Grade Exams

GENERAL OVERVIEW
The Irish Dancing Commission (CLRG) has established 12 Grade Exams (plus an optional preliminary exam) for the purpose of offering a structured framework within which dancers can progress toward an achievable goal. Grade Exams are not new to the Irish dance world; however, they are currently a hot topic due to a recent ruling by CLRG.

For any Irish dance students who may be interested in eventually taking the TCRG Exam (to become a certified Irish dance teacher), this is very important to know…. All 12 Grade Exams must be completed to be eligible to apply for the TCRG Exam effective from January 1, 2018.

Grade exams are NOT competitions. Each candidate is individually examined and receives a detailed written assessment of their performance and knowledge of the grade being attempted. Candidates do NOT wear a competition costume for the examination.

(Note: For those families who are still fairly new to Irish dance, please be careful to not confuse Grade Exams with Grade Level Competitions at a feis… they are not the same thing!)

A dancer must take all grades in order, beginning with Grade 1 (the preliminary grade is optional). However, a candidate may only attempt a maximum of 3 consecutive Grades at any one sitting. For each exam sitting, a three month period must elapse before the next grade is attempted.

Here is a link to the official CLRG syllabus for Grade Exams, PLEASE READ IT! https://www.clrg.ie/images/Grade%20Exam%20%20Syllabus%202016.pdf

(Note: The link above is for the syllabus effective as of January 1, 2016. Please check the main page of the CLRG website for possible updates, or find the link to “GRADES” on the exams page of the CLRG website.)

GRADES AND REQUIRED DANCES
Teelin students, please see the Grade Exams document within the Step Notation section of our school’s password-protected website. Any questions should be directed to Maureen.

RULES & REGULATIONS (per the Jan 1, 2013 syllabus)

1. Only basic steps may be danced in the Preliminary Grade and Grades 1, 2 & 3.

2. The number of bars of music to be danced for all Reels, Single or Hop Jigs, Light Jigs, Slip Jigs, Heavy Jigs and Hornpipes is 40. (40 bars = 2 1/2 steps)

3. St. Patrick’s Day, Blackbird, Garden of Daisies, Job of Journeywork, King of the Fairies, Three Sea Captains and Jockey to the Fair must be performed in the traditional style and manner.

4. The same set dance must not be performed in more than one of the Grades from 9 to 12 inclusive.

5. A dancer must take all grades in order, beginning with Grade 1 – the Preliminary grade is optional. However, a candidate may only attempt a maximum of 3 consecutive Grades at any one sitting.

6. Candidates must be able to adequately demonstrate practical and theoretical knowledge of all ceili dances as per “Ar Rinci Foirne” as specified in the syllabus for Grades 5-12 inclusive..

7. Dance costumes should not be worn.

8. All candidates must produce previous reports before proceeding to higher grades. Please bring to the exam.

9. Grade 11 may only be attempted by candidates at least 16 years of age.

10. Grade 12 may only be attempted by candidates at least 17 years of age.

11. A special application form and certificate/diploma will apply for Grades 11 and 12.

12. All 12 Grade Examinations must be completed to be eligible to apply for the TCRG Examination effective from January 1, 2018.

GRADES AND REQUIRED DANCES  – (Ceili Dances are underlined and in italics)
Grade Required Dances
Prelim Easy Reel or Easy Light Double Jig
1 Basic Reel and Light Double Jig
2 Basic Slip Jig and Single Jig
3 Primary Reel and Basic Heavy Jig
4 Primary Slip Jig and St. Patrick’s Day
5 Advanced Reel, Basic Hornpipe and The Walls of Limerick
6 Advanced Slip Jig, The Blackbird and the Siege of Ennis
7 Advanced Heavy Jig, Garden of Daisies and the Four Hand Reel
8 Advanced Hornpipe, Job of Journeywork and the Humours of Bandon
9 Two modern set dances, one in 6/8 time and the other in 2/4 or 4/4 time and the High Cauled Cap
10 Two modern set dances, one in 6/8 time and the other in 2/4 or 4/4 time and the Eight Hand Jig
11 Reel, Slip Jig, Heavy Jig, King of the Fairies, plus two modern set dances selected by the examiner from a list of 5 submitted by the candidate (different from those in Grade 10) and the Eight-Hand Reel and Harvest Time Jig
12 Light Double Jig, Single Jig, Hornpipe, Three Sea Captains, Jockey to the Fair, plus two modern set dances selected by the examiner from a list of 5 submitted by the candidate (different from those in Grade 10 and 11) and the Morris Reel and Sixteen Hand Reel