Irish Jig


Irish Jig Picture

Did you know that the word 'Jig' comes from the French word 'giguer' which means to jump? Discover a selection of interesting facts and useful information about the Irish Jig!

What is the difference between single, Light, Double and Treble Jigs?

What shoes are worn by Irish jig dancers? There are two types of Irish dance shoes, soft shoes also known as ghillies and hard shoes which are also referred to as Hardies. Find out which shoes are worn for different types of jig.

Irish Music

What is Irish Jig?
The word jig is taken from the French word 'giguer' which means 'to jump'. It was developed in England in the 16th century as a lively folk dance. The Shakespearean actor Will Kemps pictured below was a famous Elizabethan clown. He is famous for dancing a jig from Norwich to London in 1600! Will Kempe 'was greatly applauded for his buffoonery, his extemporal wit and his performance of the Jig' (Extract from the book 'Kemps Nine Daies Wonder' - Published 1839). The jig was introduced to Ireland in the 17th century by travelling dance masters who were paid to travel the country and teach dancing to the native Irish country folk. Nowadays the jig is commonly associated with Irish dance and music.


Will Kemp - Irish Jig Picture

Image of Will Kemp Dancing a Jig

Types of Irish Jig

There are several types of jig including:

  • Single Jigs

  • Light Jigs

  • Slip Jigs

  • Double Jigs

  • Treble Jigs

The light jig is the fastest of all the jigs and is performed in soft shoes. The slip jig is very graceful and is known as the 'ballet of Irish dance' as it is performed mostly on the toes, similar to ballet. Single jigs and are also performed in soft shoes. Treble jigs are performed in hard shoes and the speed the treble jig is performed depends on the experience of the dancer.

Irish Dance Shoes - Jig
Different types of jig require the dancer to wear either soft or hard shoes. There are two types of dance shoes used by solo step dancers when dancing the Irish jig, these are soft shoes (also referred to as ghillies) and hard shoes (often referred to as Hardies), both types of shoe are pictured below:

Irish Soft Shoes - Light Jig

Irish Dancing - Soft Shoes

Irish Hard Shoes - Treble Jig


Irish Dancing - Hard Shoes

Sheet Music Downloads plus Audio Files at Virtual Sheet Music

Irish Jig - Facts

  • The word 'Jig' comes from the French word 'giguer' which means to jump

  • A light jig is the fastest of all the jigs, danced in ghillies (soft shoes). It is performed in 6/8 time

  • Slip jigs (performed in 9/8 time) are sometimes referred to as the 'Ballet of Irish Dance' as it is danced in soft shoes and dancers are mainly on their toes like they are in ballet

  • Single jigs are the least commonly performed jig and are usually in 6/8 but occasionally in 12/8 time

  • The reel is the most popular Irish dance followed in second place by the jig

  • The jig was developed in Ireland in the 17th Century

  • Treble Jigs are performed in hard or heavy shoes and are famous for the stomps and clicks made by the hard shoes

Irish Jig

Irish Jig

  • What is an Irish Jig?

  • Traditional Irish Jig

  • Different Types of Jig

  • Irish Folk Music

  • Irish dancing Shoes

  • Facts about the Irish Jig

Irish Jig


Irish Jig - Pictures and Videos
Discover the vast selection of pictures relating to Irish Jig and illustrating how beautiful the instruments are. Irish Jigs are famous worldwide and the publicity received from the hit stage productions have brought this traditional past time completely up to date for the 21st century! Learn about the history of Irish Jig and learn about the different types of jigs. Find out about the different types of jigs as well as the instruments used to produce the music for this wonderful past time. The pictures show the different costumes and musical instruments that are associated with this amazing country. A great resource for all ages. Useful as an Irish history resource for kids and children of all ages as well as those wanting to learn more about the amazing music that originated in the emerald Isle. We have included pictures and videos to accompany the main topic within the Irish Jig section. The videos enable fast access to the images and pictures together with information and many musical facts as well as the all important lyrics. All of the articles and pages can be accessed via the about Ireland Index - a great free resource for everyone!


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