5 - 6
Dancers in the Ulster Program are strongly encouraged to attend practice twice a week, but there is an option to attend once a week at this stage. Classes are 45 minutes in length as students continue to develop their attention and focus. Students are normally age five at time of enrolment to participate in this program, and enrolment is open in September and January each year.
In this program students are introduced to the Irish language, and learn to say hello, goodbye and thank you to their teachers in the Irish language each class. Students learn to distinguish between their right and left foot, point their toes as well as learn their first dance routines. Students are invited to try competition at the Beginner level however this is always optional. Dancers graduate from the Ulster program when they have learned their beginner jig and reel in soft shoes, and can perform those dances with support from their teacher. At this level, students are invited to perform at public performances and school celebrations called ceilis.
Students have the option to purchase their first beginner school costume in this program. OIDC school costumes are reused from year to year unlike other dance forms which require different costumes to be purchased each year. The school offers new and lightly-used costumes for resale to keep costs as low as possible.
Uniform fees include a school t-shirt, dance socks, black dance slippers along with a teddy bear that will ‘live’ at the studio. Students complete the uniform with their own black, blue or grey shorts or leggings. All dancers are fit with black dance slippers in their first week of class. Additional shoes, socks and t-shirts are available for purchase through the school.