Forum: Irish / Irish - Adult Dancers

New to ID...have some questions, need some advice
By BendyWendy
On Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:40 PM

I'm a 30 year old looking to start Irish dance classes. I have experience with modern, jazz, bellydance, hula and burlesque so I'm not new to dance, just new to Irish dance. I took an Irish dance class at a Celtic festival as a teen and thought it was fantastic but the instructors were just visiting for the festival and there were no local teachers.

Anyway, I'm now living in city that does have an Irish dance school (just one and it's relatively new) and I would love to join. The problem is that they don't currently have an adult class. Apparently they tried to get one started a while back but had trouble getting enough people to show up so they cancelled it. They've said they'll let me know if they start another adult class in the near future and I've been encouraging other adults with an interest to contact them so they know how much interest there is in an adult class. But would it be weird if I asked if I could take class with the kids for now and then switch to the adult class if/when they start one? If they're agreeable to this, would it be at all reasonable to take the beginner and advanced beginner classes at the same time (with the teachers' approval, of course)? I don't mind starting in the beginner class with the five year olds (I just want to dance!) but I think I might be able to relate to the older kids a bit better so I'd like to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can and move up a bit.

Shoes...Is it usually required that you have the proper shoes before starting classes or is that something that's usually discussed in class and recommendations are made? I've been searching all over for a source for non-leather (vegan) ghillies but haven't had much luck (yeah, I know leather is traditional. Yeah, I'm aware there are environmental concerns with producing synthetic materials, there are similar concerns with leather factories too. I really just prefer not to wear animal products but I don't have a problem with others wearing them if they're comfortable with it). The closest I've seen so far is the Billy Forsyth Colourz Highland shoes and I've contacted them asking if they'd consider doing a custom order for Irish ghillies. Are there any sources I'm overlooking? When the time comes, I think Hallmore will do vegan hard shoes as a special order, but that doesn't really help me while I'm just starting out.

While we're talking about avoiding animal products, what exactly is sock glue made of?

What do you typically wear to class? In the past I've worn yoga/dance pants with a slight flared leg to my dance classes but I'm worried the flared leg might get in the way of more intricate footwork. Would I be better off with something like leggings or shorts? Full length leggings or capris?

I feel like I had more questions but I can't remember them anymore.

11 Replies to New to ID...have some questions, need some advice

re: New to ID...have some questions, need some advice
By Mariel4444
On Mon Aug 03, 2015 06:56 AM
I would ask about being in the kids class, many adults do this and you will probably zoom right through it. You probably have to do the beginner class first than advanced beginner. Skills are taught in beginner class that are built upon in adv. beg. As for vegan shoes here is an old post that had some good info towards the bottom . . .

But when it comes to what you wear and such ask your teacher, each teacher usually has their own guidelines
re: New to ID...have some questions, need some advice
By Hop_123member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Aug 03, 2015 01:53 PM
I know someone talked about vegan shoes on here years ago, but I am not sure much came of it. Probably because of limited audience for them.

no idea what is in sock glue.

I take classes with the kids. It would be more fun with adults in the class, but I like to dance, so I do it with the kiddos. It was funny in a drop in class, some kids that didn't know me were doing everything they could (switching places in line) so they wouldn't have to dance with me. I have no idea what they were worried about. But once the kids get to know me a little bit, Im just another dancer in the class.

Teachers usually have their own ideas of proper apparel for their classes, but I suspect the yoga pants would not work, especially flared ones. Our school wants knees uncovered and people in shorts. I asked and received the okay to wear a skirt.
re: New to ID...have some questions, need some advice
By StepdancerPremium member
On Mon Aug 03, 2015 07:01 PM
I started ID as an adult back in 1987, and as there were no adult classes, I took class with the kids. Like you, I just wanted to dance and wasn't concerned about the ages of those I was dancing with. I'd been a ceili dancer first, so I started with 8/9/10 year olds who thought it was cool they knew things a grown-up did not. On the flip side, those kids were better teachers than any of the 4 TC's I had--they were more patient, explained things more logically, and didn't mind when I didn't have a step off within a week. We got along great. I'd ask about dancing with the kids.
re: New to ID...have some questions, need some advice
By IrishLisa
On Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:04 AM
I take classes with the kids and some adults as well and it is no problem. I would just ask the school the same with skipping from beginner to advanced beginner. The school can tell you where they would like you to be. They can also tell you the same on what to wear to classes. I wear capri workout shorts, regular workout shorts and leggings in the winter. Our school doesn't want us in jeans but all other workout wear seems fine for our school. Good luck! Keep us posted!
re: New to ID...have some questions, need some advice
By BendyWendy
On Tue Aug 04, 2015 05:37 PM
Thanks for the replies!

I'll try contacting my local dance school again and asking if they'll let me join the children's class.

I did see the vegan shoe post from a few years ago but most of the information seemed to be about hard shoes. I was hoping more sources had become available since then. I keep looking for soft shoes but I haven't found any yet.
re: New to ID...have some questions, need some advice
By Storm_Trouper
On Wed Aug 05, 2015 05:02 PM
Stepdancer wrote:

I took class with the kids... 8/9/10 year olds... those kids were better teachers than any of the 4 TC's I had--they were more patient, explained things more logically.

re: New to ID...have some questions, need some advice
By BendyWendy
On Fri Aug 07, 2015 02:25 PM
I've heard back from my local instructors. They will not let me join the kids' class (didn't really give a reason) but they've had enough people asking about adult classes that they're considering starting one again. Hopefully there will be enough people to keep it going if they do start one.
re: New to ID...have some questions, need some advice
By monochrome
On Mon Aug 10, 2015 09:03 PM
I hope the adult class starts up! I know my class gets very small in the summer, so maybe once fall starts there will be a lot of interest.

For shoes - if you're just starting, you could wear canvas ballet slippers instead of ghillies. Adult classes are usually less picky about dress codes. Apparently a few brands make canvas slippers with synthetic, non-leather patches on the soles . . .

Depending on your personal values/comfort level, maybe you could get used instead of new leather shoes if you can't find options that aren't leather.

Unfortunately it might be hard to find another material that behaves properly for the sole of hard shoes. They have a particular combination of flexibility and structure.
re: New to ID...have some questions, need some advice
By Sagebrush
On Thu Sep 17, 2015 06:22 PM
You should definitely ask them about being in the regular beginner class! People of all ages love Irish dance and it is great exercise.
-most beginners start out with ballet shoes or sneakers since they are easy to find, and then move on to Ghillies when they are sure they want to continue. Your teacher should be able to tell you more about where to buy them.
- you cannot start out in the advanced beginner class, because although you may move up more quickly than the younger dancers in the beginner class, the advanced beginners have been dancing for a whole year, and have more experience. On the flip side, are in advanced beginner.
The kids wouldn't be that much older, anyway.
-What to wear: your teacher should be able to tell you this, but generally, I wouldn't go with yoga pants. They interfere with footwork, as you said, but also, Irish dance is pure cardio. You get hot pretty quickly.
Have fun ! Irish dance is a great dance form.
re: New to ID...have some questions, need some advice
By ladystardust
On Thu Sep 24, 2015 07:04 PM
My sister (34) and I (25) ran into the same problem of schools not letting us dance with their younger kids. We never really got a reason either, but the looks and tone of voice kinda said it all. We eventually found a school that would but it took months of emailing and visits. We had to take more time off from dance since then and are back in the same boat now that our old school is too far away.
re: New to ID...have some questions, need some advice
By Lil_Irish_Dance
On Wed Nov 18, 2015 08:25 PM
I would say trying it our with the kids. I dance with adults and it's fun, I don't feel awkward at all (I am a teenager though). This would allow you to advance through the levels quicker and join with the older kids.

I have never heard of vegan shoes, but I think that it would be fine for you to wear them if you could find them.

According to . . ., sock glue is made of:

Glycerin USP
Isopropyl Alcohol
Potassium Sorbate
Vinyl Acetate

Typically, you have to show you knees in the beginner levels. This helps you and the instructor. Once you advance into the higher levels, TC may become more lenient. But really, you'd have to ask the teacher.


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