The Clare Lancers Set: Tradition and Evolution


Nora Stewart
Easy Irish Dance/ Irish Bliss

3 thoughts on “The Clare Lancers Set: Tradition and Evolution

  1. A Nora, a chara,
    Thank you very much for bringing this information to a wider audience. More people should have this kind of knowledge about the dances they do or teach, especially the teachers. I have felt that many teachers teach a form of some set found in modern revival books and imply or even directly that what they teach is what the dance has always been, One example of this in the Lancers from Croisín, Clare, occurs in the first figure. Most teachers teach students to go around the opposite by the left, but Larry points out that Biddy and Joe went around by the right. I had the privilege of meeting Biddy and Joe back in the ’80s both on Larry’s dancing tours and at the Willie Clancy Summer School. In the mid ’80s, after Terry Moylan had come out with his first book (2nd edition in 85) the dancers of Croisín were still reviving the Lancers and debating among themselves whether it was by the right or left they danced around the opposite in the first figure. In the middle of the Week Biddy spotted me in Casey’s shop in the middle of Miltown. She came in, grabbed me by the right arm and said, ” We remember now. It was by the right.” So they informed Larry and he put their information in his book. Anyway I wish more teachers would be more knowledgeable about the history of any set they might teach whether it was created yesterday or has evolved for a hundred years or more, and would straightforwardly give this valuable (IMHO) info to students.
    Slán anois,
    Michael Collier

    • Hello Michael – Thanks for you lovely story. I agree it’s great to know the history of things but I suspect that it how people dance that matters – respect for others, enjoying it and not labouring too hard over the details, lest we might miss the fun. Thanks again and happy dancing. Nora

  2. I remember my Aunt Julia coming from NY to visit family in Boston. Someone would give her accordion and she would sit on the arm of the couch, the carpet was rolled up and the dancing began

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