Even though Irish dancing is experiencing a great expansion there are still many parts of the world where no schools or dance teachers can be found. So, what can you do if you have a passion for Irish dance but cannot attend classes – either because you live too far away from the nearest school or because there simply isn’t one in your country? Should you just give up and continue to be just an admirer of the grace and beauty of the dance? By no means! With enough determination and hard work, you too can Irish dance.
I was never a completely self – taught dancer, but my teacher was, and he even managed to become one of the lead dancers in a dance shows from Ireland. He learned the steps mostly from DVDs, but there are also other ways of learning how to Irish dance you might find very useful.
YouTube and sites like Diddlyi provide many helpful and useful tips for beginners and advanced dancers alike. You can learn the basics, learn new steps and also follow the trends and major events happening around the world that help you stay in touch with the rapidly growing Irish dance community. Most of the dancers are glad to help with breaking down the steps, uploading videos with helpful tips and even looking at your own videos and helping you correct the steps you might be doing wrongly. Here on Diddlyi you can find a whole lot of great videos with warm-up exercises, steps, routines, drills and whole dances broken down to you, step by step.
Unfortunately, the Internet is limited when it comes to learning Irish dance. You can learn the steps, but you still need someone to ‘polish’ them up, to watch you dance and give you insight into what aspects of your dancing technique need fixing. If there are no schools or qualified teachers near you, try to save money and at least once or twice a year travel to the nearest one you can find. You can find schools and teachers on the Internet (again, the Internet!), get in touch with them and ask for help. Try your very best to memorize as much as you can during the time you spend in a studio with a teacher – make notes, film the steps, ask the teacher to lilt the steps and record them. Then when you get home go over them again and again until you know every bit and can perform them even if somebody woke you up in the middle of the night.
They can be expensive, travel cost could be very high, but it will be worth it. Workshops are very intense and exhausting but the things you learn and the exchange of experience with other dancers – not to mention friendships and the boost in motivation that they produce – are priceless! Take every chance to attend a workshop of an Irish dance master or a school. You can easily find them if you follow events on Facebook and other social media.
It’s not easy learning a new skill when you are on your own, but do not despair and do not give up. It will take a lot of time, energy and hard work, but eventually, you might find yourself not only being a dancer, but maybe even a teacher, making sure other enthusiasts who share your passion and come after you don’t have to go through all this, and can have a proper teacher to direct them in the right way.
Photo credits: Images are courtesy of and belong to author.
Whether you are training for an Oireachtas, taking your first steps in Irish dancing or you just want to get fit in a fun way, Diddlyi has what you need. Access all of our online Irish dance workshops FREE for 24 hours - it takes less than a minute to register!