Grade Examinations

General

The grade examination syllabus has been developed by WIDA to assist dancers and teachers to work together towards an achievable goal. The dancer is individually assessed by the examiner/s and receives a personal, written report on how he/she has performed. The syllabus for each grade is designed to help develop and encourage the dancer in all aspects of solo and ceili dancing as well as gaining awareness of the dance music required and the culture, history and language of Ireland. Grade exams are suitable for all levels of dancer.

A WIDA certificate is presented to all successful candidates. Upon successful completion of grade 10, the candidate will be presented with his/her WIDA TMRF Diploma. The candidate will be presented with his/her WIDA TCRG Diploma upon successful completion of grade 11.

Grade examinations will be organised by WIDA as required. Candidates must be at least 7 years of age to commence the grade system. Candidates taking grades 10 and 11 must be at least 18 years of age. Candidates will be prohibited from taking part in competition upon successful completion of grade 11.

Eligibility

To be a candidate in the examination process for grades 1 to 5, you are not required to be registered with a WIDA dance school. From grades 6 to 11, you will be required to be registered with WIDA or be a member of a WIDA registered dance school. Candidates must attend exams dressed in plain black tshirts & shorts/skirts with poodle socks/black tights and no indications as to their dance school. Candidates not dressed accordingly may not be allowed to sit their exams.

Dancers are required to be 7 years of age or over to commence the grade examination process. Candidates cannot progress to Grade 10 and 11 examinations until they are 18 years of age (the requirement being that you need to be 18 years on the date of examination). Dancers may attempt any number of grades per session/year provided they meet the relevant age requirements.

Applications for grade exams can be made online at www.irish.dance.  WIDA reserves the right to refuse applications. Fees per grade:

  • Grades 1-3 = €25
  • Grade 4 = €50
  • Grades 5-7 = €75
  • Grades 8-9 = €100
  • Grades 10-11 = €125

Entering into the WIDA Grade Examination Process enables the candidate to achieve a strong foundation in Irish Dancing and, upon successful completion of all Grade Examinations, will be fully qualified to pursue a career in Irish Dance teaching.

Grades 1-3 are awarded on a pass/fail basis. Grades 4-11 are awarded with three categories of pass: Award, Merit and Distinction, depending on the scores achieved.

WIDA reserves the right to modify exam structures and grades.

Syllabus

 

Grade 1

One examiner
The candidate is required to be a minimum of 7 years of age on date of examination

Dance: 70 marks
The candidate will be required to dance the following 2 dances:

  • Beginner Reel (32 bars)
  • Beginner Light Jig (32 bars)

The candidate will be required to dance and name the movements of the following ceili dance:           

  • The Walls of Limerick

General: 30 marks
The candidate will be required to know:

  • the name of the capital of Republic of Ireland; and
  • the name of the capital of Northern Ireland;
  • how to count from one to ten in Irish

Grade 1 is awarded on a pass or fail system

 

Grade 2

One examiner

Dance: 70 marks
The candidate will be required to dance the following 2 dances:

  • Beginner Single Jig (32 bars).
  • Beginner Slip Jig (32 bars).

The candidate will be required to dance and name the movements of the following ceili dance:                                           

  • The Fairy Reel

General: 30 marks
The candidate will be required to know:

  • How many counties in the Republic of Ireland?
  • Name any six counties?
  • How many counties in Northern Ireland?
  • Name any two counties?
  • Name the four provinces in Ireland.

The candidate will be required to say the following in Irish:

  • Hello -
  • Goodbye  -
  • Please -
  • Thank you -

Grade 2 is awarded on a pass or fail system

 

Grade 3

One examiner

Dance: 70 marks
The candidate will be required to dance the following 3 dances:

  • Beginner Treble Jig (32 bars)
  • Beginner/Traditional Hornpipe (32 bars)
  • St. Patrick’s Day (traditional set)

The candidate will be required to dance and name the movements of the following ceili dances:

  • Bonfire Dance
  • Harvest Time Jig

General: 30 marks
The candidate will be required to know the following:

  • Who is the patron saint of Ireland?
  • Name the female saint whose feast day is celebrated on 1st February?
  • What is the official emblem of Ireland?

The candidate will be required to know the following words in Irish:

  • Welcome – 
  • Well done/good –

Grades 3 is awarded on a pass or fail system

 

Grade 4 Certificate

One examiner

Dance: 76 marks
The candidate will be required to dance the following dances:

  • Primary Reel (32 bars)
  • Primary Hornpipe (32 bars) – Please note that a traditional (Beginner) hornpipe is not acceptable!
  • The Blackbird (traditional set)

 The candidate will be required to dance and name the movements of the following ceili dances:

  • The Siege of Carrick
  • The Sweets of May

General: 24 marks
The candidate will be required to know the following in Irish:

  • Reel - 
  • Jig -
  • Hornpipe –

 The candidate will be required to answer the following:

  • Who was the first High King at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014?
  • What was the ancient capital of Ireland called?
  • Name the current President (Uachtarán) and Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland.
  • Name the current First Minister (Céad-Aire) of Northern Ireland.

Candidates marked 70+ pass the exam: 70-79 = Award; 80-89 = Merit; 90-100 = Distinction.

 

Grade 5 Certificate

One examiner

Dance: 75 marks
The candidate will be required to dance the following dances:

  • Primary Slip Jig (32 bars)
  • Primary Treble jig (32bars)
  • Jockey to the Fair (traditional set)

The candidate will be required to dance and name the movements of the following ceili dances:

  • An Rince Mór
  • An Rince Fada

General: 25 marks
The candidate will be required to know the following in Irish:

  • Heavy Jig 
  • Slip Jig 
  • Single Jig 
  • Numbers 11-20

The candidate will be required to:

  • Know where in Ireland the ship ‘The Titanic’ was built:
  • Name two sports native to Ireland:
  • Identify the following tunes (verbal test)
    • Reel 
    • Slip Jig 
    • Jig 
    • Hornpipe 
    • Blackbird 
    • Jockey to the Fair

Candidates marked 70+ pass the exam: 70-79 = Award; 80-89 = Merit; 90-100 = Distinction.

 

Grade 6 Certificate

One examiner

Dance: 80 marks
The candidate will be required to dance the following dances:

  • Intermediate Reel (32 bars)
  • Intermediate Hornpipe (32 bars) 
  • Job of Journeywork (Traditional Set)

The candidate will be required to dance and name the movements of the following ceili dances:

  • Siege of Ennis
  • The Four Hand Reel

General: 20 marks
The candidate is required to know the following words in Irish:

  • Beginner
  • Primary
  • Intermediate
  • Open

The candidate will be required to know the following:

  • Who was the first president of Republic of Ireland?    
  • Who was the first female president of Republic of Ireland?
  • What is the name of the Irish parliament?
  • What was the period of the Great Famine?
  • Name four Irish brand names.

Candidates marked 70+ pass the exam: 70-79 = Award; 80-89 = Merit; 90-100 = Distinction.

 

Grade 7 Certificate

One examiner

Dance: 80 marks
The candidate will be required to dance the following dances:

  • Intermediate Slip Jig (32 bars)
  • Intermediate Treble Jig (32 bars)
  • Garden of Daisies (Traditional Set)
  • King of the Fairies (Traditional Set)

The candidate will be required to dance and name the movements of the following ceili dances:

  • Humours of Bandon
  • Haymakers Jig

General: 20 marks
The candidate will be required to know the following words in Irish:

  • Congratulations
  • Friends
  • Quiet
  • Pronounce and write the Irish for Dublin, Belfast, Galway and Cork.

The candidate will be required to know the following:

  • Name the building where the Dáil Eireann meets?
  • Where does the Northern Assembly meet?
  • In which year was the Proclamation of Irish Independence read?
  • Name one of the seven signatories of the Proclamation of Independence?
  • What is the highest geographical point in Ireland?

Candidates marked 70+ pass the exam: 70-79 = Award; 80-89 = Merit; 90-100 = Distinction.

 

Grade 8 Certificate

Three examiners

Dance:
The candidate will be required to dance the following dances:

  • Open Reel (32 bars)
  • Open Hornpipe (32 bars)
  • The White Blanket (Traditional Set)
  • The Three Sea Captains (Traditional Set)

The candidate will be required to dance and name the movements of the following ceili dances:

  • High Cauled Cap
  • Morris Reel

General:
The candidate will be required to know the following phrases in Irish:

  • What is your name?  
  • ………….is my name.

The candidate will be required to know the following:

  • Who was the leader of the 1916 Easter Rising in the GPO?
  • Where was the headquarters of the Easter Rising?
  • Name two famous Irish authors.
  • Name two famous Irish poets.
  • Name two famous traditional Irish musicians/bands.
  • What did St. Patrick drive out of Ireland?
  • What is the legend of St. Bridget?
  • What is the symbol of St. Bridget?

Written:
10 question multiple choice paper on the following ceilis:

  • Walls of Limerick
  • Fairy Reel
  • Bonfire Dance
  • Harvest Time Jig
  • Siege of Carrick
  • Sweets of May
  • An Rince Mor

Candidates marked 70+ pass the exam: 70-79 = Award; 80-89 = Merit; 90-100 = Distinction.

 

Grade 9 Certificate

Three examiners

Dance:
The candidate will be required to dance the following dances:

  • Open Slip Jig (32 bars)
  • Open Treble Jig (32 bars)
  • The Hunt (Traditional Set)
  • One Hornpipe modern set of the candidate’s choice
  • One Jig modern set of the candidate’s choice

The candidate will be required to dance and name the movements of the following ceili dances:

  • Eight Hand Reel
  • The Waves of Tory
  • Haste to the Wedding


General:
The candidate will be required to know the following:

  • TCRG = 
  • What is the Irish for adjudicator? 
  • What is the Irish for teacher? 
  • What is the meaning of ‘céilí’?
  • Where and in what year was the first ‘feis’ held in Ireland?
  • Name 10 countries in which WIDA is active and their capital cities.

Written:
10 question multiple choice paper on the following ceilis:

  • Rince Fada
  • Siege of Ennis
  • Four Hand Reel
  • Humours of Bandon
  • Haymaker's Jig
  • High Cauled Cap
  • Morris Reel
  • Eight Hand Reel
  • Waves of Tory
  • Haste to the Wedding

Candidates marked 70+ pass the exam: 70-79 = Award; 80-89 = Merit; 90-100 = Distinction.

 

Grade 10 (TMRF Certificate)

Three examiners
The candidate is required to be a minimum of 18 years of age on date of examination

Section A: Teaching
The candidate will be required to teach part of TWO of the following ceili dances (from Ar Rince Foirne, Irish Ceili Dance Book) which will be selected by the examiners. One ceili dance will be taught from outside the team and one as part of the team. The position in the team will be nominated by the examiners. A candidate will be required to dance two of the following ceili dances, to be selected by the examiners:

  1. Bridge of Athlone
  2. Antrim Reel
  3. Glencar Reel
  4. The Three Tunes
  5. The Tara Reel
  6. St. Patricks Day
  7. Trip to the Cottage
  8. Duke Reel
  9. Rakes of Mallow
  10. Lannigans Ball
  11. Cross Reel
  12. Gates of Derry
  13. Eight Hand Jig
  14. Sixteen Hand Reel

Section B: Written
The candidate will be required to sit a written paper on all ceili dances (from the book Ar Rincí Fóirne and WIDA's Tara Reel):

  1. Walls of Limerick
  2. Fairy Reel
  3. Antrim Reel
  4. Siege of Carrick
  5. Rakes of Mallow
  6. Harvest Time Jig
  7. Siege of Ennis
  8. Haymakers Jig
  9. Bridge of Athlone
  10. Waves of Tory
  11. Rince Fada
  12. Haste to the Wedding
  13. Lannigan’s Ball
  14. Rince Mor
  15. Bonfire Dance
  16. Tara Reel
  17. Four Hand Reel
  18. Humours of Bandon
  19. Glencar Reel
  20. Duke Reel
  21. Eight Hand Reel
  22. Morris Reel
  23. Cross Reel
  24. Eight Hand Jig
  25. St. Patrick’s Day
  26. Trip to the Cottage
  27. High Cauled Cap
  28. Sweets of May
  29. Three Tunes
  30. Gates of Derry
  31. Sixteen Hand Reel

The Tara Reel Notation (link)
The Tara Reel Videos (link)

Each Section will be marked out of 100 and a pass mark of 70 is required in both sections to be successful in the examination. 70-79 = Award; 80-89 = Merit; 90-100 = Distinction.

 

Grade 11 (TCRG Certificate)

Three examiners
The candidate is required to be a minimum of 18 years of age on date of examination

Section A: Teaching
(I). The candidate will be required to teach a step from two of the following dances of ANY level (the examiner will select which dance and which level):  

  • Reel
  • Light Jig
  • Slip Jig
  • Single Jig

(II). The candidate will be required to teach a step from the two following dances:

  • Treble Jig
  • Hornpipe

Note: The examiners will decide on the dance and the level (beginner, primary, intermediate or open) of the step to be taught.
Candidates may be requested to teach a distinctive movement traditional to Irish dancing (e.g. rocks, crosskeys, drums, entrechats) at the discretion of the examiners.

(III). Candidates will be required to submit 3 modern sets in Jig timing and 3 modern sets in Hornpipe timing. The examiners will choose one Jig set and one Hornpipe set, which the candidate will be required to dance (step: right and left foot, set: right foot).

Section B: Written Music Examination
The candidate will be required to listen to and identify twenty tunes, (reels, jigs, slip jig, hornpipe, traditional sets and modern set dances), write the name of the dance and the timing and in the case of traditional and modern set dances, the number of bars in the step and the number of bars in the set.

The modern and traditional set tunes in the written music examination come from the Competition Syllabus (Modern Set Tunes).

Please note the new tunes which will be part of the Music Examination from 1st January 2017: Planxty Hugh O'Donnell, Little Heathy Hill, Battle of Arklow, Planxty Irwin, Donegal Rambler and Ri Laoise.

Section C: Written Rules Examination
Candidates will be required to complete an exam paper of 20 questions on the WIDA rules. Candidates will have one hour to complete the exam paper. Candidates whose first language is not English are entitled to take a dictionary into the examination and may be entitled to an extended time to complete the examination, at the examiner’s discretion. Candidates must achieve a pass mark of at least 70% to pass this examination. The version of the WIDA rules available on the WIDA website is to be used as a basis for this exam.

Each Section will be marked out of 100 and a pass mark of 70 is required in all three sections to be successful in the examination. 70-79 = Award; 80-89 = Merit; 90-100 = Distinction.