Irish Social Dancing Anyone? Two Left Feet Also Welcome!

A close-up shot of a group of people dancing - Irish dancing sessions

Now, if you’re anything like me, dancing and dancing in rhythm particularly may have you break into cold sweat. Or you may belong to the other side. Where the very thought of dancing and good music may have you breaking into a little jig, no matter where you are! Whatever the type of person you are, this may be interesting for you.

For one, if you think you can’t dance, there are lessons. And if you already are a diva on the dance floor, this is something you may want to try out.

A wee bit about what we are talking about. There’s an event called ‘Are ya Dancin?’ Happening on this Friday, November 25th, at The Teachers Club in Parnell Square, it’s about Irish College style Céilí along with brilliant live trad music. There will be a lesson in set dancing from 7.30-8.30 pm and live music afterwards with Céilí dances, set dancing and a few songs from their band as well. There’s no requirement for any kind of prior experience or the need to bring a partner along.

A poster of Irish Social Dancing - has the text - Are Ya Dancing? And photograph looks like it is a scene from 80s. A black and white pic that shows men and women dancing; wearing 80s and 70s styles clothing

Louise O’ Connor, who is a traditional Irish fiddle player, Sean Nós dancer and Céilí dance instructor is behind the platform Lasta Dance under which the event is being organised.

Louise tells travel2ireland, "I'm inspired to run these events because as an Irish musician and dancer I see how traditional Irish music and dance can ignite joy in people and help break down barriers between different ages and nationalities. At my regular dance classes in The Cobblestone, the focus is on connection and having fun, not on getting it perfect.  People come to my classes who want to laugh, to destress and to meet new people."

According to the website, the ethos of “Lasta Dance is about building connection through Irish music and Dance. The word ‘Lasta’ means ‘alight’ or ‘aglow’ and sums up our passion for keeping the flame of Irish music and dance alight. The word also connects to the ‘glow’ in people’s faces that music and dance can bring.”

If you’re wondering what Céilí is, we have the answer ready! A Céilí is a gathering for Irish traditional music, dance and storytelling. It derives from the Irish word ‘le chéile’ meaning ‘together’. A typical céilí can involve two hand dances, dances in circle or line formations, or in a four partner square as in set dancing.

We also anticipate your next question. You want to know a bit more about what set dancing involves, don’t you? Well, thanks to Louise’s website, we have the answer to that as well! Set dancing is a form of social dancing which has been danced in Ireland for about 150 years. Set dances are derived from French Quadrilles and involve four couples dancing in a square. Each ‘set’ has usually between three and six ‘figures’ within it and are often danced to a live céilí band. Famous céilí bands which play for set dancers include the Tulla, Kilfenora or the Shandrum Céilí Band.

If all this sounds interesting and is something that is up your alley, you know where to head to this Friday. Maybe one day, I will get my two left feet to do some dancing as well – and won’t stress on getting it all right and perfect!


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