ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Irish Dance Showcase

Updated on January 19, 2014

The rich cultural heritage of Irish Dance

For many centuries, Irish culture was systematically suppressed and outlawed.

During that time much was lost and, for those of us scattered in lands distant from Ireland, our music, songs and dance are the portals we use to return and embrace our heritage.

Irish Dance is a rich weave of solo and social dance forms which reflect that heritage. It keeps traditions alive, bonds a community in strange lands and celebrates Irish culture.

I love to see the children dancing, just as I danced those many years ago. The sight swells my heart.

This showcase is dedicated to my friend, Sandra Farrell, and to Mrs Brennan who so patiently taught me to count to seven.

Irish dance lessons in the 1950s

In the 1950s we had Irish dance lessons in the Church Hall on Saturday mornings.

As Mrs Brennan pounded the old piano, I pounded the floorboards trying to get my head around the tempo of a set dance. Instead of the conventional 8-bar structure, set dance tunes generally have a one or two part structure with 8 or 12 bars in the first part and 12, 14, 16, or even more bars in the second.

Every couple of months the parish priest, Father O'Neill, would call in to watch as we jigged and reeled around the hall. On those days we wore our Irish dance costumes. The colours of our outfits were predominantly green, white and saffron, but never red (although I now see red worn by dancers).

Until recently women wore a cape which covered their backs while men used to wear an unpatterned kilt and a jacket with a folded cloak draped from one shoulder. Now, anything goes.

Traditional Irish Dance

This is the style of dance we learned as children. Watching the Boyle O'Dowda Irish Dance Academy brought instant memories of my childhood.

Irish Dancers of the World

A clever little mashup of various Dance Groups.

The music is phenomenal!

Jean Butler

When I think of Irish Dance today I think of Jean Butler.

Jean is the Grande Dame of Irish dancing, her stunning performances have made an international phenomenon out of the formerly niche cultural dance.

At the age of 17, on St. Patrick's Day, she debuted with The Chieftains, a successful relationship which lasted several years, touring extensively throughout America, Canada, Europe and Japan. Jean appeared on their video 'The Chieftains - Live From Belfast,' with Roger Daltry and Nanci Griffith and her taps can also be heard on their album, 'The Long Black Veil' with Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones.

Whilst studying drama at the University of Birmingham, Jean received an invitation from producers Moya Doherty and John McColgan to star in a ten-minute stage production called "Riverdance" and, as they say, the rest is history.

In 1996 after performing for Popes, Presidents, Kings and Queens, Jean left Riverdance to pursue other solo projects. In 1999 she teamed up with Colin Dunne, who had replaced Michael Flatley in "Riverdance", and together launched a show called 'Dancing on Dangerous Ground'. Choreographed with Dunne the show was based on the ancient Irish myth of Diarmuid and Grainnea tale of love, death and vengeance.

Dangerous Ground has an element not usually associated with the world of Irish dance - sex.

Jean Butler with the Chieftans, 1991

A very young Jean Butler dances a traditional hornpipe at the Belfast Opera House.

Avalon Dance School

Irish dance has come a long way since I was a child with dreams of mastering a switch leap.

A short compilation from the Avalon Dance School highlighting the different styles for the modern dancer

Eirerobics! Irish Dance Aerobics - Just what I wanted!

Eirerobics : Irish Dance Based Aerobics
Eirerobics : Irish Dance Based Aerobics
What could be better? Jazzersize with an Irish dance theme set to Irish music. An enjoyable little workout and you don't even have to be Irish!

All comments are very much appreciated. You don't have to be a Squidoo member to post yours


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)