Celtic & Irish Dance

The Ceili

The word céilí or ceili refers to an Irish social dance event with set dancing or ceili dancing or both, and possibly other types of dance such as the waltz, quickstep and jive. A fíor céilí, or true ceili, is one in which only ceili dances are danced and are often conducted in Irish. 'Ceili and old time' is a mixture of sets, ceili dances and waltzes.

Irish Step Dancing

Irish step dancing is the competitive solo form of Irish dancing made popular because of Riverdance and Lord of the Dance.

Irish Step Dance in Atlanta

Paddy In The Smoke: Irish Dance Music From A London Pub Various Artists; Audio CD

Irish Dance Music Coleman; Audio CD

Irish Dance Celtic Pride; Audio CD

Past Masters of Irish Dance Audio CD

Irish Dancing Made Easy, VHS

History of Irish Music & Dance, VHS

Irish Set Dancing

Set dancing is a form of social dancing which has been popular in Ireland for over 150 years. Sets are danced by four couples in a square, and usually consist of three to six figures with a short pause between each. Set dancing descends from the French quadrilles, which were brought to Ireland by the British army in the nineteenth century. Irish dancers adapted the figures to their own music and steps to form dances with great drive and enjoyment. 

An excellent book describing the history of set dancing, the steps, the terminology and 64 of the most commonly danced sets is

Toss the Feathers: Irish Set Dancing by Pat Murphy (Paperback)

Set dancing 1st & 3rd Sundays, 3 to 5PM, in Roswell or Atlanta. All dances taught, beginners welcome. Contact Sally MacHenry at sally.machenry@mindspring.com for details

Ceili Dancing

Another form of Irish social dance is the ceili dance. This is a separate repertoire of dances which are commonly danced in Northern Ireland, England, America and Australia, but uncommon to the south of Ireland. There are many forms, for couples or threesomes, in lines, squares and circles, and several in four-couple sets. They are danced to steps which are similar to those used in modern step dancing and unlike those for set dancing. Ceili dances are usually taught formally by dancing teachers. The dances were introduced around the turn of the twentieth century. They suffered some neglect with the revival of set dancing but there is increasing interest in them

Irish Ceili Dance Music -- Various Artists; Audio CD

Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance

Riverdance - The Official Website

Lord Of The Dance & Riverdance (And Other Famous Irish Music & Dances)

Michael Pat Gallagher's Irish Dance Works

Gaelforce Dance: The Irish Dance Spectacular (2000) DVD

Celtic Feet: Irish Dancing Step by Step (1997) VHS