Newcastle Irish Set Dancers conduct classes in Irish Set dancing - the social dancing of the Irish. The group is located in Newcastle, New South Wales (Australia) and is part of the Newcastle and Hunter Valley Folk Club.
Irish social dancing…
It is probably helpful to see Irish Set dancing in action, then to look more closely at the footwork involved. So, here are some videos of Irish Set dancing. First dancing at a typical Irish ceili:
Next, the same dance, the Merchant Set - taught by its author Pádraig McEneany:
What footwork is used in Irish Set Dancing?
Irish set dancing generally is set to traditional Irish tunes such as reels, jigs, polkas, slides or hornpipes. The footwork ranges from simple flat to the floor stepping to fast battering steps. You're always on the balls of your feet, but for older and more experienced dancers often the heels are used for musical punctuation.
There are many resources available to learn about the footwork accompanying Irish Set Dancing, but most are not aimed at beginners so you really need to experience it in a class first, then the resources listed here may help reinforce what you have learned.
Nora Stewart from "Easy Irish Dance" in Canberra, has recorded some basic videos of simple and not so simple footwork for Irish Set Dancing. She sells packages of videos to guide you in learning the footwork. [She is also a Sean Nos (freestyle) dancer so has additional videos deomnstrating the more complex stepwork seen by many of the older dancers from Ireland.]
Paul D. McGuigan developed some pages (in 1993!) that explain what your feet should be doing for simple Reels, Polkas, (down) Jigs, Slides and Hornpipes.
Paul's stepwork instructions specific to particular movements, such as Advance & Retire, housing, etc.
Paul also created step instructions specific to particular movements, such as Advance & Retire, Housing, etc.
For more information choose one of the categories below, or contact one of the teachers:
Newcastle Irish Set Dancers are part of the Newcastle and Hunter Valley Folk Club.