Irish Set Dancing - Greater Seattle Area
Irish set dance is a popular form of folk dancing in Ireland. Set dances are based on quadrilles which were court dances. They were transformed by the Irish into a unique folk dance of the Irish rural communities.
A "set" refers to the four couples that create a square formation for the dance and it also refers to the collection of 4 - 6 "figures" that represent a particular dance. Set dances are found throughout Ireland. The dances tend to be named after the village or region of origin.
The dance figures of a particular set usually have a common theme or structure. The figures tend to begin and end with repeated parts that everyone dances and then during the figure each couple or pair of couples will dance separately. Movement in the figures closely resembles contra dance. The types of music for the figures are reels, jigs, polkas, and hornpipes.
In the Seattle area, monthly dances are held at Shawn O'Donnell's American Grill & Irish Pub in Fremont. Live music is played at every dance! Instruction is provided by caller Jim Belcher and other members of the Puget Sound branch. See the table below for dates, times, and additional info.
Admission is free. Donations are encouraged to support the musicians and the Puget Sound branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (organization promoting Irish music, dance, and song).
To see a three minute example of a figure performed at a Seattle area dance including a sample of the live music, view https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ID368yGGxE