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Irish Dance Lessons for Beginners: Simple Movements


Irish dances - A group of traditional dances that formed in Ireland in the 18th – 20th centuries and became very popular all over the world after the Riverdance dance show was staged in 1994 and the ensuing staging of a number of other Irish dance shows. Include :

  • Irish solo dances (English Irish Stepdance). Their distinctive feature is fast and clear foot movements with the body and arms remaining motionless. Irish solo dances were created by Irish dance masters in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and rather rigidly standardized by the Irish Dance Commission at the beginning of the 20th century in Ireland as a result of the activities of the Gaelic League, which over time allowed the creation of a large school of masters capable of performing fairly sophisticated dance techniques. It is on this technique that Riverdance and similar shows are based.
  • Irish Kaley (Irl. Céilí) - pair and group dances based on the standard steps of Irish solo dances. Cayley patterns are also formalized by the Irish Dance Commission.
  • Choreographed Figure Dances are based on standard Irish solo dances and Cayle figures, but are focused on the mass performance of many dancers at once as part of production shows, and therefore allow various deviations from the standards in order to increase entertainment. As a result of the development of this particular direction, Riverdance and other equally well-known Irish dance shows were created.
  • Set Dancing - set of Irish social dancing. Unlike caylles, they are based on the relatively simple steps of the French quadrille.
  • Shan Nos (Irish sean-nós) - a special style of performing traditional Irish songs and dances, not affected by activities dance masters and the Gaelic League, and preserved in the Irish region of Connemara.

All types of Irish dances are performed exclusively to traditional Irish dance tunes: rila, jigs and hornpipes.

Jig Edit

An ancient melody of Celtic origin. Depending on the musical size of the melody in which the dance is performed, light (double) jig, slip jig, single jig and treble jig are distinguished. The usual musical size of these types of jigs is 6/8. A perfect stand is a slip jig, performed on a special size 9/8 and exclusively in soft shoes.

Hornpipe Edit

Researchers are confident that the hornpipe came from England in Elizabethan times, in which it was performed as a stage act. In Ireland, he dances in a completely different way, and since the mid-eighteenth century has been performed to the music of 2/4 or 4/4. Performed in tight shoes.

The first information about Irish dancing dates back to the 11th century. Since that time, there is the first data on the dance festivities of the Irish peasants, called feis, (pronounced "F Esh»), However, the descriptions of the dances themselves first appeared in the middle of the 16th century. and were quite voluminous and obscure. It is not clear which of the dances described at that time were actually Irish, and which appeared in Ireland under the influence of French and Scottish dances. However, all ancient Irish dances were characterized by a fast pace and side steps.

During the period of the English colonization of Ireland, the mother country continuously pursued all manifestations of Irish culture. "Punitive laws", which were introduced by the British in the middle of the XVII century. forbade the Irish from teaching anything, including music and dancing. Therefore, for more than 150 years, Irish dances were studied secretly. Dance culture existed in the form of clandestine activities conducted in the villages by vagrant dance teachers (the so-called “dance masters”) and in the form of large rural parties where people danced in groups, often under the guidance of the same masters.

Some of the dance masters at the end of the XVIII century. began to create the first dance schools, of which the most famous were schools in the South (in the province of Munster) in the counties of Kerry, Cork and Limerick. There were famous schools in other cities. Each master could invent his own movements (jumps, jumps, turns). Different schools were distinguished by a set of movements used in dancing.

At the beginning of the 20th century, in the process of the “Gaelic revival”, a special unit of the Gaelic League (which later became a separate organization — the Irish Dance Commission) began to study and standardize traditional Irish dances with the aim of further popularizing the Irish population (the League deliberately ignored dances in which foreign roots were very noticeable — for example, set dances quite popular in Ireland were ignored). The League adopted the southern (“Münster”) dance tradition as the most pronounced in technical terms. In the course of the League's activities, the following were standardized:

From then to this day, there is a huge system of dance schools all over the world teaching these standardized (“modern”) Irish dances, as well as a competition system that allows future masters to grow continuously.

A number of figures of Irish culture considered it incorrect to single out the “Munster” school and neglect other areas of Irish dance art.

Solo dances performed in other techniques began to be called “chan-nos” (Irish sean-nós, “the old way”). Currently, there are two directions among them: dances preserved in the Irish region of Connemara and preserved by Irish immigrants in North America .

Despite the strong support of the Gaelic League in Ireland and the Irish immigrant communities in the USA, Canada and other former British colonies, until the end of the 20th century, Irish dancing was still an activity that only a small group of lovers were fond of - mainly Irish and their descendants in exile.

Everything changed after in 1994, during the intermission of the Eurovision Song Contest, the Riverdance dance show was presented, in which Irish dance champions Gene Butler and Michael Flatley participated. The traditional Irish dance technique worked out over the years of training and competition was so popular with the audience that, in the wake of the success of Riverdance, a number of very successful dance performances were put on in the future:

and a number of others. In addition, these shows have awakened interest in many people in Irish dance classes. We can say that at present, Irish dance has become the same "visiting card" of Ireland, as her music or Guinness beer.

In recent years, the chan-nos has gained some popularity among dancers who previously danced “modern” Irish dances.

Set solo dances

Irish dancing is not only an amazing charge of positive and energy, but also a great way to increase stamina and improve physical fitness. Having mastered the basic elements, you can continue to use lessons for beginners to study Irish dances, or contact a special studio. Speed, clarity and rhythmicity of movements will come with regular practice.

Cape Breton Step

This is a Scottish step, which can be performed solo by both sexes. Usually such a dance is performed at various holidays and parties. The style of performance in this dance is called "Close to the floor", that is, all movements of the legs occur close to the ground or floor, and the sweeping swing of the legs shows the unprofessionalism of the dancers.

Now there is even an official Scottish dance organization - the Royal Society of Scottish Ballroom Dancing. It consists of about 25,000 people. And if we include those who are “Scottish” unofficially, we can say with confidence that Scottish dances are successful all over the world!

Since Ireland was once a colony of England, this influenced the development of its culture. In the 17th century, the British forbade anything Irish to flourish, and, accordingly, folk dances were banned. The Irish did not violate them, but in the evenings in an agreed place groups of people met secretly from society to give their soul to dance. In the 18th century, Irish dances began to revive en masse in villages and cities. Some masters even opened their own choreographic schools. In the 1890s, the Gaelic League was founded, which began to revive the Irish language and culture, and, accordingly, the dance opened a second wind in itself.

Today, there are three types of Irish dance - it's solo, kayle and set. The solo is based on a spectacular technique - the body and arms remain motionless during its execution, but the legs perform quick and clear movements to the music.

Kayleigh is based on solo movements, but is performed by a group or pair of dancers. Thanks to the spectacular synchronization of the movements performed, the keili is ideal for special occasions.

The Irish Set is a group dance with elements of French quadrille. Seth has simpler combinations of movements than keels. The steps in it are quite simple and this is understandable by the fact that the set is a social Irish dance.

The best Irish dances (watch the video) today are accessible to many thanks to the Internet, where they go almost immediately after the competition, and where they can please their fans with spectacular entertainment.

Irish Dance Lessons for Beginners (Video Technique)

Irish dance lessons for beginners today are held in almost every school or dance studio. But if you have a desire to learn choreography at home, online videos will help.

To begin to study the base, you need to take care of the right shoes, since in the process of its execution all attention is riveted precisely to the legs thanks to the fixed upper part of the body. Shoes for Irish dance can be of two types - female and male. And they are very different.

Women's shoes are reminiscent of soft ballet flats with lacing, thanks to which the shoes fit tightly on the foot, providing a secure fit. In addition, for the step (and it is quite important in Irish dancing), leather shoes with a small heel and a strap in front, which fixes the shoes, are often shod. In addition, there are always plastic heels in the front and back in step shoes.

Men's shoes are also soft and for step. Stepovki for men have an important difference from the female model - they do not have pads on their toes, but only on the back to create a sound - a click. Traditional shoes for Irish dances have a matte black color, but today there are already varnish options and white inserts on the shoes.

The Irish have three types of tunes, to which all folk dances are performed. They are called reels, jigs and hornpipes. Jigs are of Celtic origin, Rils are Scottish, and Hornpipes are English.

Irish Dance Technique

The technique of performing each type of Irish dance has its own characteristics in movements. For example, caley is danced by performers standing in one line or forming a circle. Hands tightly pressed to the body, only legs work. Kaley uses a lot of jumps.

The set is also carried out according to clear rules - in conditions even the number of people who can be involved in the room is prescribed. As a rule, four pairs perform the set, which are located opposite each other, forming a square. Another difference between the set and other types - it does not use jumps at all.

Well, a solo Irish dance is not just a performance, but a whole spectacle. To perform it in front of the audience, you need to have skill and many years of experience.

Now let's look at the basic steps. Each of them has its own name and principles of implementation. Moreover, teachers from different dance studios have different names for the basic steps.

The main step is called step, it can be performed forward (step-step) and backward (side-step). Another basic step is called the chassis and it is performed using a change of legs. The jump in the Irish dance is referred to as hip. It is performed mainly with swinging legs.

The basic rack looks like this:

  1. Stand evenly, hands pressed to the body.
  2. Now put your right foot forward and put it behind your left - you get a crossed legs. The toe of the right foot should look to the left, and the toe of the left foot - to the right.

The stand can be changed in a mirror form, that is, swap legs - instead of the right will be the left, and instead of the left - the right. From such a stand all the main steps in the Irish dance will be made. If these are bouncing (hips), you simply end them with a wave of your leg, but you will still land on the floor in this starting position.

Nowadays, Irish dances are very popular, and most of all they are loved by children. Toddlers like to make stepping movements or bouncing to groovy music. perceived as something unusual, and therefore attract the attention of novice dancers.

We wish you success in mastering the technique of difficult, at first glance, dance, and our video tutorials will help you with this!

Ireland is an unusual and mysterious country, whose unique charm is given by evergreen hills, ancient castles, and of course stunning dances. National dances are performed only to Irish music and look very beautiful and spectacular, thanks to the speed of movement and rhythm. Currently, this dance direction is extremely popular in many countries. There are many schools and studios that teach jig, rila or hornpipe, but you can learn to dance Irish dances yourself. The following varieties are distinguished depending on the technique of execution and the number of participants:

  1. Solo, is a rhythmic and clear movement of the legs, while the body and arms are motionless, one person is dancing.
  2. Group, performed by a group of up to 16 people, and include elements of solo dancing with the reorganization in a circle, line or column and the inclusion of hands.
  3. Folk or social, characterized by simple movements resembling a square dance, dance in pairs.

For those who decide to learn to dance Irish dances on their own, video tutorials for beginners will be an excellent tool. It is better to start with a solo direction, which includes: jigu, ril, hornpipe and solo sets.

Performed to violin music. A fun and cheerful jig, consists of traditional jumps and special steps. Jumps are high enough, which makes a lasting impression, but at the initial stage you should not jump high. First you need to learn how to properly hold the body and clasp your hands, and most importantly, gently land. Dynamic and spectacular Irish dances, for beginners can be a serious test.

Ryl is believed to be of Scottish origin, but has undergone major changes, with the inclusion of truly Irish elements. It is great for the entry level and, as a rule, they begin to learn from it how to dance the Irish dance. May be fast or slow.

Rails performed at a fast pace have a set of simple movements, while slow ones are characterized by a more complex set of figures, including high jumps. The technique of execution, depending on the type of shoe, can be soft or hard.

Includes jumps and taping elements, touching the floor alternately with the heel and toe, creates the effect of drum roll. The hands are usually located on the belt or elongated at the seams, and the arms are made by the leg bent at the knee. Performed only in tight shoes and is the most difficult to master.In something similar to ril, the hornpipe is distinguished by a special dotted rhythm and an emphasis on the first count. It can also be slow and fast.