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 Irish Set Dancing – More Information

What is Irish Set Dancing?

Irish set dancing is social dancing usually in the form of square "sets" with four couples. This dance is for anyone from young adult up to dancers in the 70's and onward (so long as you have a reasonable level of fitness - the music and footwork is fairly fast - at least for beginners!). This dance form is generally danced by adults and older children. Younger children (who are far more flexible and energetic usually participate in Irish Step dancing (see below). Each dance has several figures set to traditional Irish tunes such as reels, jigs, polkas or hornpipes.

The footwork ranges from simple stepping to fast battering steps. In set dancing you usually dance with a partner, yet in many figures also dance with one or more other members of the set. Most set dances have a social figure in which each lady dances with each gent and vice versa. Traditionally, set dances were not called, although during classes there will be calling to remind the dancers of the next movement.

While this form of dancing has many sets that have been around for decades, there is a constant supply of newly resurrected sets where collectors have visited older dancers and recorded old sets, and there is a recent phenomenon of new sets being composed by Irish Dancers across the globe.

Irish Step Dancing

If you are looking for Irish dancing for your children then you are probably looking for Irish Step dancing. Irish Step classes are available for adults as well! Did you enjoy "Riverdance" and "Lord of the Dance"? Would you like to kick your legs like Jean Butler, click your feet like Michael Flatley or click your heels like Colin Dunne? We recommend Marieclaire's classes:

Voyage of Irish Dance
Principal Teacher: Marieclaire Beekmans ODCRN
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Classes held in Morisset, Hamilton & Wallsend. No previous experience is needed. Anyone from the age of 5, including adults, is more than welcome. Visit Marieclaire's website

Other Irish Set Dance Classes in NSW & the ACT

  • Central Coast Irish Set Dancers
    • Wednesday nights, 7:45-9:15pm.
      CWA Hall, Pacific Street, Long Jetty, Killarney Vale (North of Gosford).
      Contact Maureen Houston
  • INA set dancing class (Sydney) - The Gaelic Club, 64 Devonshire Street, Surrey Hills
    • Monday nights, 8.00-9.30pm, Irish National Association of Australasia.
      Contact Liz Carter 0404 062 742 or
  • Sydney - Trish McGrath & Alarna Stephenson - Sutherland
    • Tuesday nights. Contact Alarna Stephenson
  • Sydney Irish Ceili Dancers
    • Thursday nights, 8-10.30pm.
      Kingsgrove Uniting Church Hall, 289A Kingsgrove Road, Kingsgrove.
      Contact Bill & Margaret Winnett
  • Monaro Folk Society Irish Set Dance (Canberra)
    • Wednesday nights, 8-10 pm, 4 x 10 week terms per year (Feb. - Dec.).
      North Canberra Baptist Church, 17 Condamine Street, Turner, ACT, 2602.
      Contact Christine Briton 0413 168 562 or

Useful Irish Set Dance (and other) Links

Cari Buzia + Aon Celtic Art