a heel is added to their Reel shoes for clicks & stomps!  Ghillies are a soft dance shoe which laces up the front.  Hardshoe is mostly compared to Tap dance & is performed in Hardshoes, similar to a jazz shoe with hard fiberglass heels & tips.  


Unlike traditional ballet & other forms of dance, a leotard & tights are not necessary.  Irish Dance can be very athletic!  Most students wear an appropriately fitting t-shirt or tank top paired with shorts or athletic pants.  Irish Dance shoes can be paired with socks, preferably Poodle Socks. Poodle socks are a type of white ankle/calf height sock worn by female Irish Dancers & can be purchased along with your shoe purchase.  

Tight fitting clothing is necessary to best assist your dancer, so they can use proper technique.  No Jeans, button down shirts, belts or bulky sweatshirts will be permitted.  Also Jewelry should be kept to a minimum.  Hair should be tied back, away from the face.

Classroom rules

Please be on time.  No touching classmates and/or Miss Katie during class.  No hanging on the bars or touching the mirrors.  Listen to Miss Katie & any other teacher in the room.  Most importantly, show respect always & have fun! 

Bring drink bottles into studio with you at the beginning of class, so we can be as efficient as possible with our dancing time!  (water only, please)

The dances & The levels

Dancers new to Irish Dancing will begin by learning soft shoe dances: The Reel, The Jig & The Slip Jig.  Softshoe dances can be done at different speeds, Beginners & Advanced beginners dance a faster/beginner speed & Novice dancers & up, a slower speed.  As they progress, Hardshoe Dances will be introduced, The Treble Jig & The Hornpipe.  Advanced Beginners will dance a Fast/Traditional Speed Treble Jig & Hornpipe, while Novice & up will dance their hardshoe dances at a slow speed.  Don’t hesitate to double check this information with Katie before registering for/attending Feiseanna! 

There are also Set pieces, which can be Traditional or Contemporary.  Traditional Sets are generally for dancers Advanced Beginner-Prizewinner, where Contemporary Set Pieces are mostly for Preliminary & Champion level dancers.  

The levels move in progression as: Pre-Beginner, Beginner, Advanced Beginner, Novice, Prizewinner, Preliminary & Championship levels.  A dancer should receive 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in Beginner to advance to Advanced Beginner & 1st place to move up beyond Advanced Beginner.  Any questions regarding levels or Feiseanna please reach out to Katie.

Ceili dances are traditional group dances.  Ceilis tend to join Irish Dancers together to form bonds & work as a team!  A combination of formations, minor arm movements & Irish Dance technique make up these dances.  We also learn 2-hands or 3-hands occasionally for fun  All of the mentioned dances thus far are traditional to Irish Dance & can be entered in Feiseanna. 

In addition to the ‘Traditional Stuff’ some more creative works with a more ‘Riverdance’ feel may be choreographed for shows, fundraisers & St. Patrick’s season.

Feis & Feiseanna

When your Dancer has been an active member of Dance class for some time, they may reach a point where they are ready to try competition.  An Irish Dance competition is called a Feis (pronounced: Fesh)  The plural for Feis is Feiseanna. (pronounced: Feshanna)  

(But we often are caught speaking about FEISES!)

Attending a feis is a great milestone for a dancer.  They display their hardwork & dedication in front of certified Irish Dance Adjudicators & are introduced to other Irish Dancers & the Irish Dance world beyond their school.  It can really increase a Dancer’s motivation & drive to improve as well as an outing full of dance, focus, friends & FUN!

The more involved in Irish Dance you become, you may reach a point where your dancer is qualified to attend a major Feis such as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Oireachtas held in Philadelphia, PA every November or The North American Nationals every June/July.  (location varies.)  The largest Feiseanna include international competitions, The All-Ireland Championships, The Great Britain Championships, & The World Championships, all of which a dancer must qualify to attend.

Shows & Performances

To spread the word of Jamieson Irish Dance, the joy of Irish Dance, music & culture & to give dancers experience as performers, shows are the perfect opportunity!  While Saint Patrick’s Day season is usually the busy season for letting these Irish Dancers shine, Jamieson Dancers perform at various occasions throughout our community all year long!  To book a performance contact Katie:

Hair pieces

Curly wigs are common in the world of Irish Dance.  While not necessary, they are often used to unify a group or balance the overall look.  For team events, a unified look will be assigned.  Please ask Katie for information & advice before purchasing any hair piece.


Jamieson Irish Dance has a vision of obtaining Jamieson School Costumes in the near future.

For the time being, The School costume attire will consist of a black long-sleeved leotard & circle skirt.  All Beginner dancers & up will wear the Jamieson Cape, which requires a yearly rental fee.  Male Dancers will wear a black button down long-sleeved shirt with black pants with a rented tie.  

These will be used for shows, & any group dance such as Ceilis & Team events.  We also implement our green Jamieson tees often for shows or events throughout the year!

Dancers in Novice, Prizewinner, Preliminary & Open Championship can wear a solo dress at Feiseanna.  Before purchasing please reach out to Katie for information & advice.


Any further questions, comments or concerns contact Katie: