Looking to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with more than four-leaf clovers, leprechauns and pots of gold? Well, do a jig because we have just the idea: Irish dance classes. Kiddos can learn about the country’s culture through movement in three traditional dance types. One is called sean-nós, which is characterized by low-to-the-ground footwork and improvisation. Another is céilí, which means a social gathering, is typically performed by groups, while Irish set dancing combines French quadrilles and sean-nós. Riverdance will have nothing on your wee ones by the time they’re done taking classes at any of these eight D.C.-area schools.

Photo: Doug Newdick via flickr

O’Neill James School of Irish Dance
Established in 1969, this school is the longest-running one in the area and one of the oldest in the country, according to its website. Classes are available for wee ones ages 4 and up, and dances include céilí and step. Although competition-level training is available, anyone who wants to dance for fun is welcome.

Cost: $50/registration, $75/4-week trial for new students
Where: See website
When: See website
Online: oneilljamesschool.com

Maple Academy of Irish Dance
Directed by world champions, the school has sent dancers to regional, national and world competitions, and performed at the White House for President George W. Bush and former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahearn.

Cost: Varies by location
Where: The Sante Maria Club (214 Lawyers Rd., Vienna), the Maryland Hall Creative Arts Center (801 Chase St., Annapolis) and the Westmoreland Community Center/Little House (5315 Elliott St., Bethesda)
When: Wednesdays, 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m., in Vienna; Thursdays, 4 p.m.-5 p.m., in Annapolis; Tuesdays, 5 p.m.-6 p.m., Bethesda
Online: mapleirishdance.com

Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance
This school offers Spring Mini-Mesters that run for 6-8 weeks for students who aren’t ready to commit to the Full-Time Yearly Program. In the 45-minute weekly Mini-Mesters classes, dancers learn basic movements of Irish céilí dancing and can march with the school in the Gaithersburg and D.C. St. Patrick’s Day parades. The school also has a Tiny Tots Mini-Mester for little ones ages 3-5. The 30-minute classes run April 14-June 2 and are designed to get children skipping, hopping and clapping to music.

Cost: $80/month
Where: 10700 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring; 4908 Auburn Ave., Bethesda; 112 W. Montgomery Ave., Rockville; 1570 East Jefferson St. Rockville; 9411 Connecticut Ave., Kensington; 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo
When: See website
Online: culkinschool.com

Boyle School of Irish Dance
This school, run by the daughters of Irish immigrants, offers five class types, including Core Classes aimed at dancers who aren’t aiming to be competitive. These classes are divided according to experience, abilities and skill. Beginners learn the basic steps, posture and training exercises. The school is a certified Irish Dancing School and a member of the An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha in Dublin, Ireland.

Cost: $60/month
Where: 1608 Russell Rdd, Alexandria; 4615 Stringfellow Rd., Chantilly; 3301 Hidden Meadow Dr., Herndon; 10960 George Mason Cir., Manassas; 1625 Wiehle Ave., Reston
When: See website
Online: boyleschool.com

Shannon Dunne Dance
This dance company focuses on sean-nós dancing, which means “old style” in Irish. It is “characterized by a loose, playful upper body, close to the floor steps and a strong musicality,” the website states. The school also teaches set – similar to American square dancing – and old-style step dancing. Classes are available for children in pre-k through first grade to introduce them to Irish dance, music and games. Set and sean-nós classes are for students in first through 12th grades.

Cost: $378/early childhood or set class, $306/sean-nós class,
Where: 316 F St., NW, and 6925 Willow St., NW
When: See website
Online: shannondunnedance.com

Hurley School of Irish Dance
Beginners here must be 5 by Sept. 1, but there are Tir na Nog mini sessions for toddlers ages 3-4. It’s a 30-minute weekly class that introduces Irish music and basic techniques along with games and tidbits on Irish culture. The school also offers three summer beginner workshops ($90) for children 5 and up.

Cost: $75/Spring Tir na Nog class
Where: 6826 Olney Laytonsville Rd. (Laytonsville, Md)
When: Saturdays, Apr. 14-May 19, 9 a.m.-9:30 a.m.
Online: hurleyirishdancers.com

Southern Academy of Irish Dance
Classes are open to kids as young as 2. Core classes for little ones include Rince na N’Og and Beginner, which covers reel and light job. Kids 7 and up who have taken lessons for a year or more are eligible to try Beginning Céilí. The academy opened in 2014, when the Aoibhneas an Rince Irish Dancers of Northern Virginia and Nashville’s Southern Academy of Irish Dance merged.

Cost: $65 registration fee, $40/month for 30-minute weekly classes
Where: 23521 Overland Dr., Suite 140 (Dulles, Va)
When: See website
Online: sairishdanceva.com

McGrath Academy of Irish Dance
Owned by a world championship dancer, the academy offers classes from the novice to championship level at locations throughout the area

Cost: $65 registration fee, $40/month for 30-minute weekly classes
Where: See website for exact locations in Ashburn, Damascus, Fairfax Station, Falls Church, Frederick, Manassas, North Bethesda and Purcellville
When: See website
Online: mcgrathirishdance.com

Would your kid try Irish dancing? Would you try Irish dancing? Tell us in the comments below.

—Stephanie Kanowitz