Irish Dancing: What a Beginner Needs To Know

If you’re just getting started Irish dancing, or you’d like to, this is for you. From some historical background information to the shoes you’ll want to wear, we have you covered. Read on to find out everything an Irish dancing beginner needs to know.


Irish dancing has its origins in the Celts and druids on the island of Ireland many centuries ago. While these folk dances are quite different from Irish dancing today, these early formations laid the groundwork for modern Irish dance.

The Quadrille is a square dance historically performed by four couples and is cited as the biggest influence on Irish dancing. Widespread across Europe toward the end of the 1700s, the dancing style spread to Ireland in the early 1800s. 


The key to learning this type of dancing is in perfecting your technique. One of the essential things to remember is to turn out your feet while you dance. Feet pointed straight outwards is considered bad form and will lead to developing bad habits that may be difficult to correct later on.

If you can picture anything about an Irish dancer, it’s their arms being held straight and behind their back. The other quintessential Irish dancing image is the crossed knees, which can be the toughest skill to learn. Practice switching your legs back and forth while keeping your knees as close together as possible, and you’ll get the hang of it!

Try imagining that there is an invisible tightrope underneath you and that you need to stay perched atop it at all times. Don’t let your steps shift over to the side; keep them right in front of you, and you’ll look much more professional.


Last but certainly not least, a dancer’s equipment is a crucial piece of the dancing puzzle. Whether you need soft or hard shoes, Rutherford dance shoes are an excellent choice for a beginning or experienced dancer.

Now that you have a sense of the history as well as some important techniques to remember, you’re well on your way to being the Lord or Lady of the Dance. You know what a beginner needs to know, so you’re ready to start Irish dancing!


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