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When the translation is provided submissions to the blog will be published in both English and Irish. Please send submissions to the webmaster address shown at the very top of the blog. Please visit us often. This blog is the companion of the Ottawa Comhaltas website:

Beidh poist a fhoilsiú i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge nuair is féidir. Tabhair cuairt orainn go minic. Is é seo an blag an compánach an láithreán gréasáin Comhaltas Ottawa:

Friday 28 December 2012

What is Irish Set Dancing?

Irish set dancing (or"country set dancing"), is a form of social dancing popular in Ireland for over 150 years. These dances are based on French quadrilles (which were brought to Ireland by the British army in the nineteenth century), that were adapted by the Irish by integrating their sean-nós (old style) steps and Irish music.

The distinguishing characteristics of Irish set dancing is that it is danced in square "sets" of four couples (eight people), and consist of several "figures," three to six figures with a short pause between each, frequently repeated throughout the set. These "sets" are danced by people in a formation similar to that of American square dancing. Each part of the set dance (figure) is danced to music, mostly reels, jigs, polkas, hornpipes and slides. The sets come from various parts of Ireland and are often named for their place of origin; examples are the Siege of Ennis, Antrim Square, and the Clare Lancers Set.

At the CCÉ Ottawa Branch ceilis we enjoy dancing several of the most common Irish Set dances. To give an idea of what we do here is a clip of the first figure of the Antrim Square, performed by some member of the CCÉ Ottawa branch:

If you are interested in learning how to do Irish Set dancing, check our website for more information: 

Our weekly class will start on January 7th, 2013, and we hope that you will join us. Remember, you do not need to know how to dance nor need to have a dancing partner. Everyone is welcome!

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting material. Hopefully will interest many people in Irish set dancing.


Until next time / Go dtí an chéad uair eile!