logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
European Travel
Action Movies
Bible Basics
Houseplants
Romance Movies
Creativity
Family Travel


dailyclick
All times in EST

Clairvoyance: 08:00 PM

Full Schedule
g
g Irish Culture Site

BellaOnline's Irish Culture Editor

g

The History of Irish Dancing

Guest Author - Tony King

The history of Irish Dancing takes us back even prior to the time of the Druids, in the early centuries of modern history. The invasion of the Celts from Central Europe brought with it various folk dances, which were quickly incorporated into Druidic rituals , including the “oak tree” and the “sun” dances.

While early Christianity did not encourage or enhance dancing as part of religious services, the peasant population retained much of its previous occultist culture, including dances to various deities and dances aimed as appeasing curses or imploring blessings.

The time span from around 400 AD to the 1300’s has often been claimed as “Ireland’s Golden Age”. The work of St. Patrick and other itinerant monks spread the Gospel of Christianity throughout the land. The Church built its monasteries and schools and birthed the age of Irish learning and education. In spite of the ravages of the Vikings in the 800’s (when all books of learning were destroyed), the Norman Invasion in the 12th century brought new and exciting cultural and custom changes to the country, and it is from this era that we have our first references to the foundations of our modern Irish dancing.

The early dances were simply the impromptu expressions of the Irish natural love for fun and entertainment. The “cake” dance was performed after Sunday services and was in fact perhaps the original “Irish Dance Competition”, in which ordinary men and women vied with one another to win the prize of a freshly-baked cake through the demonstration of intricate and complex steps and maneuvers.

While we can find literary references to the “long dance”, jigs , heys and trenchmores in the mid -1600’s, it isn’t until almost two hundred years later that we begin to see the “organization” of Irish Dancing into the form we recognize today.
The 18th and 19th centuries was the era of the “Dancing Masters” who travelled around the country, staying 6 to 8 weeks in a community, teaching all and sundry ( at least those who were able to pay) the basic forms of the (then) modern dance. Competitions were often organized among these masters to see who would be privileged to teach in the more affluent areas. Afterwards, the local peasantry would join in the fun and it is probably from these humble beginnings that today’s ceili and set dances originate.

While the “dancing masters” continued their work into the late 1800’s, it wasn’t until early in the 20th century that Irish Dancing was first standardized to pre-set forms and movements. With this standardization, many of the regional and local forms were lost, along with much of the history associated with particular area dances. Today the commercialization of Irish Dancing has popularized its worldwide recognition, while throughout Ireland, ceilis and simpler traditional competitions retain much of what is still known as an Irish Culture phenomenon.

Add The+History+of+Irish+Dancing to Twitter Add The+History+of+Irish+Dancing to Facebook Add The+History+of+Irish+Dancing to MySpace Add The+History+of+Irish+Dancing to Del.icio.us Digg The+History+of+Irish+Dancing Add The+History+of+Irish+Dancing to Yahoo My Web Add The+History+of+Irish+Dancing to Google Bookmarks Add The+History+of+Irish+Dancing to Stumbleupon Add The+History+of+Irish+Dancing to Reddit




RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map


For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Irish Culture Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Tony King. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Tony King. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Bee Smith for details.

g


g features
Irish Christ Carols and Music

Some Irish Christmas Traditions

Irish Weddings and Handfasting

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor