Types of Dance

Although the dances have seen changes in popularity and styles, their energetic steps are captivating and continue to be shared. There are three main types of Irish dance and although all are vigorous and engaging, differences exist between them.

Step dancing can be accredited to the Dance Masters. Its considered a competitive style of dance, performed solo for an audience. Usually presented within a limited amount of space, the rhythmic foot movements were fascinating. Today step dancing has evolved to include grander movements, lead-ins, and turns while maintaining its charm.

The other two types of Irish dance are set dancing and Ceili dancing. They are similar in that they were both utilized for social dancing and both resemble square dancing.

Set dances, however, were passed on to family members informally at home while the Dance Masters often taught the Ceili dancing. Another difference to be noted is in the number of people participating. In set dancing, four couples in a square were needed while Ceili dancing employed not just four couple sets but also threesomes and even just couples. Ceili dancing was also executed in circles, lines, and square.

Irish dancing continues to be a popular form of entertainment. Whether a person is an active participant or a captivated spectator, much pleasure is derived from this toe-tapping, heel-clicking activity that has delighted people through the ages.

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