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Traditional clothing and footwear is an important part of the Irish Dance experience. The Culkin School is proud to be part of this heritage and encourages its students and their families to show support for the school.  For information on what to wear to classes, please see our school guidelines.

Beginners Costumes

The Culkin School Beginner Costume consists of an embroidered t-shirt, an embroidered shawl, a skirt with built-in trunks, and tights. (Click here to see a picture) The skirt is worn by all levels as the summer and performance costume, so your dancer will likely use it quite a bit. The shawl can be returned for a full refund once your dancer moves into the school dress and no longer needs the shawl. The order form for the beginner costumes, including size charts for all items, is available in the Files section of the Culkin School Yahoo! Group. (You must be a group member and signed in to access the files.)

Skirts $30 + tax
Beginner Tee (Girls sizes) $20 + tax
Shawl $25 + tax


The following sizes are available:

Culkin Dancers

- Child Small (fits waist 23-25, skirt length 10" from waist)
- Child Medium (fits waist 24-26, skirt length 14" from waist)
- Adult Small (fits waist 24-26,skirt length 15" from waist)
- Adult Medium (fits waist 26-29, skirt length 16" from waist)
- Adult Large (fits waist 29-32, skirt 16" from waist)

Please provide your dancer's waist measurement to our dresmaker (measured at the belly button or widest point) and waist to knee measurement (measured from the belly button to the top of the kneecap where it joins the leg). If you would prefer, our dressmaker can measure your dancer.

School Dress

The Culkin school dress was design by Sean and Maire McArdle and is elegant in its simplicity. All level II dancers and above are allowed to purchase the school dress if they wish.

The current cost of school dresses is $355 (+tax). The cost of the dress paid by the dancer/parent is $255 (+tax).  The remaining cost is subsidized by the Culkin School.  Please contact Irish Seams at to schedule a fitting.  You may "trade-in" your used Culkin dress, provided it is in good condition, for a $100 credit on a new dress.

NEW!! Alterations to school dresses are handled by Alison Mrohs. To schedule a fitting and for a alterations pricing list, please email Alison.

Instructions for cleaning your Culkin School dress are now available.  Follow this link to download the instructions (Word Document). Need help measuring your child for a dress? Follow this link to download the instructions. (Word Document)

Championship Dresses

Championship level dancers compete in custom made elaborate costumes. Each dancer may choose a design that they particularly like and have a dress made for them.

There are many online resources available to find the exact dress you are seeking. Check out our Links page for dressmakers previously used by Culkin School students.  Quality pre-owned dresses are also available for sale at area feiseanna and on the internet.  Visit Dance Again to view some of these dresses.

Boys Costumes

The Culkin School boys costume consists of black pants with a long-sleeved black shirt dress shirt and the Culkin vest. The boy's vest has a black front and white back with the Culkin claddagh design embroidered on the back. It is $65 (+tax) and is available from Irish Seams. Boys also wear white ties which can be purchased for

At the championship levels, dancers often wear cummerbunds or vests with Celtic designs and may wear colored shirts. 

Adult Costumes

The adult dancers at the Culkin School wear a simple black, long sleeve stretch velvet dress which can be made or purchased commercially, though there is not a specific vendor at this time. A black, embroidered kite shaped shawl is also part of the adult costume and must be purchased for $45 (+tax) from Irish Seams. The adults dress may also be orders to your measurements.

For major ceili competitions, the adults wear a white shawl and white cuffs, which are provided by the school.

Summer Performance Costumes

The Culkin School's summer performance costume is the same for all levels of dancers. Girls are asked to purchase the "beginner" skirt (also called the "performance/summer costume skirt" and the Culkin School white cap sleeve t-shirt. Boys may choose a Culkin School t-shirt to wear with black pants. Information on ordering the Culkin t-shirts is available on our Culkin Spirit Gear page.

Adult students should purchase the adult version of the summer performance skirt and a Culkin Adults ring neck t-shirt. Contact your instructor for ordering information.

Dance Shoes

The school uses three styles of shoes for the boy and girl dancers. Both use the traditional hard shoe with the heel and toe areas raised for the distinctive "sound" of the Irish Dance. Girls use ghillies for other dances, while boys use soft dance shoes (similar to jazz dance shoes).

The school organizes shoe exchanges at the beginning of the school year so that gently used footwear that has been outgrown finds new enthusiastic owners. Watch our newsblog and the Culkin Yahoo! Groups for more details on this year's program.

New shoes are available locally at The Irish Walk, King Street, Alexandria (VA) 703-548-011, Les Gals Activewear in Silver Spring (MD) 301-608-3237 and Repeat Performance in Rockville (MD) 301-881-0800. Area feiseanna are also a resource where you can view and try on dance shoes. Other resources are: Rutherford Shoes 716-392-7707, and Fay's Shoes 914-237-1435.

Shoe repair can be performed locally at Stern's, 1046 Ripley St., Silver Spring, MD 20910 301-588-2986 FAX 301-588-4922. They have good turn around time and even done emergency work on occasion


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The Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance is registered with An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha in Dublin, Ireland and is a member of the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America and IDTANA Southern Region, Inc..