Getting out of Beginners

After your child has competed in Beginners for some time, she will also start to learn in class, dances which are not considered Beginners steps. She will then be in a position to compete at the next levels... Primary, Elementary and Intermediate.

Your child can still dance in Beginners, however she must dance ‘beginners dances’. If she dances harder steps in the lower grade she will not be marked at all, as this would not be fair to the real beginners. So at some competitions you may be ticking six or seven dances on the entry form. Be aware that this can tire a small child. However, sometimes in the case of children with a dancing background in some other area, she may take to Irish very quickly and start to come First Place in Beginners. If this happens and there are over seven children in the contest, she will be promoted to Primary and no longer be allowed to compete in the Beginner grade in that dance. If you forget and enter your winning child in beginners in that dance at another competition, other mothers will kindly remind you of the win.


At the Primary level your child will learn harder dances. Steps she learns in Primary cannot be used in Beginners. Steps such as twists will be included.


A recent grade introduced is called Elementary. Elementary has the same steps as Intermediate and Open. These steps must not be danced in lower grades. The idea of Elementary is to bridge the gap between Primary and Intermediate and allows those newly upgraded from Primary a chance to adjust to the harder steps required of them. If you win in Elementary with eight or more dancers competing you must now dance in Intermediate in that dance.


You can stay at this level until you win a section against eight or more dancers and then you will be promoted to Open. The steps are the same for Elementary Intermediate and Open.


This is the highest level at which a dancer can dance.


When your child learns more difficult dances she can enter the Premiership section of the competitions. In this section the competitor dances, say, a reel and a jig and the points are added together. Premierships are danced in age divisions e.g. 8yr old Premiership. Trophies are awarded to the best overall dancers. Sometimes there are Reserve Premierships which can only be entered by dancers who have not previously won a major trophy.

The scoring of Championships is a little different to those at Beginners Competitions. Once you have been to a few you might like to find out how the scoring is calculated.

State and National Competitions

The State Championships are held over a full weekend in August each year. Another weekend is devoted to the State Teams competition.

The Australians are held by each capital city in turn and competition goes over a week in the October school holidays. Each dancer is judged on her overall performance in two dances and if she does well she will be recalled to dance her Set Dance. Her mark will be an aggregate of all three dances. Which three dances she dances depends on her age: These are listed in a table below

At the top of a dancer's career are the World Championships. Mostly they are held in Ireland. 2002 saw them held outside of Ireland for the first time. Read about the history of the World Championships

Girls' and Ladies' Grades

Sub Minors

Reel /Jig /Trad Set Dance

Minors 9yr

Reel/Hornpipe/Jig Set Dance

Minors 10 yr

Slip Jig, Jig, Hornpipe Set Dance

Junior Girls 11

Reel, Hornpipe, Jig Set Dance

Junior Girls 12

Slip Jig, Jig, Hornpipe Set Dance

Int Girls 13

Reel, Hornpipe, Jig Set Dance

Int Girls 14

Slip Jig, Jig, Hornpipe Set Dance

Senior Girls 15

Reel, Hornpipe, Jig Set Dance

Senior Girls 16

Slip Jig, Jig, Hornpipe Set Dance

Junior Ladies 17

Reel, Hornpipe, Jig Set Dance

Junior Ladies 18

Slip Jig, Jig, Hornpipe Set Dance

Ladies 19 & 20

Reel, Jig , HornpipeSet Dance

Senior Ladies 21+

Slip Jig, Hornpipe, Jig Set Dance

Boys' and Men's Grades

Sub Minor Boys

Reel /Jig /Trad Set Dance

Minor Boys

Reel, Jig, Hornpipe Set Dance

Junior Boys

Reel, Hornpipe, Jig Set Dance

Int. Boys

Jig/Reel/Hornpipe time Set Dance

Senior Boys

Reel, Hornpipe, Jig Set Dance

Junior Men

Reel, Jig, Hornpipe Set Dance


Reel, Hornpipe, Jig Set Dance

Senior Men

Reel, Jig, Hornpipe Set Dance