Dance! - Irish dance: How much time does it take?
Maybe you've read the Irish dance crashcourse or you clicked here from the introductory page of Dance! because you also feel that you are up for Irish dance, but still have some questions unanswered, like costs involved, time it takes and other things that come along with it. On this page and the next, I'll be stating my personal experiences.
Do you need to have some pre-education for Irish dance?
No. Even if you don't have any dance-experience whatsoever, you can start with Irish dance. You will find out if you have a sense of rhythm or not. If you don't then Irish dance will probably take it's load out on you, but one can learn anything!
The same goes for your level of fitness. You will find out if you have to do something about that or not.
It's a myth anyway that you have to be extremely fit for Irish dance, something you will see a lot in the comments section on Youtube. All those topdancers are extremely fit and have great stamina, but that did not come in a day. When I started, I wasn't the most sporty type as well but fitness came with dancing.
How much time does it take you?
That depends on the location of your school, the school itself, the method of teaching and your attitude.
Ofcourse, the more you progress, the more time it will take to stick to that level. Till now, I get the feeling it's hardly any use to follow more than 1 class a week when you are only a Beginner or Primary, but this probably differs across schools. Ofcourse, the time you need to practice will increase as you progress. If you get to the highest level, you'll probably need to go to a gym as well.
I take one class a week, which takes about an hour to an hour and a half. I spent about the same time on travelling from and to danceclass.
At home, I practice about 2 days a week for about 30 minutes, but it differs greatly. I sometimes practice far more. I practice at work twice a week, about 10 minutes each on my heavy shoes.
Stretching really takes time: I try to do that for 30 minutes till an hour. This depends on how well it goes. I just try to do it as often as possible, but don't do it as often as I should (ofcourse...).
In the 4 years of classes I take, I got to intermediate level (read: I have great difficulty so far with steps on Intermediate level).
I'd like to dance on heavy shoes as soon as possible, how long does that take?
I can't provide an answer to that. You start practicing your soft-shoe dances first. If you are allowed to buy heavy shoes right away, differs from school to school, but probably also depends how well you progress.
I started in 2011. If I did not have so much bumps along my path, I most like would have been dancing on heavy shoes at the end of 2012. I can safely say that you can make your first steps on heavy shoes within a year, even as a late beginner, but don't expect it to be easy.
'I want to be a topdancer! What does it take to get there?'
Well, let's stop here for a moment first. Every person is different. Where one looks at a dance the teacher shows first and then already dances it half him- or herself, the other person needs more teaching and help and can spent months on mastering 1 step.
So, I really can't tell how long it will take you to reach the top. Much depends on your attitude and I think you will also need a certain physical constitution to reach that goal.
When you want to give up everything for dancing, you can reach a lot in a few years, but I think I can safely say that even qualifying for a European Championship is quite the challenge already.
When I look at myself: I got to my first Intermediate steps in February 2017. If I would have had the chance to be dancing from the start in 2011, I would probably have progressed quite a lot by now, but hey, I can't change history.
At the moment of writing (February 2017) I still have not won anything at a Feis, which mainly comes down to my selfconfidence. For some strange reason, my mind goes crazy when there's a competition and I'm nothing compared to what I do at dance-class.