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Jigging Basics: Step Dance Distilled

February 4 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Learn basics for the various step dance traditions of the North Atlantic. For the new dancer interested in learning to make some basic rhythms with their feet, or the experienced dancer interested in digging into the mechanics of some of the shared techniques in the step-dance from Ireland, Scotland, and North America. This workshop series digs into technique, history, and musical elements of dance forms from Ireland, Scotland, Cape Breton, Quebec, Appalachia, the Métis culture, and Ottawa Valley.

A portion of the class will focus on dancing in 4/4 and 3/2, and a portion will look specifically at how to dance to an Irish jig in 6/8. At the end of this workshop series, dancers will know how to do a few basic moves, and will have tried them within contexts like Irish reels and jigs, the Quebecois brandy, and the Métis Red River Jig.

This class is for all levels, and each participant will also get a 20 minute private session with Danielle for a chance to get some 1 on 1 instruction.

5 Fridays (February 4th to March 4th)

7:00 – 8:30 PM CST



In the Irish music and dance world, a ‘jig’ describes a tune or a dance in 6/8 timing. In many of the Canadian traditions, a jig is a step-dance, to jig is to dance, and a jigger is a dancer. The origin of the word is the french ‘gigue’ which was a movement in a Baroque suite in early France. This class covers jigs in all senses of the word – step dancing from North America, Irish jigs in 6/8, and the historical elements of these dance forms (such as the gigue in Baroque France).

Last summer, the Minnesota Old Time and Bluegrass Association asked me to teach a workshop that covered some basic skills for dancing to the various traditional tunes from the North Atlantic region (i.e. Ireland, Scotland, North America). I looked at the various dance forms, Irish step dance, old-style Irish dance and sean-nós, Scottish step dance, Cape Breton step dance, Ottawa Valley step dance, Métis jigging, Quebecois jigging, and American flatfooting and clogging. There are a few moves that all of these dance forms share, and while the style and swing of the move might differ based on the tradition, the mechanics are pretty much the same. So we spent 90 minutes learning and practicing some of the most basic ways to move to trad music from simple stepping (walking or marching) within the structure of the tune, to “pitter patter” steps, to shuffles and trebles. Then we applied the moves to tunes from the various traditions. Students left with a few new moves and having tried the basic steps of the Métis Red River Jig, Cape Breton reels and strathspey steps, Appalachian flatfooting steps, the sean-nós Connemara step from the west of Ireland, and Irish jigs in 6/8.


February 4
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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