Ariel Bennett, ADCRG * Mary Pearl, TCRG * Denver, Colorado * 720-747-9377
Frequently Asked Questions
We teach dancers from ages 2 through adult.
Many people choose Irish dancing to connect with their Irish heritage. Many people also choose Irish dance after seeing Riverdance or Lord of the Dance. Even if you're not Irish, it's a great form of dance: it's energetic, exciting, and good exercise. Also, unlike some other forms of dance, Irish dance has a long tradition of modesty which means that the costumes cover wrists and collarbones, and skirts come down almost to the knee. You won't see your six year old bumping and grinding in Irish dance!
Also unlike other forms of dance, in Irish dance you start off wearing a team costume, like a uniform, rather than wearing a different costume for each recital number. With Heritage, you would have the opportunity to perform as many as fifty times a year. That means that you would spend $50-$100 once to perform up to fifty times, rather than spending $50-$100 per number to perform once a year. We also have a used costume program which means you can trade in old costumes if you outgrow them or decide to upgrade. Click here for more costume information.
At Heritage, we strive to provide dancers of all ages and levels with a friendly, positive environment where they are encouraged to do their best. Our classes are small, with a limit of 12, and in our larger classes we often have a second assistant to make sure that everyone gets individual attention. Unlike other schools and forms of dance, we realize that not everyone learns at the same rate, so instead of requiring dancers to stay in a level for a certain amount of time, we let dancers test to move up to the next level when they're ready. Some schools place heavy emphasis on competition, but at Heritage we let each dancer choose whether or not they would like to perform and/or compete. We want each student to have fun.
Because we value families, we offer a substantial discount for family members or additional classes per week. Our beginning classes are 90 minutes rather than the traditional 60 minutes so that we can include 30 minutes of stretches and conditioning along with dance practice. In a time when childhood obesity is at an all-time high, we want to help kids get on the right track by teaching them healthy habits early. We also want to help reduce injuries by increasing their strength and flexibility from their first class. Dancers are athletes as well as artists, and our program gives equal weight to training the body and learning the beautiful moves of the dance.
It is our goal to make each dancer and their families feel like a member of our Heritage family. If that is the kind of environment you are looking for, then give us a try!
If you’ve never taken Irish stepdancing before, you will be in a Basics level class. Look on the class schedule and find a Basics class for your age level.
If you have taken Irish stepdancing before with another school, you should contact us, and we will help you determine what level will be best for you.
You can start class during the first week of any month.
If you are not able to start at the first class of the month, please let us know. Students learn so much during the very first class that you have to start the first week, but sometimes we are able to find an alternative that will work for you.
All of our classes are a combination of dance instruction and stretches/exercises. For most classes, the stretch/exercise portion of the class overlaps with another class, so you get to meet other people in Heritage.
You will need to wear shorts and a t-shirt and have your hair pulled back if it‘s long. If it’s cold outside, wear layers over your shorts and t-shirt (you will get hot by the end of class, guaranteed). If you have jazz shoes or ballet slippers, you can wear those; otherwise, you can dance in your socks or bare feet at first. If you’d like to get Irish soft shoes (gillies), contact us and we can bring some to class for you. You also need to bring a water bottle and an exercise mat, available in the sporting goods departments of Target or Walmart.
We structure our classes so that students can learn at their own pace. Each class level has a certain number of steps you have to learn. Once you have learned all the steps from your level, you may test at the end of the month. In the test, you will do all your steps for your teacher. If you have learned everything from your level to your teacher's satisfaction, then you will move up to the next level.
How long a student stays in each level depends on the student. Students who have previous dance experience tend to move up more quickly, but our motto is, "When you are ready, you will move up." Students ages 7 and older usually spend 3-6 months in Basics class. Students who are under 7 usually spend at least a year in Basics.
In order to help build the teacher-student relationship so we can give the best instruction possible, we ask that parents not come into the classroom during class. However, three of our studios, the Friendship Center in Denver, Dance Academy in Littleton, and the Evergreen Rec Center, have windows from the hallway so you can watch class from outside the room.
At all of our locations, we have an Observation Day the last class of each month where parents, friends, and other visitors can watch part of class--and sometimes even participate!
Do you have other questions?
Please feel free to call or email us. We would love to answer any questions you have!