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Grade Exams

We are excited to host grades 1-12 the same weekend as the Maine State Feis

on July 28th in Portland, Maine!

*Pending CLRG approval*

If you are interested in taking your grade exams with us, please follow the steps below. 

All forms and payment must be received by

Friday, May 31st, 2024 for Grade 11 & Grade 12

Friday, June 28th for Grades 1 - 10 


Complete the Google Form Below


Complete the Registration Form 

*Additional Steps for Grade 11 and Grade 12*

Grades 11 and 12 require a special application and approval by CLRG for those candidates to be examined.

If your dancer is taking Grade 11 or Grade 12, please also Print and Complete the Grade 11 or Grade 12 CLRG application. We will ALSO need you to email this application and all your grades and mark sheets in ONE PDF to for the CLRG office.

Step 3:

MAIL  all printed registration forms and checks payable to Stillson Irish Dance to

Carlene Stillson

67 Alexander Drive,

Gorham, Maine 04038

Grade 11 & 12 applications and payment must be received by May 31st, 2024 for Grades 11 & 12

June 28th, 2024 for Grades 1 -10 

Grade Exam Information

  • Candidates must be associated with a currently registered CLRG teacher.

  • A dancer must take all grades in order, beginning with Grade 1. Each grade must be passed before a candidate may attempt the next grade.

  • A candidate may only attempt a maximum of 3 consecutive Grades at any one sitting.

  • A three-month period must elapse before the next grade is attempted.

  • Grade exams candidates must be examined by at least 4 examiners up to grade 10, plus two different full examiners for grades 11 and 12.

  • The number of bars of music to be danced for all Reels, Single or Hop Jigs, Light Jigs, Slip Jigs, Heavy Jigs and Hornpipes is 40. (40 bars = 2 1/2 steps).

  • Only basic steps may be danced in the preliminary grade and grades 1, 2 and 3

  • St. Patrick’s Day, Blackbird, Garden of Daisies, Job of Journeywork, King of the Fairies, Three Sea Captains, and Jockey to the Fair must be performed in a traditional style and manner

  • Candidates must be able to adequately demonstrate practical and theoretical knowledge of all ceili dances as per “Ar Rinci Ceili” as specified in the syllabus for Grades 5-12 inclusive.

  • The same set dance must not be performed in more than one of the Grades from 9 to 12 inclusive.

  • All candidates must produce previous certificates and mark sheets before proceeding to higher grades. Please bring them to the exam.

  • Grade 11 may only be attempted by candidates at least 16 years of age.

  • Grade 12 may only be attempted by candidates at least 17 years of age.

  • Dance costumes should not be worn.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Grade Exam?

Per the CLRG website: The purpose of the grade examinations scheme is to provide a structured framework within which dancers can work towards an achievable goal and to provide a strong foundation in Irish dance. Grade examinations are unlike competitions in that each candidate is individually examined and receives a detailed written assessment of their performance and knowledge of the grade being attempted. The scheme consists of an optional preliminary grade, followed by 12 grades with each one becoming increasingly more demanding on the candidates' skill, knowledge and ability. All 12 grade examinations must be completed to be eligible to apply for the TCRG examination as of January 1st, 2018.

What are the required dances for each grade?

Grade 1: Beginner Reel and Light Jig

Grade 2: Basic Slip Jig and Single Jig (Hop Jig)

Grade 3: Primary (Novice) Reel and Beginner Heavy Jig

Grade 4: Primary (Novice) Slip Jig and St. Patrick's Day

Grade 5: Advanced Reel, Basic Hornpipe, and Walls of Limerick

Grade 6: Advanced Slip Jig, The Blackbird, and Siege of Ennis

Grade 7: Advanced Heavy Jig, Garden of Daisies, and the Four Hand Reel

Grade 8: Advanced Hornpipe, Job of Journeywork, and the Humours of Bandon

Grade 9: Two Modern Set Dances (one in 6/8 and one in 2/4 or 4/4 timing) and the High Cauled Cap

Grade 10: Two Modern Set Dances (one in 6/8 and one in 2/4 or 4/4 timing - different than grade 10) and the Eight Hand Jig


Grade 11 (dancers must be at least 16 years old): Advanced Reel, Advanced Slip Jig, Advanced Heavy Jig, King of the Fairies, and Two Contemporary Sets, the Eight Hand Reel, and Harvest Time Jig.

Please ALSO Complete the Grade 11 application here 


Grade 12 (dancers must be at least 17 years old): Light Jig, Single or Hop Jig, Advanced Hornpipe, Three Sea Captains, Jockey to the Fair, Morris Reel, and Sixteen Hand Reel.

Please ALSO Complete the Grade 12 application here 

Dancers must perform 40 bars (2 and a half steps) of music must be danced for all reels, light jigs, single or hop jigs, slip jigs, heavy jigs, and hornpipes individually.

What do I wear to a grade exam?

Dance costumes must not be worn. Dancers may wear a black top and a black skirt or pants. 

What is the cost of a grade exam?

Grades 1-3: $25/grade exam (If taking all 3 grades, the total would be $75)

Grades 4-6: $35/grade exam (If taking all 3 grades, the total would be $105)

Grades 7-10: $50/grade exam (If taking 2 grades at a time, the total for two would be $100 OR 3 grades, the total would be $150)

Grades 11 and 12: $110/grade exam (These must be taken individually.)

Have another question? Please email us at
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