When people hear the word ‘jig’, they don’t necessarily associate it with dancing. For those people that don’t know, a ‘jig’ is actually a form of folk dance that is lively in nature. The name itself, ‘jig’, is actually derived from ‘giguer’, which is a French term that means ‘to jump’, hence, the lively nature of the dance.

This form of dance is commonly associated with Scottish and Irish dance music, but it actually originated from England during the sixteenth century. The dance was actually performed in 2/4 times. Since then, it has taken different forms and adaptation in a variety of time signatures. The ‘jig’ is actually divided into different forms, all of which would be discussed in this article.

Light Jig

Among all the different types of jigs, the light jig is considered to be the fastest as it is performed in 6/8 times. In this particular form of jig, your feet are rarely off the ground for a long period of time. This is so because the steps in this dance are relatively fast, at over 116 speeds at feiseanna.

Each light jig step can actually vary with each dance school and with each teacher, but there are certain standard steps or movements that can be used in almost all forms of light jigs, and that step is referred to as the rise and grind, or rising step. What you do to perform this step is basically place your weight on your first foot, then raise your second foot off the floor, once you have done this, you simply perform two hops on your first foot, or on the foot that is still on the ground.

As soon as you take your second hop, you then drop your second foot and bring it at the back of your first foot, or the foot that did the two hops. Once you have done this, you simply need to shift your weight from your first foot to your second foot while letting your first foot remain in the air after the second hop. There is usually a small delay during the hop and the hop back.

Single Jigs

From the fastest form of jig, we now proceed to the least common one. The single jigs considered to be the least common among the jig dances because it uses a not so common time signature, which is 12/8 at times, while normally it uses 6/8. This is so because this type of jig follows a musical pattern of a eighth note following a quarter note.

Slip Jig

The slip jigs is considered to be a bit longer than the light jig because it uses a longer time signature than the light jig. The time signature that the slip jig uses is actually 9/8 time, although the dance is performed with a music that has basically similar number of bars to a light jig. This form of jig is considered by some as ‘the ballet of jigs’ as the dancers often perform this dance while they are high up on their toes.

Treble Jigs

Treble jigs are the only form of jigs that are performed wherein the performer is wearing hard shoes, allowing the performer to do certain moves and steps, such as clicks, stomps, and trebles. Beginners usually do this dance in a traditional speed, while more advanced performers perform the slow, non-traditional treble jig.

Hop Jigs

Hop jigs is probably one of the more problematic forms of jigs to describe, as a lot of people often confuse it with other forms of jigs, such as slip jig, or single jig. Some basically identify this form of jig through its time signature, which is 9/8 time.


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