Learn a Basic Reel
Get started with the reel
Dance with reel music
If you are just starting to learn Irish dancing the first dance you will learn is the reel. This is a dance that takes place to reel music (reel as in 2/2 or alternatively 4/4 time).
Basics to begin with
The first thing you will learn is that your arms will always remain straight and held down by your sides. You start this way and hold the position throughout the dance right through until the end.
The next thing to understand is the basic position, as it is this position you will always return to. Your left foot points forward while your right foot is at a right angle to it, with the right heel next to the toes of the left foot. No matter what move you make next, your feet will always return to this basic position (although they may swap, so the right foot points forward on some occasions instead of the left).
Learning the three basic steps
Irish dancing will use these three steps as the very basic level. Before you learn anything else you must master these three steps along with the basic position. These four elements alone will provide you with the basics to be able to dance many reels.
The best way to learn the three basic steps is to look for videos online that show you someone performing them so you can see them. They are exceptionally hard to describe, but the basic form of each is given below. Each one begins from the basic position.
As the name would suggest this step incorporates a jump. The actual jump threes themselves are comprised of more than a dozen small moves that combine together to form the jump threes.
This move involves hopping back on the rear foot, once again from the basic position. While you are in the air the other foot should be raised up and you need to try and touch your opposite hip with your toes. It’s a tricky move to master but once you have it, it looks very impressive indeed.
Sevens (the side step)
This can be a hop or a jump and the foot that is in front is moved to one side, hence the name of the step. It is also so called because there are seven moves to the step.
Combining the moves to dance a basic reel
You will do this during a dance class if you are a member, once you have learned and mastered the basic moves. It can take some considerable practice to combine the moves in such a way that you go seamlessly from one to the next, but the practice is definitely worth it. It is this practice that will bring you up to the standard where you can think about entering your first feis.
Don’t get disheartened if you feel as if you are not getting anywhere. Many dancers have spent countless hours practising until they make it look easy!