Intro to Irish Dance in Asheville, NC

Irish dance is an activity shared by many for generations upon generations. In fact, it is thought to be nearly as old as the Celtic civilization itself. Originating in the Druidic era of Ireland, this style of dance was made popular by the Riverdance phenomena of the 1990s


As Irish step dancing began to proliferate across American stages, many performing arts schools across the country began latching on to the ancient step-heavy dance. For residents of Asheville, North Carolina, learning Irish Dancing is as easy as registering for a class at the Asheville Performing Arts Academy.

What Is Irish Dance?

This extremely niche activity is made up of a sequence of steps with very little upper-body movement. Each step is a sequence of foot movements and leaps that is choreographed to fit a specific musical cadence, specifically around Irish music. Each sequence is danced through 8 bars of music for each foot.

Irish dances are typically choreographed for Irish music, such as:

  • Reels
  • Light Jigs
  • Slip Jigs
  • Treble Jigs
  • Hornpipe

Each dance has specific steps that vary in levels of difficulty and are created by the particular Irish dance school.

Additionally, there are specific shoes made for Irish dancing. These shoes are either soft shoes or hard shoes. Reels, light jigs, and slip jigs are performed by dancers wearing soft shoes, while dances involving treble jigs and hornpipes use hard shoes. 

Irish Dance Competition

In some cases, Irish dancers will choose to compete in Irish Dance competitions. These competitions offer events for multiple skill levels and age groups. 

Competitive Irish Dance can be a great way to push yourself as an artist to master certain steps. Irish dance competitions are a lot of fun and make for a great experience for any dancer looking to set goals and make new friends in the Irish Dance community.

The Carpenter Academy of Irish Dance

If you are interested in learning more about Irish Dance, look no further than the Carpenter Academy of Irish Dance, part of the Asheville Performing Arts Academy. As the director for Asheville, Heather Gallagher has been dancing since she was four years old. She looks for ways to use dance to express herself while upholding the Irish dance heritage. 

With classes as low as $65 a month, you or your child could begin to learn the beautiful and unique art of Irish Dance and hopefully fall in love with it as much as we have. If you would like to learn more about any of the classes available at Asheville Performing Arts Academy, contact us today!