The band has been rehearsing slip jigs. These are haunting, lyrical tunes with the unusual time signature of 9/8 (nine beats to a measure with an eighth-note on the beat). For step dancers, slip jigs are reserved for female dancers only! The post below is from reeldancer (Livin’ On A Reel: Everything Irish Dance) who posts her insightful observations on step dancing from her personal point of view. Here’s her charming and thoughtful post on the slip jig.
Slip jig is the one aspect of Irish dance that follows ballet the most, and is now strictly for female dancers. Slip jigs are danced to a 9/8 time with more intricate and ”fairy-like” movements. Due to the timing, a slip jig is longer than a reel for the same number of bars of music to allow for the more graceful and controlled movements. There is more emphasis on the high heels and movement around the floor in slip jig than any of the other dance forms within Irish, due to the expectation of a more balletic style.
I personally prefer to dance slip jigs over reels because I feel like I can point harder and fly higher due to the music’s tempo. Slip jigs to me are one of the more beautiful dances in Irish, and I feel like they resemble the wee little fairies we so often associate with Irish folklore. If I had to choose my favorite dance, it would have to be this one. I love how I can be light on my feet and the different movements that are typically in a slip jig step. To me slip jig is one of the most beautiful aspects of Irish dance. Irish Tunes has great examples of the more popular songs that often are paired with slip jigs.