a non-competitive traditional Irish dance program at

Dance Biz
Longview Plaza--1742 Long Pond Road
Rochester, NY 14606
(585) 227-6614

Class Schedule

Irish Stepdance Classes

Sean Nós and Country Set Classes

Days Off For The Program Year

Rince Na Saor offers instruction in all the various forms of Irish Dance, including modern Irish Stepdance (softshoe and hard shoe stepdancing, ceili and figure dancing, traditional and modern sets, and family dancing), Sean Nós ("sha nose" = old style Irish stepdancing), and beginner Country Set Dancing. All classes are taught by Kathy Whitfield. The descriptions below will help you choose the style which is best for you.

See Lesson Fees for lesson rates and registration.

Irish Stepdance Classes

Irish Dancing developed along two main lines, the "High Style" and the "Low Style". The "High", or "modern" style of Irish dance is the kind you see in Riverdance, including soft shoe and hard shoe stepdancing, ceili ("kay-lee"--group) dancing, traditional and modern set dances, and family dances. Modern Irish is danced on the balls of the feet, with the arms held at the sides. It is a choreographed style featuring intricate patterns and high precision movements. Modern Irish is dynamic and graceful. It's easy to see why it has taken the world by storm!

Rince Na Saor uses a less extreme, more traditional style than the intense, athletic style typically used in competition. It is not necessary to jump several feet off the floor or kick above your head to do modern stepdancing, and our less severe style is more accessible and more enjoyable for the recreational dancer.

Rince Na Saor offers 3 levels of instruction in the "High", or "modern" style of Irish for children (from age 7) and adults, plus classes by appointment for Traditional Sets, Modern Sets, and Family Dancing. All leveled classes teach soft shoe and hard shoe stepdancing and ceili (group) dancing. All dancers need a pair of Irish soft shoes; most dancers will also need a pair of Irish hard shoes. The number of years dancing listed for each level is approximate because students learn and progress at different rates.

Classes begin September 15, 2017.

Children's Classes

Children's Level I: Friday, 6:30-7:30 p.m. For children ages 7 and older in their first and second year of Irish dance. Irish soft shoes are required. Hard shoe is danced only in class, not the show; tap shoes are recommended because of the cost of hard shoes.

Children's Level II: Monday, 6:30-7:30 p.m. For children in their 3rd year and higher. Irish hard shoes are required for this class.

Children's Level III: Monday, 7:30-8:30 p.m. For children in their 6th year and higher. Irish hard shoes are required for this class.

Adult Classes

Adult Level I: Friday, 7:30-8:30 p.m. For adults and teens in their first and second year of Irish dance. Irish soft shoes are required; hard shoes are required for show participants. Students may try the class first before deciding whether to invest in hard shoes.

Adult Level II: Friday, 5:00-6:00 p.m. For students in their 3rd year and higher. Irish hard shoes are required for this class.

Adult Level III: Monday, 8:30-9:30 p.m. For students in their 6th year and higher. Irish hard shoes are required for this class.

Special Classes

Rince Na Saor offers special classes by appointment which run Friday, 6:00-6:30 p.m. and 8:30-9:00 p.m. Classes offered this year are:

Set Dances: A set dance is a hard shoe dance where the tune is "set", or the same for every dancer. Although designed as solo dances, they can also be performed in a group, dancing side by side with other dancers. There are two types, modern and traditional:

Modern Set Dances: In a modern set, the steps are choreographed by the teacher. There are many modern set tunes, some old, some new. Modern Sets offered this year are Rodney's Glory, a hornpipe, and Vanishing Lake, a jig.

Traditional Set Dances: In a traditional set, both the tune and the steps are "set", or the same for every dancer. There are several traditional sets which have been passed down over the years, starting in the 1700's. Traditional Sets offered this year are:

The Blackbird (hornpipe): The Blackbird is the oldest of the traditional sets, with the earliest versions dating back to the early 1700's.

King of the Fairies (hornpipe): On the other end of the spectrum, King of the Fairies is the newest of the traditional sets, composed in 1942.

St. Patrick's Day (jig): Composed in the 1890's and somewhat shorter and simpler than the other two, St. Pat's is a good first set if you haven't tried one yet.

The Priest and His Boots (jig): This lovely dance is an example of a very early style of modern stepdance. A hybrid between today's modern and an older style of footwork, this set is danced low on the balls of the feet (not high, as in modern), and the feet are usually parallel (not crossed), while the body and arms are looser than today's style. History buffs would enjoy this one.

Suitable for: Level III dancers, and Level II dancers with teacher approval. Class is capped at 4 dancers so everyone can see me and hear their own feet.

Duration: Approximately 6 lessons, with brush-up lessons in April/May/June for those who wish to perform.

Family Dances: Designed as a way to share Irish dance with your family, these are short, simple, soft shoe dances which are very popular in Irish dance culture. Usually they take the form of a Parent/Child dance, with a parent dancing with 1 or 2 children, but it could also be a husband and wife, siblings, a cousin who wants to try Irish dance, or any other configuration. Dancers who are new to Irish will learn the 2 basic Irish steps ("3's" and "7's") and typically use whatever shoes they have in their closet which will work for Irish, so no need to buy Irish shoes unless you want to. Performance in our show at the end of the year is optional.

Suitable for: All levels.

Duration: Approximately 6 lessons, with brush-up lessons in April/May/June for those who wish to perform.

Family members may wear suitable street clothes for performance; no need to purchase a costume unless you wish to.

Sean Nós and Country Set Classes

The "Low Style" of Irish Dance is the older, more traditional style of Irish, including Sean Nós ("sha nose"--old style) stepdancing and Country Set Dancing.

Sean Nós: Sean Nós dancing is a rhythmic, relaxed style of percussive dance. Steps are danced low to the ground, and the arms are free to move as the dancer wishes. It is an improvisational style where dancers combine steps as they wish based on how they feel and the music they're dancing to. Sean Nós is hugely popular in Ireland, and that poplularity has found its way to America. Those who find Modern Irish Hard Shoe too confining or too fast will love Sean Nós!

Watch Sean Nós:

Sean Nós classes are are currently offered for adults and teens and are organized in sessions, with our next session being 4 classes beginning in January. Buy the 4 lesson package, or "drop in" on a class-by-class basis. No prior experience in Irish Dance is necessary.

Sean Nós, Fridays, 8:30-9:15 p.m.

Winter Session: January 19, 26, February 2, 9

Spring Session: March 2, 9, 16, 23

Country Set Dancing: Country Sets are group social dances which resemble American square dances. Danced by 4 couples in a square, they are a regular feature of the ceilithe (dance parties) held in Rochester. There is a thriving Country Set Group which meets on Wednesday night at McGinnity's on West Ridge Road in Greece, and beginners are welcome to join.

For those who would like a Country Set class focused on beginners, we offer "half set" classes. A "half set" is 2 couples, so this class needs at least 3 students to run.

Watch a Country Half Set:

Click to watch a full set of 4 couples.

Country Half Sets are offered by appointment on Friday, 6:00-6:30 and 8:30-9:00 p.m. Take a single class, or a series of classes on evenings convenient for you.

Days Off

Days off for the 2017-2018 school year are:

Monday Night Classes:

October 9--Columbus Day

December 25--Holidays

January 1--Holidays

February 19--Winter Break

April 2--Spring Break

May 28--Memorial Day

Friday Night Classes:

November 24--Thanksgiving

December 22--Holidays

December 29--Holidays

February 23--Winter Break

March 30--Spring Break

April 6--Spring Break

PLEASE NOTE: Rince Na Saor does not follow any particular school district's calendar, so it is entirely possible to have dance class on a day when school is not in session (Examples: Martin Luther King Day, school conference days) or vice versa. These are the only scheduled days off regardless of your local school calendar.

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