Isle of Erin Student and Parent Handbook

Contents

Classroom Expectations 1
Office Hours 4
Class Enrollment 5
Level Advancement 5
Performance Expectations 5
Costumes by Level 6
Competition Lessons 9
Private Lessons 11
Solo Dresses 11
Parental Acknowledgement 12

Classroom Expectations
Starting October 1, 2017 there will be a demerit system in order. After a student gets five demerits, there will be disciplinary measures taken including but not limited to:
● Writing a sentence an indeterminate amount of times that fits the offense. Such legible sentences will be due before the student will be able to participate in class again.
● Calling of the parents to collect child from class early.
● Sending child out into the Hall for the remainder of class.
● Sending child to timeout until they are ready to apologize for the offensive actions.
● Removing child from class for two weeks without financial reimbursement.
● Removing child from classes completely.

All students are expected to have good behavior while they are at the dance studio. All parents are equally expected to model appropriate behavior accordingly. The studio IOE realizes that no person is perfect and everyone has a bad day once in a while. This is why the demerit system was implemented. Inversely, there is also a merit system which students can do to reverse their demerits or earn brag tags if no demerits need to be reversed. Students wishing to reverse demerits must discuss it with the teacher before class time starts.

Classroom expectations are as follows:
A. Students will have notebook pen or pencil and shoes for every class.
B. Water bottles and snacks may be kept in appropriate kitchen areas or designated water areas.
C. Students will come to class on time and ready to learn.
D. Students will follow directions to the best of their ability. If directions are unclear students are responsible for asking questions politely to clarify directions for themselves/others.
E. Students will conduct themselves in a respectful manner towards their dance peers and students younger and older.
F. Students will be respectful of the dance teacher for class whomever it may be.
G. Students will dance to the best of their ability keeping in mind that every student is their own person and not everything will come easily to everyone.
H. Bullying by anyone will NOT be tolerated in any form and is grounds for immediate dismissal.

The direct consequences of these are as follows:

A. Students missing shoes may not dance during dance class, but are expected to pay attention, take notes, and participate. This is a safety issue that will prevent harm to your student. Students missing notebooks and pens or any other supplies will be dismissed from class as well. Anyone repeatedly not bringing a notebook and pen to competition lessons and/or refusing to write down their steps will be immediately excused from the entirety of class without compensation and not allowed to compete in that dance until the next competition. After 2 weeks of missing proper footwear, dancers will have a note sent home and a demerit. Outgrown shoes do not count.

B. Food/drinks not put in proper areas earns one demerit.

C. Students coming to class consistently late (unexcused) will be taken out of performances at head teacher’s discretion.

D. Students lacking readiness to learn including but not limited to: a surly demeanor, being distracted etc., will be asked to write the phrase “I am ready to learn” an appropriate amount of times based on their age out in the hallway.

E. During dance class and performances if students fail to treat their classmates (including siblings!) with respect they will be excused to time out. We hold the parents to the same standard. Any disrespect or harassment by the parents toward any staff is grounds for student expulsion. If there is a physical altercation between two students, teachers will separate the two students and the student originating the altercation will receive two demerits and be excused from the next class period (without financial reimbursement) and dances from the current or next performance.

F. As a dance teacher, our job is to make sure that you are safe above all. Our next job is to make sure that you learn dancing and our job cannot be carried out correctly if students or parents are being disrespectful to us so, the following disciplinary measures will be applied if students or parents are disrespectful to teachers.

i. First offense: student will be excused to timeout for five minutes regardless of age. Parent will be excused from viewing or attending the next/current performance.

ii. Second offense student will have earned two demerits, picked up from class early, and will not be allowed back into dance class until a letter of apology is written to the disrespected teacher. Parents and students will be excused from dancing at all functions for a year including competitions competition lessons and private lessons.

1. A letter includes a salutation, body (needs more than 5 sentences, a closing and a signature.

iii. Any offense after 2 will be considered for expulsion from the Irish Dance School without exception. *Please note, if head teacher deems offense/harassment severe, IOE has the right to enact item iii without having previously proceeded with i or ii.

G. If the student is not dancing to the best of their ability, teacher intervention is necessary. The first question every teacher should ask is if student is injured or tired in any way. If lack of enthusiasm is due to ignorance of the task or unclear directions, teacher will explain. This rule is for students who are not trying their best/ giving attitude about a particular step or dance, NOT students who can’t make their body perform the task or don’t understand. Students containing the ability to perform better but refusing to do so out of defiance (not common error) will be given one demerit and will perform the task correctly three times while the rest of the class waits.

H. Furthermore, IOE School has an exemplary character standard for all students and parents. This should be a safe place for dancers to come and learn the art of dance. With that in mind, any student or parent caught lying to/about or bullying another student, parent or teacher will be immediately dismissed from dance lessons without compensation. Families dismissed on these grounds are disallowed to take lessons ever again for any reason.

The Merit system goes as follows:
● 10 merits equal 1 brag tag
● Things that earn merits include:
o Picking up / tidying the Dance Floor area without being asked.
o Helping other students during class without being asked.
o Changing your behavior in the moment when you realize it is incorrect.
o Doing something kind without being asked.
▪ Such as picking up someone else’s garbage, putting away someone’s shoes, etc.
o Encouraging someone when they are frustrated or upset.
o Being determined and having perseverance.

Brag Tags

Earning your first 10 merits will get you a Brag Tag. A Brag Tag is something that stays on your dance bag and lets the other people know of your accomplishments.
● There will be special brag tags associated with good sportsmanship, good leadership, good communication skills, determination fortitude and kindness.
● There will also be a student of the month brag tag handed out monthly to the student who exhibits all the bimonthly brag tag characteristics.
● There will also possibly be special brag tags handed out for performances and dance competitions.
Once you have achieved 5 brag tags you will be eligible for a drawing to go to lunch with the head teacher and another student of your choosing. Please note, there must be more than 3 students that have earned 5 brag tags in order to be a fair drawing.

Office Hours
Office hours**:
Monday 12:00p-2:00p
Tuesday 12:00p-2:00p
Friday 2:00p-3:50p*
These office hours do NOT apply during the months of March and September.

These are the hours the head instructor is available for phone calls and emails to be answered promptly. Anyone emailing or calling outside of those hours will be answered the next office hour session. *Friday is phone call only. Anyone calling, texting, or emailing after 9:00pm or before 10:00 am will not be answered. Any contact made in March or September will not be responded to until April or October. Very few exceptions apply.
**If we are on location for a performance or competition, or at some other dance outing these hours are suspended for everyone except the Feis participants. Calls after 9pm or before 10 am while directly on location for such events are at a discretional exception. IOE will help you if you need it, but the instructors have a right to a personal life and deserve to have home time respected. Proper down time is essential for any instructor to be at their best.

Class Enrollment
Any dancers leaving (either of their own volition or due to expulsion) the dance school must sign an exit contract and sell at a discount or give back all IOE material with the official copyrighted IOE logos due to safety issues for the students involved. Students wishing to leave the dance school must not in any way instruct or give items containing videos or written material to other dance schools or people about anything they have learned at IOE. This is intellectual property and copyrighted property of IOE. Current students also may not teach copyrighted material to others outside of IOE without permission. Any student caught violating this will be treated accordingly.
Anyone wishing to leave the dance school may not do so less than one month before a major
Performance (unless they are expelled). This is so the teachers do not have to scramble to readjust choreography. If leaving is medically necessary a signed note from the doctor is required.
Level Advancement
The head instructor makes all final decisions about level placement. There are strict criteria to be met for advancement.
While this is just recreational for some, we strive for excellence. All level placements by the instructor are final. Practice makes perfect. There are materials and resources always available to make sure your dancer is dancing his or her best.
Anyone wishing to contest level advancement will arrange a meeting at head instructor’s convenience and fees for the meeting will be paid directly to the head IOE instructor one week before the meeting or meeting will be cancelled.
Fees for meetings to contest level advancement are $60/per person per hour minimum one hour paid.

Performance Expectations
The following expectations must be followed by all dancers during a performance:
1. Dancers must be respectful when on stage or waiting backstage. Any student displaying disrespectful behavior will not be allowed to perform.
2. Dancers must listen to the Instructors and Chaperones at all times.
3. Dancers should have feet in 5th position (dancer feet) when standing still.
Performance Attire Etiquette

As of October 1, 2017, all boys and men attending dance class are expected to have neatly groomed head and facial hair. If head hair is longer than the top of the ear, boys and men are expected to either wear a sweatband or ponytail during performances with hair slicked back out of the eyes with gel. There are no exceptions to this rule. Anyone who is not compliant with this rule will be sitting out of performances as they will be out of uniform. (Please note that all female students are held to the same standard.)

Please note that fingernail polish is not allowed for performances. Every student must keep their fingernails clean and at an appropriate length so as to not cause injury to other students.

Anyone female of high school age or older is expected to either shave their underarms and legs for performances or wear tights and keep their underarms covered at performances.

All students are expected to wear appropriate clothing that is not sloppy to and from performances. i.e. no ripped jeans, cut up tee shirts, embarrassingly short shorts/skirts, etc. We want to look professional and neatly put together. IOE wear is also appreciated but not required.

Any students with tattoos must cover them for performances unless prior consent is given by head teacher. Any students with piercings visible in any other places but the ear are expected to remove them for performances.

Anyone with piercings bigger than standard size are expected to remove them for performances. These are all safety and professionalism issues.

Black Leotard: Everyone who is female is expected to have a black leotard that fits to wear underneath the dress they are renting, it must have sleeves. Dancers may wear black shorts or spanks (black or blue) over the black leotard if they wish.

White undershirt and dance belt: Every male dancer is expected to wear a white undershirt underneath their white costume shirt. Every male dancer over the age of 13 is expected to wear a dance belt (like a jock strap but for dance) to prevent injury or pulled muscles to the groin and surrounding area.
Sports Bra: Every female dancer over the age of 13 is expected to wear a HIGH IMPACT sports bra. This is to avoid serious injury to the pectoral wall muscles.

Costumes by Level
Earned Pieces
Dancers must earn every piece of their costume from the wig on down to the socks and shoes that they wear. This is so that every dancer can look at their costume and remember how far they have come. No one is entitled to anything.
The following milestones must be met to be able to wear the following things: (Wearing them without permission or consent from head teacher constitutes removal from performance and/or severe disciplinary action.)
A. Ghillies: Soft shoes worn by female dancers who have completed the Jig test and advanced to level Beginner 1.
B. Broaches for Vests: Broaches are to be worn by boys on their vest once the Jig test and advancement to Beginner 1 Level is achieved. Broaches go on their basic vest.
C. Black Ballet Shoes or Jazz Shoes: Beginner Level Dancers must begin with either black jazz shoes or black ballet slippers, both being gender neutral.
D. Poodle socks: These are worn by dancers who have passed their Reel test and have achieved level Beginner 2. Male dancers do not wear poodle socks and instead, get a moderately embroidered vest to wear in addition to the broach that remains on their vest.
E. Wigs: No dancer under level Beginner 2 is allowed to wear a wig. The head instructor must approve and/or assist in the purchase of the first wig.
i. By Beginner 2 level, most students have figured out if they want to stay in Irish dancing and they have also become responsible enough to take care of something as expensive as a wig.
ii. Beginner and Beginner 1 Dancers must either wear their hair in a bun or in a curly ponytail of their own hair. (Wigs are not allowed at these levels)
iii. Boys do not wear wigs. They must be neatly groomed (including but not limited to facial hair, head hair, and fingernails short and clean) and have their hair gelled or hair sprayed out of their eyes and in place so it does not move into their eyes during dancing.
F. Heavily embroidered school dresses: These dresses are available to rent at the beginning of the Beginner 2 year. Most children are responsible enough and careful enough to care for a dress this expensive by this time and must keep it is a dress bag for storage and transport.
i. Solo Dresses: Solo dresses are available to dancers in the competitive program after certain criteria have been met. Please review the Competition Section and Solo Dress section for more information.
G. Beginner skirts and Beginner Vests: These are worn by the Beginner and Beginner 1 dancers. These are training tools for costume care as they are slightly less expensive to replace. These are expected to be treated like the fancier costumes in preparation for the next levels. These skirts are worn with a PLAIN black SHORT SLEEVED leotard that is purchased by the dancer’s family.
H. Reel shoes. These are for males only. After level Beginner 3 has been achieved, dancers may purchase and wear these during class and shows after ample practice time. (They are quite heavy and the dancer will need to adjust to them.)
I. Dance sneakers. Any dancer Beginner 3 and up may purchase dance sneakers. In special cases, these may be specifically suggested to a dancer to improve upon performance. These shoes are completely optional and are for class ONLY.
J. Hard Shoes: Hard shoes and hard shoe dancing are not permitted before the Beginner 3 level is achieved.

Required Costumes for Each Level

Beginner
● Black Ballet Slippers
● White Socks with a cuff
● Black Short Sleeve Leotard (no tank style leotard) and Black Dance Shorts
● Hair – For this level the hair must either be up in a ponytail with curls or a bun. No Wigs Allowed
● Performance Skirt (Provided by IOE)
● Cape (Provided by IOE)
● Broaches (2)

Beginner 1
● Ghillies
● White Socks with a cuff
● Black Short Sleeve Leotard (no tank style leotard) and Black Dance Shorts
● Hair – For this level the hair must either be up in a ponytail with curls or a bun. No Wigs Allowed
● Performance Skirt (Provided by IOE)
● Cape (Provided by IOE)
● Broaches (2)
● Male dancers earn a broach to wear on vest instead of Ghillies

Beginner 2
● Ghillies
● Poodle Socks
● Black Short Sleeve Leotard (no tank style leotard) and Black Dance Shorts
● Hair – This level may wear wigs (Please see Erin Rockhold for style and size)
● Performance Dress and Cape (Provided by IOE)
● Broaches (2)
● Male dancers earn an lightly embroidered vest
Beginner 3
● Ghillies
● All Black Hard Shoes
● Poodle Socks
● Hair- This level may wear wigs (Please see Erin Rockhold for style and size)
● Performance Dress and Cape (Provided by IOE)
● Broaches (2)
● Male dancers get a green vest or heavily embroidered vest and different tie

Intermediate
● Ghillies
● All Black Hard Shoes
● Poodle Socks
● Hair- This level may wear wigs (Please see Erin Rockhold for style and size)
● Performance Dress and Cape (Provided by IOE)
● Summer performance outfit
● Broaches (2)
● Male dancers can now dance in boys reel shoes
● Male dancers have bling on vests and ties

Advanced
● Ghillies
● All Black Hard Shoes
● Poodle Socks – Diamonite
● Hair- This level may wear wigs (Please see Erin Rockhold for style and size)
● Performance Dress and Cape (Provided by IOE)
● Summer performance outfit
● Broaches (2)
● Male dancers have fancy vest to match female dancer costumes

Boys
● White button-down shirt
● Black durable trousers
● Hair combed and neat
● Shoes – Appropriate for their level
● Performance Vest (Provided by IOE)
● Tie (Provided by IOE)

As of January 1, 2019, there are also ceili team dresses. These are to be purchased from IOE instead of rented. If you are unsure you need a ceili costume, please ask head instructor.
Please note, males also have the opportunity to earn solo vests and have to meet the same requirements female dancers do to achieve a solo dress.

Competition Lessons
Competition lessons are for those students who have reached the age of 12 OR are beginner 2 level or up. The age or level of the student should be achieved before the first competition lesson starts. Students who take competition lessons are not guaranteed to participate in competitions and inversely students who take competition lessons do not have to participate in competitions. The head teacher manages and supervises competition lessons and will not set any student up to fail. Therefore, if the teacher deems students unprepared for any competition, it is due to a consideration for that particular student’s circumstances and their well-being, physically and emotionally.

The following rules apply for competitions and competition lessons:

A. While students are competing they (and their parents) are representing the head teacher and all other dancers from Isle of Erin, so decorum and the utmost in grace and propriety are to be upheld in behavior at all times. Win or lose we are good sports and conduct ourselves as young ladies and young gentlemen. If anyone acts inappropriately towards you in any way while we are out in public you are to immediately walk away and inform the head teacher who will deal with things from there. Parents caught misbehaving at competitions will be barred from viewing and attending all competitions for one year.

B. Students wishing to participate in National Championships, World qualifiers, World Championships, or other of same magnitude or out of country competitions must take competition lessons for 4 to 6 months before competing.

C. Students wishing to attend a Feis in person (including the one in Canada) must take 3 months of competition lessons before the competition in order to compete.

D. Students doing their first electronic Feis or changing any steps or adding any dances must to take 2 months of competition lessons before the competition.

E. Students who wish to compete in an electronic Feis without any change in steps must take 1 month of competition lessons prior to the competition.

F. Students participating in competition training will be required to log video and written hours for practice outside the classroom. Any student failing to practice or make and effort outside of the classroom may be removed from competing.

G. Students doing electronic Feis will only be allowed 6 dances per Feis to allow for proper recording and practice time for everyone. If there is a particularly voluminous class size, that number will be reduced.

H. Students/parents understand that everything outside of electronic Feis is IOE sponsored, and therefore an extreme privilege to attend. This privilege can be revoked at any time.

I. Students understand that solo dresses are earned and no one is entitled to anything.

J. Anyone wishing to contest solo dress status will arrange a meeting at head instructor’s convenience. The fee for the meeting will be $100/h per person one hour minimum. Fees will be paid directly to head instructor one week before meeting or meeting will be cancelled. (This meeting type is for discrepancies only. Not medal counting.)

K. Level of competition and level in the IOE classes are not related. Competition levels are based solely on the individual and are at the sole discretion of head IOE instructor.

These rules are directly proportionate to the amount of preparedness, mentally and physically, each student needs for each type and caliber of the Feisana. Being prepared is one of the easiest legs up a teacher can give their student in a competition atmosphere. The type of competitions that require more training are more physically and mentally taxing and therefore more preparation is required. Head instructor has the right to pull anyone from any dance for which she feels they are not prepared.

Competition levels:
Any student entering competition lessons and wanting to compete must start at and appropriate level. The levels are as follows:
1. Beginner
2. Primary
3. Intermediate
5.Open Championship
The levels must be progressed and tested out of, in order for approval of advancement to the next level. Level placement is solely IOE head instructor’s jurisdiction. Competition lessons are intended to better one’s dancing skills and take hard work, courage, merit, dedication, and commitment. They are not intended as a “fast pass” to a solo dress. The caliber dancing required to earn a dress is not easy and therefore, neither are classes.

Private Lessons
Private lessons are available to everyone in good standing with the school, regardless of age and ability level. Unlike competition lessons, private lessons do not require current enrollment in the Irish Dance Program. Private lessons are ½ hour in length and are on a first‐come first‐served basis. Students may sign up for successive private lessons i.e., students can sign up for a one and ½ hour or a one hour private lesson if they so desire. Private lessons are designed to be one student and one teacher however, private lessons can be up to 4 students at a time if all parties agree ahead of time. This does not change the per person per half hour price of said lessons.
Solo Dresses
Requirements to earn the right to wear a solo dress during competition and performances rules are as follows:

Each dancer must earn nine (9) first places OR eighteen (18) second places (two 2nd = one 1st).

No medal counts for more than one point.

Medals start counting after Intermediate competition level has been achieved regardless of age.

Class level/age for regular classes does not dictate competition level in any way.

Advancing /placement in competitive levels is at the sole discretion of the head instructor at IOE and is based on scores. For most competitions, a score of 90 or above must be achieved in each dance twice before advancement can occur. Final placement is sole discretion of IOE.

Student scores and level advancement is confidential and may only be shared with the written consent of the dancer and parent.

After earning said medals, each dancer must provide the medals for the dance teacher to count out officially (this may happen during class end). Once the requirement is met each student will receive a certificate signed by head teacher congratulating them on earning their solo dress.

Solo dresses in varying sizes are available to rent from Isle of Erin. These are on a first-come first-served basis. Dancers must rent their first solo dress from IOE for one year.

Before purchasing or getting a solo dress made, each student must consult with head teacher with the design and structure of the solo dress to go through a rigorous safety inspection BEFORE IT IS MADE OR PURCHASED to ensure safety compliance and rules compliance with IOE. Head teacher will sign off on the solo dress designs and once approval is attained the dress can be made or purchased. Anyone not acquiring design approval before dresses are made may not be able to wear their solo dress for any performance or competition.

Any work on any personal solo dresses by IOE is expected to be paid for before the solo dress is returned. Any solo dress alterations/ creations not paid for in a timely manner (within one year) will forfeit solo dress/ materials to be used as the studio sees fit. Any work done on school owned dresses is included in rental fees. Parents are NOT allowed to make alterations to school owned dresses FOR ANY REASON without permission. Anyone violating this rule will be asked to pay the full price of the dress immediately and will be barred from renting school owned dresses and limited to the black leotard and green summer skirt for all competitions and performances for a one year minimum.

To maintain the ability to wear a solo dress to IOE sponsored events, each student must participate in one competition every calendar year until such a time as they wish to stop wearing said solo dress to performances or they have “retired” from competing at the age of 24. (This is the average age dancers retire globally.)

Furthermore, I understand by signing up my student(s) for dance lessons, I agree that the instructor is an expert in her field and therefore competent to instruct dance lessons and make decisions based on individual ability level and readiness. I understand that the head instructor has the wellness and safety of all dancers in mind as the highest priority and all IOE instructors will behave accordingly.

PLEASE SEE PARENTAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT BELOW. This must be signed, dated and returned prior to signing up for Irish Dance Classes.
Parental Acknowledgement

I have received a copy of and reviewed the Isle of Erin Parent Handbook and will adhere to the policies stated in this handbook.
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Dancer Name

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Current Level of Dancer/Dancer signature (ages ten and up)

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Parent Signature

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Date

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Head Instructor