Irish Dance Revolution

In the early 2000s, traditional Irish step dance experienced dramatic changes. As a traditional dance form, Irish step dance lends itself to innovation; it is a lively and living art so to stay fresh and contemporary, it needs to stay, well… alive.

The seven-minute interval act ‘Riverdance’ in 1994 changed not only Irish step dance irrevocably, but also impacted enormously on the developing Irish national identity, the style of dance, the costumes and employment opportunities.

The Irish Have Been Doing it For Years

Where did it all begin? There is a link between early Celtic dance and modern Irish dance. The Celts were sun worshippers who danced within a circular formation of stones which is similar to the circular formation of Irish set dancing. The Celts included movements involving repeated tapping of the feet on one spot which can be seen in dance routines to this day.

The Irish people’s love of dancing is legendary with an English author in the 1700s declaring that there was no occasion from which dancing was absent. During the 19th century the Irish Dancing Masters travelled the country to teach dancing to the masses. The Gaelic League was established in 1893 to create a separate cultural Irish nation but many of the popular dances at the time were banned.

In 1951, the formation of the Society of the Musicians of Ireland, led to a strong revival of traditional Irish music and dance and the late 90s saw an enormous increase in set dancing … Read More