Clarification on Ceilí dances for competition

The Music and Dance Committee was asked to review all the Ceili dances for competitive purposes. Please find clarification of some Ceili dances in which questions were asked. This is strictly for competitive purposes and not for exams. The words natural flow is used frequently which refers to Ceili being danced in competition and the dance moving naturally as opposed to bar to bar. Movements in Ceili dances are intended to flow naturally. Although numbers of bars may be specified in Ár Rince Céilí, the natural flow and rhythm of the dance takes precedence over strict compliance with the written breakdown of bars.

8-Hand Reel

Extended Sides – partners must take hands before turning into place at the end of the movement.

Teams are not allowed to turn into own place and then take right hand of partner.

Ár Rincí Céilí states “All chain back towards own place to meet partner with right hand and turn into own place.”

Skip Across – natural flow is allowed - please note in Ár Rincí Céilí Skip Across: states –Different Turns, Full, Full, Full, Half.

Return Chain: Change from old book - meet partner at opposite side of set, take right hand, make half turn on the 8th bar.

Back to Back – natural flow is allowed – change from old book Ár Rincí Céilí states: you must sidestep on ‘left Foot’ when gents return to partner they take right hand in right to turn into own place.

Cross Reel

Extended Sides – partners must take hands before turning into place - same as in the 8 Hand Reel

Full Chain – natural flow is allowed – There should not be more then one pause. The natural flow would suggest a pause before moving onto the second 8 bars.

Gents Interlace – natural flow is allowed

Back to Back - Ár Rincí Céilí states: must sidestep on “Left Foot” and when returning to own place “No hands are taken of Partner”. All turn clockwise to get into own place.

Exchange Places – Ár Rincí Céilí states that it is danced with continuous sevens – it is allowed to have a jump in between the sevens

Second Figure Circle Round & Hands Across - Ár Rincí Céilí states: forward & backward or all forward. Threes are acceptable in the first 4 bars.

8-Hand Jig

Skip across – Change from the old book - Ár Rincí Céilí states First 2 bars changed to – the four gents move off together. Each gent allows gent on his left to pass before him. – Ár Rincí Céilí states – Turns: Full, Half, Half, Full.

Swing into Line

Ár Rincí Céilí deleted – the 2 bars at start of movement.
Explains up to 8 bars.
When performing Rise & Grind step - Holding of hands in the two lines are optional. Last “4 bars” states – you must take right hand of partner to turn into own place.

2nd Figure (Combination) – must be performed in accordance with Ár Rincí Céilí - i.e. gent does a full turn

On completion of Right & Left Chain both couples make a full turn, then the two gents pass each other in centre, passing each other right shoulder diagonally to opposite lady.
When the two gents meet in centre they link right arms.

When returning to place the gents take right hand of partner to turn into own place.

St. Patrick’s Day

Sides – At the end of the seven, dancers must perform 1,2,3,4’s (Up hop back hop 1/2/3/4 must be completed and not dropping the 4).

Half Left and Right – This is a name change -

Gents pass left shoulder to left. Ladies pass right shoulder to right. Turning into new and own place - Gent turn anticlockwise, Ladies turn clockwise

Extended Sides –partners must take hands before turning into place - same as in the 8 Hand Reel

Full Chain – Pauses are not allowed

The Finish – Lead Around: deleted the swing for the last “4 bars”.

Trip to the Cottage

Cross Over & Lead Around – On the last bar before the start of the body, the two side ladies are allowed to move into diagonal lines.


Diagonal Lines and Rings - Please note that when the two circles are sidestepping to the left - Ár Rincí Céilí states - the two side gents sidestep to right to get into circle.

End of Body – last 8 bars states- Swing Around - Forward and Backward movement is not allowed while swinging.
Ár Rincí Céilí States – swinging on the same or opposite foot to partner is acceptable.

1st Figure name included: Arched & Rings – Crossed or uncrossed hands is acceptable for last 4 bars.

2nd Figure – Name included: Advance, Retire and Cross Over

High Cauled Cap

Ladies and Gents Interlace – the breakdown of the 16 bars to complete the movement as stipulated in Ár Rincí Céilí, however the borrowing of bars is allowed in this movement allowing the natural flow.

Stamp & Clap - performing movement to return to place Ladies stamp on “Left Foot” Gents stamp on “Right Foot”.

1st Figure name included: Sidestep and Dance Through
2nd Figure Circle and Cross: on the 8th & 9th bars both couples make a full turn before passing left shoulder to left on to opposite lady to take left hand.

Sweets of May - Its in Single Jig Time – correct sheet music shown at end of book.
Ár Rincí Céilí States – both ordinary threes or skip threes are acceptable. No mixing of threes.

The opening movement is Ring: this is no longer a Figure.
2nd Figure: changed to 1st Figure
3rd Figure: changed to 2nd Figure
4th Figure: changed to 3rd Figure.

Three Tunes - The sheet music of the three tunes are located at back of book.
Movement no 1 – name changed to: Ring
Movement no 2 & 8 - name changed to: Ladies & Gents Ring
Movement no 5 - See-Saw - Ár Rincí Céilí states – movement of arms up and down is not allowed.
The promenade step on same foot or opposite foot to partner is acceptable.

Movement no 6 & 12 - Roly Poly: note – the change in how gents perform the raising of the fists and stamp; Footwork is slightly different (This is how it was originally danced)

Ár Rincí Céilí States – a lead turn to the right has been added for the Ladies. Gents stamps right & left foot moving forward (don’t bring foot back to place) Note – on stamps – stamp right, left and right, while turning towards partner or the ladies.

Hook & Chain – At the end of the movement - Same as extended sides (must take hand first then turn in place)

Movement no 11 - Thread the Needle: end of 1st 8 bars states - Lady of 1st tops goes under her own arch. End of 2nd 8 bars states - Gent of 1st sides goes under his own arch.

Movement no 13 - Ring: added 1st movement

Gates of Derry

Formation: both diagrams acceptable.
Summary - ordinary simple threes only acceptable.
Movement no 2 - The Gates - explained correctly. Sidestep to gents right (all gents)

Movement no 6- Telescope: explained differently
Movement no 7: name changed to Right & Left Hands Across

Movement no 8 - Swing Around states; couples having changed lines
2nd repeat changed to - opening movement - omitted same as 1st repeat. Read the note at the end of the Dance.

Lannigan’s Ball

Note: at Feisanna this dance is danced as an Eight Hand – which is acceptable and is noted in the summary.

Ring – Hands down is acceptable
Movement 2 - Quarter’s Hook – Four Links (not a change – just note)

Movement 4 - Lead around in Centre – States – Ladies ‘Turn’ Right and Gents ‘ Turn’ Left. Ár Rincí Céilí reads at the end of the movement couples finish in own place. There are teams who have the gent in the center facing their partner. That is acceptable.

Movement 5 - Flirtation - states: Uncrossed Hands

Movement 6 - Stack up - states: Uncrossed Hands


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