not really an authority on traditional dance, but I do play for Scottish
country dancing and Irish dancing of various sorts from time to time. And
if you play for dancing, you really ought to learn something about what
those dancers are doing, and why they always complain about the tempo of
your tunes even though it took months of practice to get them up to that
Riverdance and its imitators have made Irish dancing (or some
semblance thereof) newly popular. Let's hope that this results in at least
a few people finding out about real Irish dancing!
beginner's introduction by Bill Harrison explains
the difference between Irish
step dancing, set dancing, céilí dancing, and the couple
dances done to traditional Irish music, plus a list of reference
Playford's 1651 publication of The English Dancing Master
is the first record of dance music in the British
Isles. It includes a number of Scottish tunes. I've put it into abc
format, which can be found at
this page on the Ceolas website.
Full list of traditional Irish set dancing and ceili dancing events.
List of traditional Irish events: set dancing, ceili dance, workshops, festivals, ceol agus craic, by
location. Most events listed are in Ireland, but the links list is international. Excellent resource for
people planning a trip to Ireland who want to get some dancing in.
Set Dancing News worldwide. In the past, reports have shown a lively prose style. Sample:
The final stop of the outing was the Battery Castle, a nineteenth
century British fort guarding the Shannon from Napoleon, which was
a surprisingly good venue for set dancing thanks to the fine wooden
floor installed in a renovation. The castle is roofed, but the windows
are open and the dancing was accompanied by fierce winds of an
American hurricane which completely eliminated any possibility of
sweating. As soon as the Plain set had stopped, a bat was blown into
the room and circled frantically for a minute or two to the screams
of those of us who feared it would land on our heads before being
blown out the other side. The organising committee is to be
congratulated for providing such unique entertainment.
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