FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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CAN I SIGN UP FOR CLASSES ANYTIME? OR ONLY CERTAIN TIMES DURING THE YEAR?
You are welcome to sign up at any time! New students start in our "Level 1" class, which is structured so that new students can start at any time and feel right at home! Our lesson plans are crafted so that each student can learn at their own pace. Weekly classes happen September through June.
HOW DO I ENROLL IN CLASSES ONLINE?
Contact us and we'll get you all set! If you are brand new, you qualify for our New Student Special, which gives you half off your first month's tuition and waives the registration fee! You can also sign up for a Free Trial Class in our in-person classes. Contact us, and we'll get you all set up!
THE CLASS/CAMP I WANT IS FULL. HOW DO WAITING LISTS WORK?
You're not committing to anything by being on a waiting list, so put your dancer on as many waiting lists as you like! When a spot opens up in a class or camp, we'll email you to offer you the spot. If you say yes, we'll get your dancer enrolled and ready to start! If you say no, no worries!
DOES MY DANCER NEED SPECIAL IRISH SHOES?
No, we do not require the special Irish shoes. You can do your first few classes in just socks to get started, but then students need some kind of dance shoe, as the padding between the foot and floor will protect the foot from the repeated impact of all the jumps that come with dancing. If you already have ballet flats or jazz shoes at home, those work great to start in for learning light shoe, and if you already have tap shoes, those are great for learning heavy shoe. No dance shoes of any kind are necessary for our Summer Camps - socks work great! More info on Irish dance shoes is in our Season Handbook.
WHERE CAN I BUY DANCE SHOES?
If you are looking to buy the Irish shoes, we require certain brands. First check with us to see if we have a pair available for sale in your size in the studio. If we don't have your dancer's size, we'll help you order a new pair. Need vegan options? Our Irish shoe suppliers are in the process of creating vegan Irish shoes, but for now, the awesome local dance store The Leotard can help get you sized and sorted with vegan ballet, jazz, and/or tap shoes! More info on Irish dance shoes is in our Season Handbook.
WHAT SHOULD MY DANCER WEAR?
At our Forest Grove location, there is a uniform for each class: hair tied back, black pants, and uniform shirt. In all our other class locations, we ask that clothes don’t restrict movement, so no jeans or ankle-length skirts. Some students choose to wear athletic clothes to dance class, some wear leotards, tutus, and tights, some wear a t-shirt and shorts. Whatever they prefer! We also ask that dancers with longer hair have it tied back.
I'VE HEARD IRISH DANCING IS EXPENSIVE. WILL THIS EMPTY MY BANK ACCOUNT?
No, not at OIDA! That myth comes from the fact that competitive Irish dancing, especially at the international level, can be very expensive, but here at OIDA our goal is to introduce the wonderful art of Irish dancing to as many people as possible, so we do our best to keep costs low and affordable. There is a seasonal registration fee, dance shoes, and the cost of class, and then maybe one day a class uniform shirt or cute costume when on a Performance Team. That’s it!
DO IRISH DANCERS WEAR WIGS?
No, not at OIDA! We believe in a natural look for our dancers when we perform. Similarly, our dancers have a natural look when it comes to make-up, either not wearing any, or wearing it specifically to define natural features for the audience, combat stage lighting, or enhance a character's costume.
DO DANCERS HAVE TO WEAR EXPENSIVE DRESSES?
No, not at OIDA! You'll often find those in competitive dancing, but at OIDA, we want to keep the costs down and spread the joy of Irish dancing to as many people as possible. We wear simple and cost-effective outfits for performances, often with traditional Irish elements. Visit our Performance Team page to see some examples!
CAN WE TRY IT OUT?
Yes! We offer a New Student Special Offer that gives you half off your first month's tuition PLUS no registration fee! New students can also sign up for a free trial class in our in-person classes at our TCG location. Plus, class tuition is billed monthly at OIDA, so there's no long commitment!
MY DANCER IS INTERESTED IN COMPETING. WHAT DO I DO?
OIDA offers the only fully non-competitive Irish dancing program in Oregon. If you are looking for competitive Irish dancing classes, there are multiple options for you to choose from in Oregon.
WHAT IS A GOOD AGE TO START? DO BOYS IRISH DANCE? DO YOU HAVE TO BE IRISH?
We believe that Irish dancing is universal and has something to offer everyone, and we strive in all we do to make OIDA a positive, joy-filled experience for each person we encounter. We welcome students of all races, genders, religions, cultures, ethnicities, nationalities, sexual orientations, backgrounds, and abilities. OIDA is a safe space for all to learn and enjoy Irish dancing. Check out our video page for examples of awesome Irish dancing from around the world!
I'M INTERESTED IN YOUR ADULT CLASSES, BUT I'M WORRIED. WILL I BE ABLE TO KEEP UP?
We structure our classes so that new students can start at any time and feel right at home! Our lesson plans are crafted so that each student can learn at their own pace. Schedule a free trial class to come see for yourself!
DO I HAVE TO PRACTICE OUTSIDE OF CLASS?
At OIDA, we do not require our dancers to practice outside of class at all! If you want to practice at home, you're more than welcome to, and we provide you with tons of bonus videos and resources to help with that. But we structure all of our classes so that all you need to do is come to class. Our lesson plans are structured to pick up where we left off in the previous class, but our instructors can also adapt for you if you've practiced at home between classes. So there's never any pressure from us for you to practice outside of class, but if you want to, go ahead!
SHOULD MY DANCER START BY LEARNING LIGHT SHOE, HEAVY SHOE, OR BOTH?
It is up to you! Our program is designed so that a dancer can start out learning light shoe, heavy shoe, or both at once, and whatever they decide, our curriculum provides dancers with an equally beneficial start to Irish dancing. If your dancer has time in their weekly schedule, consider taking class twice per week! Attending twice a week provides more chances to learn and improve, aka even more fun!
IS OREGON IRISH DANCE ACADEMY ACCREDITED OR CERTIFIED?
The largest and oldest international governing body for Irish dancing is An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha, or CLRG for short. CLRG hosts what they call TCRG certifications, which are intensely rigorous, 3-day-long, 5-part examinations. The TCRG exam is largely considered the world over as the most difficult examination available to evaluate Irish dancers' teaching ability. Miss Christina worked over 3 years to complete the 12 pre-requisite Grade Exams that qualified her to take the TCRG exam. She then passed the TCRG Exam in 2020, with flying colors no less, earning "Honors" in the dancing section and a perfect score on the music section!
IS OREGON IRISH DANCE ACADEMY REGISTERED WITH A LARGER IRISH DANCING ORGANIZATION?
Oregon Irish Dance Academy is not connected to any larger Irish dancing organization. Miss Christina passed the TCRG exam offered by CLRG, but we have chosen to remain independent and not to register with CLRG. One of the main practical functions of CLRG and the other major Irish dancing organizations is to host and regulate competitions, and as OIDA is completely non-competitive, we prefer to operate independently from competitive organizations.
Miss Christina and Miss Victoria are active members of multiple local organizations that promote and support Irish dance, music, language, and culture in our area, including the All-Ireland Cultural Society of Oregon, Irish Network Portland, CCE Oregon (Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann), the Céilí of the Valley Society, and the Celtic Heritage Alliance.
ARE OIDA'S TEACHERS BACKGROUND CHECKED?
Yes! Miss Christina and Miss Victoria are background checked by The Children's Gym, Portland's leading facility for children's fitness activities since 1984. OIDA also runs background checks for all additional staff members including camp coaches, workshop teachers, and substitute teachers.