Well, the results are in and by popular vote, it looks like the classic sets are still the most popular. We had 1,469 votes altogether from many different parts of the globe-thank-you!
Deciding on the line-up of dances for Irish set dancing can be torture for a dance/ céilí organiser- or not.
Debate has raged for some years now, particularly in Ireland, whether or not to continually expand the range of sets danced or to stick to the ones people know, especially the ones I call the “C” sets – Caledonian, Clare Plain, Cashel, Connemara, Corofin, etc. Learning new sets is great and it can be very disappointing if you never get to dance them at céilís.
As a child, Gene Kelly was my on-screen dance hero. I loved his athleticism but mostly, it was his mega watt smile and that extra bit of spontaneous lift that really made him unmissable. He radiated joy when he was performing (even though, according to his wife, on the day he filmed the famous Singing In The Rain dance number, he was extremely unwell with a temperature of 104ºF!)
So, it’s with these images in my head that I sometimes wonder how so much Irish dancing became so stiff, so formal and so obviously lacking in delight.
I have often had friends and others telling me how, when they were small, they were sent off to learn the irish dancing only to be whacked with a stick to make them straighter, shouted at to jump higher and to pay attention. Continue reading