Comprising of “accurate feet movements” is a European dance style known as the Irish step dance. This “traditional” dance is said to have originated from Ireland, and can be performed by a single dancer or in a group. Furthermore, there are many competitions held internationally for this dance form. In addition, apart from elaborate feet movements, this dance style is also known for the use of colourful costumes. Sometimes, performers of this dance style may also use curled wigs as a part of the costume.
A. History/origin of the Irish step dance:
According to the Irish cultural history, this dance is supposed to have been created in the country during the Pre-Christian era. Furthermore, the author of Culture and customs of Ireland also states that this dance was first developed in the year 1897. He also states that the rules for international step dancing (also known as Feiseanna) have been formed as a result of innovative thinking. In addition, it was in the 19th century that this dance style became popular throughout the world due to heavy migration of the Irish community. However, it was not until the beginning of the 19th century that schools and competitions (i.e. feiseannas) were organized. It is also said that in the United States of America that schools and feiseannas were mainly established within urban Irish-American communities.
B. Costumes used in the Irish step dance:
The costumes worn in this dance style by the performers varies according to the gender as follows:\
1. For men:
The attire worn includes a simple shirt, tie, a waist jacket, and a pair of either hard or soft shoes.
2. For ladies:
The attire worn includes a dance skirt, plain blouse, black tights, pair of poodle socks, and a pair of either hard or soft shoes.
C. Music involved in the Irish step dance:
The musical instruments usually include the fiddle, tin whistle, flute, Uileann pipes, button accordion, and the concertina.
D. Training availability and technique involved in the Irish step dance:
In terms of technique, this dance involves the use of quick and accurate feet movements. In addition, the dancer’s upper body remains stiff during a performance. Furthermore, this style of dancing divided into two categories that include:
- Solo step dance: In which a single dancer performs.
- Group step dance: In which two or more dancers combine to perform.
As for training centers/schools, there are number available around the world for all those interested in learning this unique Irish “traditional” dance style.