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. Effective as of January 2018, to be eligible to apply for the TCRG Exam a dancer must first successfully complete all 12 Grade Exams.

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!)

Grade exams must be taken 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.

GRADES AND REQUIRED DANCES
Here are a few very important points to know about the rules and regulations. (Be sure to read the tips at the bottom of this page, too!)

  • 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)
  • 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.
  • Dance costumes should not be worn.
  • Grade exams candidates must be examined by at least 4 examiners up to grade 10, plus two different full examiners for grades 11 and 12.
  • 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.
  • The same set dance must not be performed in more than one of the Grades from 9 to 12 inclusive.
  • All candidates must produce previous reports before proceeding to higher grades. Please bring to the exam.
  • Grade 11 may only be attempted by candidates at least 16 years of age.
  • Grade 12 may only be attempted by candidates at least 17 years of age.

Please refer to the CLRG website for the complete details of current Rules & Regulations – https://www.clrg.ie/index.php/en/feiseanna-exams/graded-exam.html

GRADES AND REQUIRED DANCES  – (Ceili Dances are underlined and in italics)
Grade Required Dances Speed
Prelim Easy Reel or Light Jig Easy Reel 122-124
Light Jig 116
1 Easy Reel and Light Jig Easy Reel 122-124
Light Jig 116
2 Basic Slip Jig and Basic Single Jig Basic Slip Jig 124
Basic Single Jig 124
3 Primary Reel and Basic Heavy Jig Primary Reel 116-118
Basic Heavy Jig 96
4 Primary Slip Jig and St. Patrick’s Day Primary Slip Jig 120
St Patrick’s Day 94
5 Advanced Reel, Basic Hornpipe and The Walls of Limerick Advanced Reel (Intermediate/Primary/Open) 113
Basic Hornpipe 144
Walls of Limerick
6 Advanced Slip Jig, The Blackbird and the Siege of Ennis Advanced Slip Jig (Intermediate/ Primary/Open) 113
The Blackbird 144
Siege of Ennis
7 Advanced Heavy Jig, Garden of Daisies and the Four Hand Reel Advanced Heavy Jig 73
Garden of Daisies 138
Four Hand Reel
8 Advanced Hornpipe, Job of Journeywork and the Humours of Bandon Advanced Hornpipe 113
Job of Journeywork 138
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

 

TIPS FOR DANCERS:

  1. Planning is required!!! The rules state that a dancer must be examined by at least 4 examiners up to grade 10, plus two different full examiners for grades 11 and 12. Before registering for a Grade Exam, find out who the examiner is, and be sure to register for exams overseen by the required variety of examiners.
  2. Each dancer is responsible for her/his own paperwork and planning for Grade Exams. Read the details, and keep your paperwork in order.
  3. For Grade Exams 9-12, plan your set dance submissions well in advance. Dancers are required to prepare and submit a certain number of contemporary (modern) set dances, but they will not perform all of them at the given exam. Therefore, whichever sets were not chosen by the examiner could be listed for the next Grade Exam application. It is helpful to think this through – do not leave all of the longest/hardest set dances for Grade 12, or else that may be an exhausting exam!

Teelin dancers, please tell Maureen if you plan to take Grade Exams!