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Over the centuries Ireland developed a unique style of dance, but it’s only in recent years it has come to the attention of the wider world — and here’s why.
During the interval at the 1994 Eurovision song contest, a little known group of Irish dancers called “Riverdance” brought the audience to their feet and astonished a massive world wide TV audience with their feet-tapping rhythms and colorful dance style. dance shoes near me in USA
Riverdance is produced by Moya Doherty and its instant popularity owes much to the brilliant and flamboyant execution of the principle dancers, Irish-Americans Jean Butler and Michael Flatley.
Thus a dance style that drew its inspiration from many races became universally recognized and enjoyed.
The history of Irish dancing has its roots back in the period before even the Celts arrived in Ireland. At that time, the Druids worshipped nature — in particular trees — and they would have performed rituals which involved dancing around the oak tree, in particular.
When the Celts arrived from mainland Europe, they brought with them dance styles from their countries of origin. When the Normans conquered Ireland in the 12th century, they brought with them fresh dances. dance shoes near me in USA
Chief of these Norman dances was the Carol, which involves a circle of dancers surrounding a single singer in the center. You can see echoes of this style in the Riverdance sequence, “Countess Cathleen” a dance of empowerment for the women dancers.
Later, three principle dance styles were evolved. These were the Prince Fada (the long dance), the Trenchmore and the Irish Hey. Irish dancing was accompanied by the Uilleann pipes — a type of bagpipe, with its origins, as with the Scottish bagpipes, in the Mid East.
For many years it had been the custom for traveling musicians to roam the country, stopping at wealthy manor houses and entertaining the residents with songs and stories, in return for which they received bed and board. In the eighteenth century, this tradition was enlarged to include traveling dance masters who would roam the country and teach villages to dance in the traditional way.
In order to whip up enthusiasm the dance masters held group dances and competitions, with the best dancers in each village held in high esteem. In order to give a firm surface for dancing, doors were often taken off their hinges and laid flat for the dancers. This, coupled with the use of the hard shoe, gave rise to the rhythmic and rapid foot tapping, so closely associated now with Irish dancing.
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