Line and Ceili Dancing Classes

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Does one-on-one dancing action just not satisfy you anymore Are you a frustrated mover and/or shaker If you’ve waltzed your last waltz, then perhaps it’s time to move on to more sociable dance skills. Grab a few friends and some cowboy boots for a spot of line dancing classes and/or ceili lessons.

Line Dancing
Line dancing, as we know it today, came into being in the 1970s but the Irish really threw their Stetsons into the ring in the early 90’s. Garth Brooks spilled his sad story to Pat Kenny, a classic country tale of violence and alcoholism. Naturally, we warmed to him and a trend was born. Parish halls throughout the country played host to hordes of enthusiasts who wanted to do the Honky Tonk Twist to “Friends in Low Places.”

Although the craze died down, line dancing is still enjoyed and taught countrywide. It is an easy skill to pick up. Once you have mastered the basic steps, then you will be able to dance at all levels, as these are the basis for even the most complicated routine. Line dancing gives you a good aerobic workout and is a great way to make new friends who also believe that Billy Ray Cyrus’ mullet is a look that should be imitated.

Line dancing clearly has a lot to recommend it. The Reverend Ian Paisley recently denounced line-dancing as “aiding and abetting fleshly lusts which war against the soul” and banned it at Free Presbyterian weddings. Dr Paisley stated that “line-dancing is as sinful as any other type of dancing, with its sexual gestures and touching . . . No Christian who is in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit should engage in it. ” Gingham has never been so depraved.

Ceili Dancing
Anyone who has ever been to the Gaeltacht will have experienced ceili dancing. 100 Dublin teenagers trying to slow dance to the Walls of Limerick is a sight to behold, but not really what ceili dancing is all about.

All ceili dances are pattern dances, which are done in lines, circles and squares. Surprisingly, they are a relatively new phenomenon, as ceili went into decline during the 1600s, during the time of the Penal Laws. In the late nineteenth century, the Gaelic League decided to revive traditional Irish dances. They used existing records and their creative talents to produce the ceili dances that are in existence today.

Their innovation and record keeping led to the discovery of dances that would otherwise have been lost. For example, A Trip to the Cottage and the Sweets of May were discovered in South Armagh, where only a small group of elderly men and women knew the steps.

Going to a ceili is one of the great Irish traditions and ceili bands still get the halls shaking countrywide. If you learn some basic steps you will find the going easier. As it is, ceilis involve a lot of jigging about in small, sweaty circles and stamping on each other’s feet in 4/4 time. Even a little bit of knowledge can make the experience more enjoyable and spare you and your partners serious injury.

Frank Bolger

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