All level descriptions are listed in a way to ensure full comprehension of the technical training standard at each level. We are NOT a competitive Irish Dance school. We offer an incredible traditional Irish Step dance training experience in a dedicated, performance-focused, family-friendly environment. If you wish to compete, please ask us for recommendations of local competition-focused schools; we will be very happy to assist you.
Our Traditional Irish Step Dance Classes are the foundation of our Academy training, so each dancer can expect to be placed in one of the three class types. Classes follow a specially-designed syllabus that ensures students learn and master everything they need to know at a given level, so they have a solid foundation on which to advance to the next. All of our classes are taught under the careful instruction of our dedicated and experienced instructors, and the class environment is carefully paced and supportive.
Most classes are offered separately for children of different age ranges; so students will not only work on their dancing ability, but also will have the opportunity to build a community with other dancers around the same age. And at times, the instructor may choose to divide the class into smaller groups, so students can learn to work together with their peers when tackling new moves and combinations. And our adult classes are truly for all ages: we have students in their late teens, all the way into their sixties!
We encourage our dancers to enhance their training by taking the supplemental classes we have available for their age and skill-level. When students reach the Level classes, it is highly recommended to take these classes in conjunction with the corresponding Drill class of the same level. See below for more information on Drill, and our other supplemental offerings. Pro tip: students who want to progress faster can register for a class all the times a week it is offered, and take lower-level classes for extra practise!
Tiny Toes is for beginning students aged 3-5. Students will learn the foundational positions, techniques, and timing used in traditional Irish dance. Coordination, balance and timing are carefully tackled via fun Irish dance-themed games and activities. Dancers are taught how to build their strength and flexibility gently in a fun stretch and chat session. In turn this encourages our students to interact, build their social skills and find new friends by getting to know their fellow classmates. Spaces are extremely limited in this class, so sign up quickly to avoid disappointment — this class fills up fast.
These specially designed introductory classes are for students new to Irish dance, and can be started any time of the year. The Intro A class syllabus ensures that students will be taught the essential foundational techniques and positions used in light shoe Irish step dancing, along with beginning to build the strength needed to execute the movements properly and safely. Students will then move into Introduction B, where they will continue to refine the skills learnt in Intro A, and start to learn hard shoe techniques.
This structure ensures students will have a solid working knowledge of the terminology and techniques needed to successfully transition to our Level 1 class, where the focus shifts from practising individual techniques to putting them together in full traditional-style choreography. The instructor will let a student know when she thinks the student is ready to move on. However, we fully recognise that everyone is an individual and will progress through the introduction classes at a different pace; and so it's ultimately left up to the dancer to decide when he or she feels comfortable to move up.
As stated above, students with a solid grasp of soft and hard shoe basics will move into Level 1, where emphasis is placed on piecing techniques together into full dances. From this point on, students will move into the next level when they demonstrate competency in their current level's techniques and dances at a Level Proficiency Review. As students progress up through all six levels, they will continue to add more complex traditional dances, powerful jumps, intricate footwork, and exciting rhythms to their repertoire of skills.
Although we are non-competitive, the levels in our syllabus roughly correspond to the ranks used in competitions:
We offer additional unique classes to help students achieve their dance goals even faster!
Drill class is designed to help students develop technique, style, and stamina. The class is based on individual coaching from the instructor on specific moves as well as overall technique. Irish dance movements generally build on one another, so this class starts with the basics and builds up through jumps and tricks, so that skills can be improved and applied more widely in dances.
In Traditional Irish Step Dance classes, students will focus heavily on traditional-style choreography: learning the appropriate dances for their level, the elements needed to do these dances, and executing the steps well. They will learn the techniques needed for their dances, but anything above and beyond might not be included in the class as often, simply because there is only so much that can be fit into a class session.
In Drill, students will focus on individual "skills". Rather than just putting together full steps, they will focus on breaking down the "tricks", jumps, and techniques, and executing them cleanly and precisely. They will learn the skills needed for the choreography at their level, but they will then progress beyond that and learn the rest of the skills on the syllabus for their level.
These classes work hand-in-hand to supplement each other, and both will push students to do the material to the best of their technical ability. It is possible to take only one of these classes. However, to receive the full benefit of our complete Irish dance curriculum (and more quickly improve as a dancer and progress through the levels in the Motor City Irish Dance Academy), it is highly recommended to take both the Traditional Irish Step Dance and Drill classes in conjunction with each other.
This is a fitness class focusing on strength, flexibility, balance, core, and overall conditioning. This class will particularly benefit Irish dancers as many exercises specifically target the muscles used in dance. However, as no actual dance steps are done in class and plenty of options for modifications are provided, it also provides a great work-out for non-dancers — so all are welcome to join in! This class can be a great activity for the whole family to do together!
This exciting class fuses traditional Irish dance steps with other styles of dance, to create energetic, fresh choreography to modern film and pop music! Students then get the opportunity to perform the final product on stage at one of our bi-annual full-length Company productions.
Academy students are offered a chance to perform at Celtic Legacy and Celtic Christmas, our bi-annual stage productions; and this is the class where they will learn and rehearse their custom choreography. The class typically runs every other Saturday afternoon for a few months before the show. This is a great opportunity for students who want to perform and show their family and friends what they can do, but haven't joined our performance Company just yet!
If you love Irish dance and wish to perform and share your passion with others, then we invite you to join our dedicated Performance Company! Anyone with a solid knowledge of the basics (Level 1 or equivalent) is eligible — and that includes dancers from other schools as well! Our only requirement is that our performers be actively receiving Irish dance training (taking classes either with us or another Irish dance school) so they can continue to hone their skills. We perform all year at a wide variety of events. Check out our Company page for more information.