How to Teach Yourself the Riverdance

Written by moira richardson
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Riverdance is a version of Irish step dancing, complete with rigorous lower body stepping. If you've ever seen Riverdance, you know that high-energy Irish step dancing is much tougher than people who make fun of the dance would have you think. Believe it or not, it's actually not that difficult to get starting learning how to Riverdance. You might not ever dance an Irish jig as well as Riverdance expert Michael Flatley, but you can certainly manage a passable imitation.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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    Learn by Watching

  1. 1

    Watch Riverdance or another Irish step dance video. Note the way the dancers' legs move rapidly while the upper half of their bodies stay very still. Watch the video in slow motion. The dancers' feet are positioned so the toes of the left foot nearly touch the heel of the right foot, with the right foot turned 90 degrees to the side. Master this frequently used position.

  2. 2

    Stand in front of a mirror while you practice. Make your body and leg motions match the leg motions of the dancers. Naturally, you won't get this perfect the first time you try, but if you practice, you will improve. Once you've tried some of the motions on your own, watch Riverdance again. You will notice details that you missed the first time.

  3. 3

    Seek advice from the professionals. Learn to Dance offers a step-by-step written tutorial for Irish step dancing. Niall O'Leary's E-how video series on Irish step dance walks you through each part of an Irish step dance routine. Read the tutorial and watch the video, and then try out the moves yourself. This will reinforce your lessons and you'll be more likely to retain what you've learnt.

  4. 4

    Practice, practice, and practice. The famous dancers of Riverdance did not learn their skills overnight, and neither will you. Practice your Riverdance moves every day for at least 30 days. Keep trying the moves at home, and soon enough you will be ready to reveal your new skills to your friends.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't give up before you've started. Give your Riverdance lessons 30 days before you give up.
  • Comfortable shoes are essential. Flip flops will not provide enough support. Wear lightweight tennis shoes or sneakers.
  • Riverdance is a vigorous, energetic dance, so be sure you are physically fit.

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