How to Do an Irish Jig

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The light jig is the simplest and fastest of the Irish jigs. This elegant dance is also the easiest to learn. The standard step for the Irish jig is called a rising step, or the rise and grind. It's also useful for the dancer to know the side step for this dance.

Do the Rise and Grind Step

  • Put your weight on your left foot. Place your right foot out in front of you. Point the toes of your right foot.

  • Hop once on your left foot while you raise your right foot. Hop again on your left foot while you move your right leg, bent at the knee, back behind you.

  • Step onto your right foot. Keep your left foot in the air. This combination of movements is called the "hop hopback" part of the rising step of the light Irish jig.

  • Pause slightly.

  • Alternate hopping, in place, from foot to foot in the pattern of left-right-left-right. End with the weight on your right foot. The complete step is called the "hop hopback hop 1234".

  • Reverse these directions to do the step on the left side. Begin with the left foot in front.

Do the Side Step

  • Hop on the left foot, while raising the right foot out in front of you. Keep your toes pointed.

  • Continue hopping on your left foot. Move your right leg, with your knee bent, behind your left foot. Place the right behind the left foot. Transfer your weight to the left foot.

  • Switch to hopping on your right foot. Simultaneously, bring your left foot behind you. Place your left foot in back of your right foot as you raise your right foot. Step down on your right foot.

  • Raise your right foot and bring your left foot behind it. Step down again on your right foot.

Tips & Warnings

  • The style of an Irish jig is simple and graceful. Although the steps should be executed with precision and accuracy, the overall look should be effortless and relaxed.
  • The music defines the speed of the dance. A light Irish jig is performed in 6/8 time. There are six beats per measure of music with the eighth note getting one beat.
  • Keep your arms and hands flat against your sides. Arm movement is discouraged while dancing a jig.
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