On-line Irish Dance Lesson with Heidi Hakseth


In at present’s mainstream society, Irish dance is sort of nonetheless synonymous with photographs of Riverdance, which hit the scene in 1995. But it surely’s protected to say that traditionally, nearly all of Irish dancing scarcely resembled the favored on-stage spectacle (and the following flashy choreography of Michael Flatley in his ugly Celtic Tiger present). Fast-footed Irish dance is a cultural artform that has survived eras of repression, and we discovered about a number of expressions of this dance within the Dance Dispatches Social Membership on-line Irish dance lesson with Heidi Hakseth.

Women learning Irish dance stand in front of a mirror
Heidi Hakseth leads a bunch of adults in an Irish dance class at Specific Your self Madison dance college.

Grownup Dance Teacher, Heidi Hakseth of Dance with Heidi

Dance teacher, Heidi Hakseth, discovered Irish dancing as a younger grownup – after catching a glimpse of the dances while listening to Irish music in a Twin Cities bar. She has stored up dancing Irish dance ever since, and he or she commonly teaches grownup Irish dance classes. (That is particularly fantastic as a result of many Irish dance faculties don’t supply Irish dance lessons for adults.) At this time, Heidi shares each her information of sentimental shoe dances and arduous shoe dances with college students – when she’s not main ballet, faucet and jazz lessons.

Aspect word: Heidi and I taught on the identical native studio in Madison, WI (shout out: Dance Fabulous) for a brief period of time, however earlier than I met her, I watched her Irish dance seminar for the UW-Madison Dance Division.

Dance instructors at Dance Fabulous pose with Lindsey B of the Beat Freakz
The Dance Fabulous instructors pose with Lindsey B of the Beat Freakz after her workshops… (And a decade later, I nonetheless often rock a aspect ponytail.)

Digital Irish Dance Class

Historic Irish Dancing & Present Tendencies

All through our digital introduction to Irish dance workshop, Heidi coated a number of dance types beneath the bigger umbrella of Irish dance. She glossed over a number of the time signatures (jigs: 6/8, reels: 4/4, hornpipes: 4/4 beneath a syncopated rhythm) and differentiated the group dances (set dances and ceilis). She additionally defined that previously, dancers solely knew the dances from their area. Nonetheless, these days, many dancers prefer to construct up their choreography library by studying variations from different areas, too.

Heidi additionally demystified a number of the present Irish dance competitors vogue tendencies. As an illustration, Irish dance arduous footwear as soon as had wooden bottoms – and had nails pounded into the underside, like flamenco footwear. However now, the ‘normal’ Irish arduous footwear have giant fiberglass bottoms as a result of they’re light-weight – and loud, which helps to draw the judges’ consideration throughout a crowded competitors warmth. Likewise, the clothes developed to catch consideration, which is why you’ll spot such a myriad of neon colours.

At Irish dance competitions, you’ll see that bouncy curled hair has change into phased out in favor of artificial, tight-curled wigs, which at the moment are typically worn in a ‘double decker’ wig-on-wig fashion! And to finish the enduring look, many dancers can even tan their legs (however simply their legs, versus aggressive ballroom dancers, who are likely to bronze their whole physique).

Female Irish dancers in black pose on a sidewalk
Grownup Irish dance teacher, Heidi Hakseth, poses along with her Mad Craic Irish Dance college students at Madison’s annual Artwork Truthful on the Sq..

Sean-nós vs. Irish Step Dancing

Heidi structured the category, in order that we might embody and evaluate the funky old-style Sean-nós groove with the polished present-day Irish step dancing fashion. We strung collectively a brief sequence of strikes, feeling the soulful spine of the dance earlier than tweaking it to extra intently characterize the fashion that the Irish Dance Fee promotes. And it seems that Irish dance built-in the fashion of turned-out toes from ballet (pun!) – they usually nabbed the upright carriage European court docket dances from touring dance masters.

Each Irish dance types are nonetheless practiced at present. Nonetheless, the fashion perpetuated first by the Gaelic League and now the Irish Dance Fee, stays prevalent. Their lecturers change into licensed in response to this one particular methodology, they usually pay dues to keep up their skilled Irish dance road credit score. (That is much like some ballet faculties, by the way in which.)

Nonetheless, there are some dancers which are fascinated about reviving the Sean-nós Irish dance fashion, and different dancers that wish to be taught historic choreographies that aren’t at present eligible in Irish dancing competitions.

Faucet dancers will really feel snug studying Irish dance as a result of there are steps and combos which have related foot motions – some utilizing the heel, some utilizing the ball of the foot. At a newbie stage, you possibly can break down many steps into combos with steps, hops, shuffles and flaps (usually pronounced ‘fa-lap’). However anybody who loves dance and motion will benefit from the robust connection the music.

Irish dancing in unison, particularly in arduous footwear, kindles such a constructive feeling of group. So, I extremely advocate you give it a attempt – whether or not you possibly can head to the studio or be taught Irish dance on-line!

An Irish dancer performs a traditional brush dance with a broom on stage
Heidi Hakseth demonstrates a Brush Dance (broom dance) at Madison’s Overture Middle for the Arts.

On-line Irish Dance Class Abstract

Bodily depth: 3 / 5 – however solely as a result of the dancing was spaced out between dialogue factors and mini-demonstrations

Most difficult second: making an attempt to imagine the cool, laidback Sean-nós (or “previous fashion”) step dance fashion – since I actually benefit from the lighter, competitors fashion

Finest second: dancing with the music – it was so uplifting, even when I used to be off-count…

Three phrases to explain class: Jovial, rhythmic, elucidating.

Though Heidi ran an unique grownup Irish dance workshop, only for the women in our on-line dance social membership, you possibly can be taught from her, too. Try her web site, Dance with Heidi, for extra. Her Madison-based troupe performs as Mad Craic Irish Dance.



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