Traditional dance

Irish danceI'm 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 speed.

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!

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Available topics:

A brief overview of Irish dance
This 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 material.

Irish step dancing
A brief history of Irish step dancing by Don Haurin & Ann Richens, of the Richens Academy of Irish Dancing (Ohio).

Scottish step dancing
Maggie Moore discusses Cape Breton step dancing and its roots in Scotland, where it is starting to be revived.

Quadrilles and cotillions
What does Irish set-dancing have to do with the court of Emperor Napoleon? The net.gurus of the FIDDLE-L List explain this story and much more.

Sets and céilí dancing
Thanks to Paul Keating for providing an interesting Irish Times article on the controversies in the Irish social dancing world.

The English Dancing Master
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.

The origins of Scottish country dance
A brief introduction to Scottish country dance in the 18th century.

Additional information

BookCheck out the links page for additional references.

BookGo to music encyclopedia directory

Hearth Go to The Standing Stones home page

Lighthouse Go to the Standing Stones Site Map (listing of the entire contents of this website)

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