ARAN SET

 

Members of Newcastle Irish Set Dancers first danced the Aran Set at a workshop in November 1999 hosted by the Sydney Irish Ceili Dancers and taught by Patrick O'Dea. The instructions given here are those taught by Patrick at this workshop. Other published instructions for this dance include Pat Murphy's "Toss the Feathers" and Tom Quinn's "Irish Dancing" and on Volume 3 of the video series The Magic of Irish Set Dancing. Joe O'Hara has a version of this set online.

First Sides to the LeftFORMATION

Square Set of four couples, Gents on the left of their partners. 1st Top Couple have their backs to the band, with 2nd Top Couple opposite them. 1st Side Couple are on the left of 1st Top Couple (when facing into the set) and 2nd Side Couple are opposite them (to the right of 1st Tops).


FIGURE 1: REELS (160 BARS)

All Couples Lower promenade hold - Lead around anticlockwise + Turn towards Partner and face clockwise (Gents still inside) - Lead back + Finish with Gents backs to the centre facing Partner - Dance in place 16 bars
All Couples Swing in ceili hold 8 bars
All Couples Grand chain: Face Partner holding right arms - Dance in place + Chain around to place giving arms + Dance in place + Swing 24 bars
Top Couples Ladies chain: Right hands in the centre + Left hand to Opposite Gent turn under and both turn + Pass back right hands in the centre + Left hand to Partner and turn under while Gents face into set + Ladies pass behind Partner keeping left hands joined while Gents dance in place facing into set + Finish facing Partner 8 bars
Top Couples +
Side Couples
Top Couples Swing, while
Side Couples lower promenade hold - Dance across on right side of Opposite Couple turning Lady under two arms once clockwise [2 bars], then twice under Gent's right arm clockwise to Opposite place [4 bars] + Sides Dance in place facing into set
8 bars
Top Couples Waves: Cross hands - Slide in [Slide-together slide-together] swinging hands in and out in time with the feet [2 bars] + Slide out [2 bars] + Dance across anticlockwise turning Lady under two arms once clockwise [2 bars], then once under Gent's right arm [2 bars] + Repeat Waves back to place 16 bars
Top Couples +
Side Couples
Top Couples Swing, while
Side Couples dance across turning Lady under + Dance last two bars in place
8 bars
All Couples Grand chain + Swing 24 bars
Side Couples Ladies chain 8 bars
Side Couples +
Top Couples
Side Couples Swing, while
Top Couples dance across turning Lady under
8 bars
Side Couples Waves across and back 16 bars
Side Couples +
Top Couples
Side Couples Swing, while
Top Couples dance across turning Lady under
8 bars

 

FIGURE 2: REELS (296 BARS)

Top Couples Ladies chain as in Figure 1 + Gents Dance in place - Finish facing Partner + Swing 16 bars
1st Top Gent + 2nd Top Lady Dance around each other right shoulder to right finish with back to place [4 bars] + Turn anticlockwise once [2 bars] + Dance in place (in centre facing Opposite) [2 bars] + Swing Opposite + Dance back to Partner 16 bars
Top Couples Waves: Slide in, out and dance across 8 bars
Top Couples Right hand in right - First Tops make an arch and 1st Gent dancing into centre of set facing Couple on the right while 2nd Top Lady dances around him, under the arch and back to Partner [4 bars] + Turn Lady across to place (once under both arms + once under right arm) [4 bars] 8 bars
2nd Tops +
1st Tops
Swing while First Tops stand with Open waltz hold [6 bars] + Tops dance to centre + Pass 2nd Top Lady across to form line of three with 1st Top Gent (Ladies' hands on Gent's shoulders / Gent's hands around Ladies' waists) 8 bars
Top Couples Line of three and 2nd Top Gent - Retire + Advance twice 8 bars
Tops + Sides Top Couples - Little Christmas left (Ladies' hands on Gent's shoulders) / Side Couples - Swing in place 8 bars
Side Couples Repeat with 1st Sides leading 72 bars
Top Couples Repeat with 2nd Tops leading 72 bars
Side Couples Repeat with 2nd Sides leading 72 bars

 

FIGURE 3: POLKAS (88 BARS)

All Couples Join hands in a circle - Advance and retire twice + When retiring the second time turn to Corner person (Ladies right /Gents left) 8 bars
Corner Couples Waltz hold - Dance around two turns finishing in Lady's position (Gents move on 1 place left) 8 bars
All Couples Repeat three more times until Gents back in place: Circle - Advance and retire twice (turn to Corner on 2nd retire) + Dance around twice with Corner person ending in Lady's palce 48 bars
All Couples Circle - Advance and retire twice + Swing (ceili hold) 16 bars

 

REFERENCES

Murphy, Pat (1995). Toss the Feathers. Cork: Mercier Press. 56-57.

Quinn, Tom (1977). Irish Dancing. Glasgow: Harper Collins. 13-15.


Created: 28 March 2003 / Updated: 7 April 2003