Frequently Asked Questions

Have a different question? Email us: VanshawAcademy@gmail.com

What should I wear to class?

Students in all class levels are required to come to class wearing proper attire as this ensures the dancer is safe while in class and allows the instructor to ensure proper body alignment and technique.

Proper attire consists of:

Shorts/ Skort / Leggings for colder months. Shorts and skirts must be above the knee. Tights should be worn underneath shorts/skirts that are excessively short.
A well-fitting T-shirt or tank top
White poodle socks (please contact instructor to purchase)
If the dancer has long hair it should pulled back and out of your face (i.e. Ponytail)
A proper supportive sports bra for older dancers

**Please ensure younger children are able to undress/ re-dress themselves in their attire should bathroom breaks be needed during class time.

Jeans, long pants with lose bottoms or long skirts/ dresses are a tripping hazard and are NOT PERMITTED.

Do I need special shoes?

Beginner dancers may wear sock feet for their first few classes but after their first month girls should wear black ballet slippers or Irish soft shoes (boys can wear black jazz shoes). This provides protection to dancers feet during class.

As a dancer progressive into higher levels proper Irish dance shoes will be required. These can be purchased locally, online, our through our used shoe program. Please speak with your instructor for more information.

*Irish Dance shoes follow UK sizes and differ from street/running shoes sizing, always follow the sizing guide for the shoes you are purchasing before ordering.

Do I have to compete?

We are a Recreational/ Open platform school. Vanshaw Irish Dance chooses a fun, relaxed approach to learning Irish dance. Students are given the opportunity to learn various forms of dance including solo dancing, Ceili (group) Dancing, Performance pieces and more! There may be opportunities in the future to compete in competitions digitally through open platform Irish Dance competitions. We will be happy to discuss competition options should your dancers be interested.

When do I get hardshoes?

Dancers are typically ready to enter hardshoe class after their first full year in our Beginner A class. Dancers must be 6 years of age or older to begin hardshoe. Your instructor will inform you when you are ready to enter this class.

Can I sign up for class anytime or only at certain times of year?

You can sign up for classes anytime throughout the year. Our new beginner dancers start in our Beginner A class. Classes run weekly September-June

I’m an Adult, can I take Irish Dance Lessons?

Of Course! We have a program specifically designed for retired dancers and adults brand new to Irish Dance. Visit out ReelRobics page for more info or E-mail us for more information vanshawacademy@gmail.com

Can I watch my child’s class?

During our trial classes the classroom door will be left open for parent viewing. During regular sessional classes the door will be closed to reduce distraction and ensure your dancers gets the most out of each class.

We will have class showcases and other events throughout the year to allow parents to view their child’s progress.

What should I bring to class?

All dancers should come to class prepared to give them the best opportunity to learn and succeed.

Dancers should arrive to class with the following:
– Water bottle (please no juice, or sugar drinks)
– Hair tied back from face (for children with long hair)
– Shoes (socks are acceptable for trials or the first month of class, after this time proper footwear should be purchased)

We do not have storage areas inside the studio. Please limit items coming into the classroom to the above list. There are a limited number of hangers for jackets during winter months. Please do not come into the studio space with wet/ outdoor shoes, these should be removed and left in the waiting area.

What is the costume rental fee?

Each dancer pays a costume rental fee each year at enrollment. This will provide you dancer with an appropriate size costume they can use throughout the year for performances, class photos, etc.

Costumes vary based on level of the dancer and may consists of:
White polo shirt
Performance skirt
Performance Dress
Body suite

What is Open Platform?

Open platforms means our dancers can compete with multiple organizations all over the world. Vanshaw Academy follows the WIDA curriculum focusing on the development of strong technique in our beginner dancers as well as emphasizing a fun and community based learning environment.

WIDA and open platform offers our students the opportunity to compete in at least 4 digital competitions each year as well as numerous in person competition in the USA, UK, and all over the world. Digital competitions allows our dancers to compete in a more relaxed and affordable environment while still allowing for awards, progression, and feedback on their dancing.

Learn more about WIDA: https://www.irish.dance/

How are classes determined?

Beginner classes are split by age where available. As dancers progress they will receive recommendation from their instructor which class is best for them to enroll in each year. Dancers can expect to spend 1-4 years in each level based on personal goals and growth in regular classes.

Refer to our Student Handbook to see full details on requirements for each level.