The Spotters Guide To: Irish Dance

We will soon be welcoming Flash Mob; where a whole host of dance styles will burst onto the stage in a blaze of colour and light. To prepare we have compiled a guidebook of dance styles just for you! The Dance Ambassador Champions have taken it upon ourselves to wade through the undergrowth of dance genres, set up camp and speak only in hushed tones we mimicked from Bill Oddie. Armed with notebook, foldable desk and a paraffin lamp our champions observed dance styles in their natural habitat; origins, costumes and key members of the pack you may recognise. This is our Spotters Guide to Dance.

Today we bring you The Spotters Guide to Irish Dance by intrepid explorer Kelly McFarland.



Irish dancing is a group of traditional dance forms which originated in Ireland.

The main forms are: Social and performance dance. Social is slightly more traditional and can be divided further into céilí (or ceilidh) and set dancing.

Notable Movement Motifs and Formations
Irish set dances danced by four couples arranged in a square, while céilí dances are danced by variations of two to sixteen people. In addition to their formation, there are significant stylistic differences between these two forms of social dance.

Most competitive dances are solo dances, though many step dancers also perform and compete using céilí dances. The solo step dance is generally characterised by a controlled upper body, straight arms, and quick, precise movements of the feet.

FLEX-55 The solo dances can either be in “soft shoe” or “hard shoe”. Irish dancing became really popular due to the success of world-famous show Riverdance. Irish dancing is notable for its rapid leg and foot movements, body and arms being kept largely stationary.”

Dancers You May Know

Arguably the most well known Irish Dancer Michael Flatley as danced in Riverdance many times.

michael flatley

Look out for Irish fusion duo Brosena in next week’s performances of Flash Mob!



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