What is Irish dancing and why is it so popular?
Over eighty million people in the world claim to have Irish heritage. So it’s no wonder that Irish dancing, the traditional dance form of Ireland, is so popular, not just amongst Irish communities scattered across the continents, but in countries as far afield as Japan, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and in at an ever growing rate in Eastern Europe.
A network of Irish dancers and their teachers span the globe, regularly meeting to compete, share knowledge and enjoy this rich culture. Focused primarily on footwork, Irish dancing is performed either individually (step dancing) or by teams (céilí and set dancing), and accompanied by traditional Irish music played on a variety of instruments, such as accordion, piano, fiddle, flute or banjo.
Timing and rhythm are of utmost importance and it is the intricate and fast paced footwork that has captured the imagination of the world outside of the Irish community. This mixture of rhythmic footwork and lively music is sure to set toes tapping, wherever they are heard!! Catapulted onto the international stage by shows such as Riverdance and Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance, Irish dancing is an exciting and ever evolving dance form, with a long history and a strong sense of tradition.
Of course an Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha, the organisation first conceived as a Commission of Enquiry in the late twenties, and established as an authority in 1930 to promote and foster all forms of Irish dance, has played a huge part in this fast growing and unique art form, as it continues to raise the standards to ever increasing heights through renowned competitions such as Oireachats Rince na hÉireann and Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne.