Sunday, 10 August 2008

The Ceilidh...

Truthfinder, one of my American readers, left a question on my last post: What's a ceilidh?

Put simply, a ceilidh (pronounced "Kay-lee") is the Gaelic equivalent of the English barn dance, and is very similar to American line dancing. In the ceilidh, people aren't all dancing in rows facing the same way... for some dances you have a partner, while others are danced in groups of eight. Also, (this may apply only to the ceilidh's we have at Faith) there isn't a "caller" during the dances - though there is a brief demonstration by "expert" dancers and a quick run-through for everyone of the steps while someone calls them out... and then, once the music starts, it's a bit of a free-for-all.

Some of the dances, as I've indicated, are danced in groups of eight... The great thing about a ceilidh is that you can just dance with anyone, so you don't get wallflowers abandoned at the side of the room looking wistfully on at the action. Anyone can be asked to dance, without the "loaded" meaning you get at a disco. In fact, it can be quite dangerous trying to watch a ceilidh from the side of a room, as a bunch of people, desperate for another person to make up their set, are likely to press-gang you into joining the fun.

The photos I've shown here are actually from one of the Winter Conferences - as I explained in my last post, my mobile died pretty early on in the proceedings - and these were taken with a much less snazzy phone camera.

4 comments:

truthfinder said...

What a pleasant surprise your post was on a dreary, rainy Sunday morning! Thank you for the illumination on the word "ceilidh", and for the photos. It looks like great fun! I do wish we could have one in our parish -- we certainly have room enough in the parish hall. However, we have a Polish priest who is probably as unfamiliar with the term as I. Perhaps we could attempt it at the parish picnic on September 14th. If we do, I will send photos. Unlike yours, they should be terribly funny!

Mac McLernon said...

Heheheh... I just didn't manage to catch anyone falling over, but believe me, it still happens.

Your PP would probably be very happy with a ceilidh, provided you could find someone to lead the dances. It's a great way to meet new people (as the groups keep changing) and, unlike at discos, there is no "smooching" of couples in corners and clothing tends to be far more modest as people are aware that they're going to be whirling around! It's also tremendous fun!

Mary Liz said...

They do exist in America! (Though I was taught to spell it "ceili.") The Emerald Isle Club here in Maryland hosts one a month - except July/August. Wonderful fun!

gemoftheocean said...

Thanks for the explanation of the word "ceilidh" I meant to ask how it was pronounced too. Most likely our square dancing falls out of the same roots.

Usually as kids in grade school (and high school) we were taught variations on the Virginia Reel. Don't know if they still do that, but we sure did. You can see a bit of one at the tail end of this bit from GWTW.

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