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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Irish Dance?
    Irish dance or Irish step dancing is traditional Gaelic or Celtic dance form that originated in Ireland. It can be performed as a solo or in groups of up to twenty or more trained dancers. In Ireland, Irish dance is part of social dancing and formal performances and competitions. Traditional Irish dance is performed with intricate foot work and is most known for the dancers performing with a stiff upper body. Unlike other dance forms, Irish dancers do not move their arms or hands so that footwork is accented.
  • Do I have to be Irish?
    Absolutely not! Irish dancing is more than a celebration of heritage, it is an art form and a sport. Just like ballet, tap, or jazz, Irish step dancing can be learned and enjoyed by all. ​
  • I saw a Riverdance performance, is that the kind of dancing HIDA teaches?
    Seeing a performance is often a students first introduction to Irish dance. At HIDA we teach the tradition Irish dances like the jig and the reel that provide the foundation for more advanced choreography like you see in professional group dances. Check out our Video/Photo Gallery to see a few HIDA performances in action!
  • How do I get started?
    Whether you have previous experience or are brand new to Irish dancing we have a class for you! Contact us via phone or email to learn more about new student sessions or arrange a time to come visit our studio, we can't wait to meet you!
  • What equipment do I need for class?
    The most essential gear for Irish dance is the footwear! Girls and women start off in soft dance slippers called ghillies (ghillies are similar to a black ballet shoe but with laces). Boys and men start out in a soft shoe with a heel called a reel shoe. As dancers advance, a hard shoe is worn by kids and adults - the hard shoe is what makes the signature percussive sound in Irish dancing! We understand purchasing equipment is a commitment. At our Wayzata studio we sell gently used soft shoes, hard shoes, and new equipment at whole-sale prices. Keep in mind, traditional Irish dance shoes come in European sizes so, ask a teacher to measure your feet before purchasing anything online.
  • What if I play a sport and need to take a break for the season?
    Irish Dance is really self-driven. You can make the training as intense or as casual as you want, and need. We have many dancers that play competitive sports like basketball, volleyball, and soccer that require a break from Irish dance training. We support the whole dancer and all of your interests. No matter the reason you are welcome to train with us in a schedule that fits your life.
  • Do all dancers participate in competitions?
    An Irish dance competition is called a Feis (pronounced fesh), and they are 100% optional. At HIDA we do encourage participation in competitions, they are a great way to build confidence through performance and show off a dancer's hard work in the studio. But if competitions aren't your thing you will never be forced into a competition you do not want to participate in.
  • Where do the competitions take place?
    The simple answer is everywhere! But most of the competitions our dancers attend are in the midwest - Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, etc. And traveling to competitions is another individual choice. If you want to participate in competitions but don't want to travel there are usually 2 -3 competitions held in the Twin Cities each year.
  • Why do some dancers wear black costumes and others wear colorful dresses and suits.
    The black costumes you see are the HIDA school uniform. The uniform is worn by all students at performances and competitions. All school uniforms are simple, comfortable, and affordable (about $60 per uniform)! The colorful dresses and suits are solo costumes. Solo costumes are something that dancers typically earn through competition as the dancer qualifies for the third level called Novice. Becoming a Novice level competitor is a big accomplishment, and what better way to celebrate than with lots of color and sparkle! And what about the cost??? Solo costumes are very detailed and sometimes custom made - the price tags for solo costumes can be eye-popping! But there are several ways to purchase a gently used costume. And unlike many other genres of dance, Irish solo costumes are for the dancer, not a single performance. So, the costume is worn as long as the dancer wants.
  • I'm an adult, do you have a class that is right for me?
    Irish dance is great exercise and really fun. Whether Irish dance something you have always been curious about learning, or if you want a fun way to get more exercise, please contact us and we will work with you on a class that fits your goals.
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