Teaching Dancing

Teaching dancing is not for the faint hearted. It appears simple, particularly when you have been very lucky like me to have learned from really experienced dance teachers.

But the reality is that it takes a lot of thought and preparation to teach dancing well, especially if you are starting out or not very experienced.

The dance community would benefit from lots more teachers, so I thought it would be good to share some of the things I have learned in my own dance teaching journey, which started in 2005.

I have the benefit of also having been a corporate trainer and facilitator for 25 years, am a qualified assistant cross-country ski instructor and most recently, have been teaching tai chi to music for the last 7 years. I have brought my knowledge and skills from these other areas to my teaching approach.

Attracting new dancers to classes is becoming absolutely vital to keeping the set dancing alive. We need to get as many new dancers as possible!

Irish Set Dancing: 3 Sets For Beginner Classes-Ease Them In Gently
This article outlines some things to think about when teaching absolute beginners, with   suggested sets and music.

I have created a brand new dance, The Rattlin’ Bog Set which is for absolute beginners. There are teaching notes attached to this four figure dance, including a list of suggested music. This set was inspired by a simple dance I created in 2016 for kids to sing and dance to the well-known song The Rattlin’ Bog.

Teaching Kids to Dance: Hop Skip Jump Clap!
I wrote this article in response to an enquiry from a school teacher wanting some ideas on creating a dance performance for her students. It’s a bit long…. but it covers a lot of dance teaching techniques and some suggestions for dance performance.

6 simple Irish dances for your Christmas party
The dances in this article are mostly relatively simple but most would benefit from some dance experience.

I have learned a lot about what new dancers find difficult to learn and what is easier, and I have written about this in the articles above for Absolute Beginner Dancers. I have had a go at rating the main set dancing movements as to how easy or hard they are to learn for new dancers, in my experience. As a teacher, you can use this list to select sets/ figures that may better suit the experience level of your dancers. DOWNLOAD PDF

Irish Dance Music – It’s Child’s PlayLearning the rhythm of Jigs, Reels, Polkas, Slides and Hornpipes
Great music is really the key to great fun dancing, and great fun is what keeps it all worthwhile. It’s also important that as a teacher, you have some simple ways of teaching your dancers about the different music timings and the steps that match.

ONLINE TOOLS for working with music for teaching
MEASURE how quick or slow your music for teaching is (Beats Per Minute BPM) here- https://www.beatsperminuteonline.com/

SLOW DOWN your music to a pace that suits your dance students using the Amazing Slowdowner app.

I hope to continue to add more information and resources to this page in future.
Feel free to ask any questions you might have via EMAIL

Best wishes
Nora Stewart
Irish Bliss