Freezing An Irish Dance Leap

Article featured in Diddlyi Magazine.
05.23.10

One of the moves in Irish dance that any dancer will do predominantly from beginner to championship is the Irish Leap. At the Shelley School we call it the Leap-23, referring to the 2 steps taken after the initial leaping motion.

The move is taught to beginner Irish dancers within the first 5 classes. It is one of the only moves I know that can within seconds make the level of any Irish dancer clear to an educated audience. I’ve helped teach basic level classes the past couple years and I always find myself excited to see the look on the dancers faces when they see a championship dancer demonstrate the same move they just learned.

Probably the number one question I hear from beginner and novice dancers is, “How do you get your leap to freeze like that?” I admit it’s something that takes years to really perfect, which is probably why we learn how to do a leap so early, but the best answer I can give to them is momentum. I make sure I have plenty of space in front of me and put all my strength into leading into the leap. Then, by the time I make the jump, I’m able to jump higher than I normally could and therefore have time to pause, or freeze in the air for a split second. When I don’t have enough momentum, my leaps are not as strong.

Having a graceful, strong, 90 degree angle leap can make any beginner dancer look like a champ. The steps are very basic, it’s all about what you put into it!

In this video, Elizabeth Claro gives a beautiful demonstration of freezing an Irish dance leap. Notice how she anticipates the leap, giving herself enough momentum beforehand.

Article written by Shelly Allen
Photo by Shelly Allen Photography

TAGS: basics, championship, class, dance, freeze, Irish, leap, school, Shelley

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