Published on October 15, 2008
I rish dancing began during the time of the Druids. They performed dances in a circular style to worship the oak tree and the sun. Although there is no solid evidence, the type of dancing they performed still remains in the form of Irish dance that is today. Dance masters started to make their way around Ireland in the eighteenth century. They would go to people’s homes and teach them how to dance. They would dance on barn doors, and have kitchen ceilis (group dances) with their neighbors. Each dance master had their own territory and did not cross into another master’s territory. History of Irish Dance Today there are two organizations that have rulings over Irish dance. The oldest organization is An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha founded in 1920 in Ireland. The other organization that exists is called An Comhdhail. Later on in Irish dancing Moira Doherty wanted to create a number for the Eurovision Song Contest. She invited the world’s first American Irish Dance World Champion, Michael Flatley and Jean Butler to create a piece called Riverdance. This started the boom of Irish dancing all over the world.
There are two organizations that have rulings over Irish dance. The oldest organization is An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha in 1920 in Ireland. It now operates out of Dublin Ireland. Each dancer who wishes to teach under this organization must undergo several tests that include reading music, teaching personalized steps and ceilis. A teacher then gains a TCRG which qualifies them to teach anywhere in the world. In order to become a judge the teacher must take a test for their ADCRG which qualifies them to teach anywhere in the world under An Coimisiun le Rince Gaelacha. Images courtesy of irishdancingorg.com and clrg.ie The other organization that exists is called An Comhdhail. An interview with Brendan McKenna, Chairperson of An Comhdhail, he describes the difference between the two organizations as, “a ‘teachers’ organisation’, in the sense that it is run exclusively by teachers. All teachers have a voice within An Comhdhail and help shape its future.”(Antonio Pacelli) This states that this organization is much more relaxed and as many people have said, “It has been said to me that the structure of An Comhdhail is very democratic.” (Antonio Pacelli). An Coimisun vs An Comhdhail
Riverdance premiered at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest as an interval act. The performance was so memorable that people wanted to see more. Jean Butler and Michael Flatley choreographed most of the show with help from Jean Butler and Moira Doherty. The show ran for five weeks in Dublin and was sold out every night. Michael Flatley left the show to pursue his own show due to artistic differences. He created Lord of the Dance which caused a huge stir in the Irish dance community because it was so untraditional. There was a separation in people between Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. Lord of the Dance went on to sell out venues world wide and gaining a celebrity following such as Donald Trump, Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton to name a few. These two shows influenced people to start Irish dancing no matter what their race or age and started the boom of Irish dance. Images courtesy of riverdance.com and lordofthedance.com Riverdance vs Lord of the Dance
Soft Shoe: Reel and Slip Jig For a beginner, one would learn soft shoe dances, the reel, light jig and slip jig. These soft shoe dances involve more grace and flexibility. The following are examples of time signatures one would perform these dances: Reel : 4/4 timing. The most enthusiastic of the dances Slip Jig: 9/8. Requires the most endurance of all the dances Image Courtesty of tirnanogacademy.com
As the dancer advances, they move on to the hard shoe steps called the hornpipe and treble jig. The hard shoe dances involve rhythm while the soft shoe dances involve more grace and flexibility. Each dance is performed to different timings: 1. Treble Jig: 6/8 More fast paced of hard shoe steps 2. Hornpipe: 2/4 Slower and more exact of hard shoe steps Image Courtesty of celtic-dance.ch Hard Shoe: Treble Jig and Hornpipe
The Boom of Irish Dancing Results based on enrollment at World Championships over the years. Statistics from clrg.ie
Are the Irish Really Better? Data based on consecutive World Championships from the three largest regions
Bibliography An Comhdhail irishdancingorg.com An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha clrg.ie Ireland’s Eye irelandseye.com/dance.html Dunedin High School dhsshb.com/images/Riverdance-Logo.gif Lord of the Dance lordofthedance.com Riverdance riverdance.com Dafont http://www.dafont.com/theme.php?cat=403 Belfast City http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/news/photoquality/2006UlsterIrishDancingChampionships3.jpg Garden Vision gardenvision.net/funpics/riverdance.jpg Tir na Nog Academy of Irish Dance tirnanogacademy.com/ Aleksandar Zec http://lh5.ggpht.com/_VdTUYWvlYok/SD6w-YsRozI/AAAAAAAALPU/u10BMgw6CCw/Lord+of+the+dance++dvorana+Beogradske+Arene+Beograd++28+maj+2008+photo+by+Aleksandar+Zec++-+005.jpg
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Irish Dance By Gene Kelly. History of Irish Dance Although the history of Irish dance is vague, evidence points to the ancient Druids (Priests) as using.
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