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Frequently Asked Questions

Does my child need expensive Irish shoes?

No, we do not require that your child wear special Irish shoes. Students must have some kind of dance shoe, as the leather between the foot and floor will protect the foot from the repeated impact of all the jumps that come with dancing.

If you already have ballet flats or jazz shoes at home, those work great to start in for light shoe classes, and if you already have tap shoes, those are great for heavy shoes classes. If you don’t have any dance shoes yet, we recommend Hallmore Dance Products – they offer a beginner Irish light shoe (called “beginner pomp”) and a beginner Irish heavy shoe (called “beginner jig”) that are easily the best price on the market, about $30 for the light shoe and $60 for the heavy shoe – prices comparable to jazz and tap shoes.

If you want to avoid size guessing and waiting for the shoes to ship from Ireland, you can just buy those Hallmore Irish shoes locally. Noel Hislop owned and operated The Celtic Corner, Portland’s beloved Irish store for many, many years before retiring in 2015. He continues to supply dance shoes to Portland’s Irish dancers, as he knows how tricky it can be to guess what size to order when buying online. Give him a call at 503-287-3009 and he will arrange a time to meet you to try on shoes. Noel is so sweet, and his Irish accent makes the whole experience of getting your Irish dancing shoes that much more fun!

Can I sign up for classes at any time? Or only certain times during the year?

You can sign up at any time! Our classes are structured to accommodate each student – we start with group exercises that everyone can feel successful doing while feeling individually challenged, and then we switch into station-style work, where each student works one-on-one with the instructor on the skills and patterns they are specifically developing. So your child can start any time and have a wonderful classroom experience, feeling included, challenged, and successful.

What should my child wear to dance class?

We don’t have a strict uniform policy here at TCG.  We just ask that clothes don’t restrict movement, so nothing too tight (like jeans) and nothing too loose (like long flowy pants), as both would get in the way. Some students wear gymnastics leotards to dance class, some wear ballet tutus and tights, some just wear athletic clothes. Whatever works for you! The only other thing to know is please tie back longer hair so that it’s not in the way!

I’ve heard Irish dancing is expensive.   Is this going to empty my bank account?

No, not at TCG!  That myth comes from the fact that competitive Irish dancing at the international level can be very expensive, but here at TCG our goal is to introduce the wonderful art of Irish dancing to as many young children as possible, so we do our best to keep costs low and affordable.  You pay a registration fee, you buy dance shoes, and you pay for the cost of class.  That’s it!

Can my child try a class before I sign them up?

Yes!  We offer TWO free trial classes. Click here for more information.

My child wants to compete.  What do I do?

Here at TCG, our program is recreational and utterly non-competitive.  If your child is interested in competing, they will need to take lessons from a teacher certified to register students in competition.  There are multiple certified teachers in the Portland area.  We recommend contacting each teacher to determine which one is the right fit for you.  Feel free to contact our program director if you need any assistance with this.

What’s the ideal age to start Irish dancing?  │ Does my child need to be Irish?  │  I’ve only ever heard of girls Irish dancing. Do boys?

The answer to all these questions is that Irish dance is universal.  Young or old, boy or girl, Irish or not – Irish dancing has something to offer everyone!

Your program offers both heavy shoe and light shoe classes for every age.  Is it better to start with light shoe or heavy shoe?

In TCG’s Irish Dancing Program, all introductory level dance classes follow a fundamental lesson model.  This means that our light shoe and heavy shoe classes provide your child with an equally beneficial start to Irish dancing. We actually highly recommend that your child take one class of each at the same time. Attending twice a week will give your child valuable repetition, and taking one heavy shoe class and one light shoe class will be very exciting, as they’ll get to learn and work on something new and different each class!

If your aspiring dancer finds that one shoe type really intrigues them, however, here’s how you choose. Light shoe inherently has a much stronger emphasis on jumping high into the air and lifting your legs in different ways, while heavy shoe has a much stronger emphasis on sound and foot control. Both forms build amazing strength, flexibility, and control, and are great fun, so it comes down to which form catches your child’s interest more! Take advantage of our free trial option to help them decide.