Exploring Irish Step Dance
Irish Step Dancing is a very old form of dance. It can be traced as far back as the 1600’s, when traveling dance masters taught their art form from village to village across the Irish countryside. The recent popularity of the Broadway hits “Riverdance” and “Lord Of The Dance” has created a renewed interest in an awareness if Irish Dancing.
There are three basic Irish Dances: Reels, Jigs, and Hornpipes, which are performed in either soft or hard shoe. Steps may be danced as solo or as a team. Ceili, or Figure, dances are performed with 3 or more dancers. Irish Ceili dancing is the primary influence behind American square dancing.
Most Irish Step Dancers choose to wear traditional costumes. These costumes are usually very colorful and elaborate embroidered designs. Many of these designs are Celtic knots taken from the Book of Kells, an ancient manuscript containing the four gospels. It was written by Irish monks in the late 8th and early 9th centuries.