Irish Social Dancing


Corrie wrote yesterday about our Irish Music Camp experience. This was a first for us: we had never really played Irish Music or gone to a music-focused camp but it was, yes, fantastic.

There were about 170 kids participating who were ages 7 to 18. The instructors were, for the most part, professional musicians hired to give lessons and demonstrations over the course of two days. I was asked to help assist in the beginner piano group, so I was a lucky parent who got to be around all these kids immersing themselves in all things Irish. (Not because I am an Irish musician, only because the camp director knew me and the regular beginning piano instructor was helping a sister who broke her foot in 5 places.)




Between their music sessions, the kids had optional classes in different areas, including choir (Gaelic pronunciation! Authentic tearful ballads about your true love dying in various distressing ways!), Gaelic Football (Amos: “It’s like soccer, football, and baseball all mixed up with a lot of running and screaming”), and Irish social dancing.

Both Corrie and Abbey tried an Irish dancing session. This was a little different than Irish Step Dancing, which is a very demanding art form that takes years to perfect. It was more like country line dancing with the traditional ethnic dance movements and steps mixed in. As I watched the kids try it, it was easy to pick out the ones that take Irish Step Dancing classes because they weren’t falling over or flailing their arms.




Corrie picked up on a lot of things quickly, and her gymnastics training helped with balance and mirroring her partner’s movements. Abbey was really enjoying the group participation and the moving to music.


Abbey danced for a while with a guy whose hair was longer than hers. I found this charming.









The instructor was a dark-haired dynamo who taught the steps, directed the musicians (did I mention that it was all done to live music provided by a couple of instructors who sat on stage tearing through one reel after another?), and called the movements during the dance, just like the caller at a square dance session. Just watching her left me exhausted. She probably organizes the takeover of small countries in her spare time.




There is a particular thrill for a parent observing your children try something new. We all have varying degrees of the kind of courage it takes to step out and be willing to fail in front of other people, and I feel more proud of them for being able to get back up and laugh at themselves and try again than I do when they succeed at something. The “try again” ability is invaluable, and often very hard for me. It was inspiring watching them! – Katie