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There was a time in Ireland when the British attempted to eradicate all things Irish. They prohibited the Irish language, all Irish sports, Irish education for children, the Catholic religion, Irish music, and Irish dancing. These prohibitions simply sent many Irish customs underground. Irish musical instrument were banned and so parents taught their children to tap out the rhythms with their feet. During this time, Irish dancing underwent a change: the emphasis was on the feet and the hands stayed straight at the side. If anyone happened to look into the house, it didn’t look like dancing for the arms weren’t moving. Today in the United States, Irish dancing is very popular with many Irish dance schools for children.

According to the Tiernan Irish Dancers:

Traditional Irish dancing is tightly choreographed and all attention is directed to the speed and accuracy of the footwork, the spacing of the ensemble, and the precision of the dancers’ movements. The dancers’ arms are held tightly to their sides. Dances are performed in hard shoes (jig shoes) and soft shoes (ghillies) with steps set to traditional reels, jigs and hornpipes. Hard shoe dances, or step dances, are noted for the thunderous beat from the tap-like shoes. In soft-shoe dances, the dancers execute small jumps, quick beats and ankle-twisting crossover steps. These dances are traditionally performed wearing wool costumes adorned with handmade lace and Celtic embroidery.
The Tiernan Irish Dancers in Buttte and Helena, Montana, is a sister school of the Trinity Irish Dancers in Chicago. Classes are offered for children in grades four through high school. Shown below are photographs of the Tiernan Irish Dancers performing at An Rí Rá, an Irish Festival in Butte.

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Welcome to Street Prophets Saturday. This is an open thread, so feel free to vent about anything that’s on your mind.

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Originally posted to Street Prophets on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 01:06 PM PDT.

Also republished by Pink Clubhouse, Shamrock American Kossacks, and Shutterbugs.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My niece was in (10+ / 0-)

    international dance competitions.  Hate to say her hips were shot before she was 30.  Her mom (my deceased sister) made all of her costumes.  The needle work is stunning.  Amazing Celtic knots.

    Thanks for the diary and happy Saturday, Ojibwa.  Forwarding this diary to my Mom.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 01:13:49 PM PDT

  •  Beautiful Shots. The Pac NW Is Very Ireland-Like (12+ / 0-)

    though perhaps a shade warmer, even up into Puget Sound.

    But the legendary "mizzle" weather that dominates much of the year other than summer --moister than mist, drier than drizzle-- and the northern light colors are a perfect home for the dance.

    I've played for contest dancing a number of times but it's nerve wracking as they demand very precise tempos. They got into a phase of placing metronomes before the musicians and demanding we kept absolutely onto every beat, and that's where I packed it in.

    It's more fun playing for the social ("ceili") dancing. Irish and Scots love their wild tunes, which are typically 45-90 seconds long and therefore woven into sets to make the 2-5 minutes or so needed for a dance. A well chosen change of mood or musical key even when the tunes themselves may be players' favorites that aren't particularly known, can draw a room full of yips and hoots.

    It's hard for any other kind of crowd response anywhere to beat that kind of love when you're a player. But in fairness, the symphony players have to work sober.

    Here's a short example though it's not with dancing. This is reel solo by a recent button accordion champion, trophy at his side, I'm guessing he's known, maybe local. There's a tune change with a rather unusual chord transition partway in and the crowd response says it all.

    The player's staring at the ceiling; the stage presence is all in the fingers but who needs more?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 01:29:54 PM PDT

  •  Love Irish Dance (6+ / 0-)

    I would love to be able to do Irish step dancing but with the arthritis and torn tendons it probably wouldn't be a good move for me.

    Dealing with car issues again. Last night the brake lights refused to go off. I ended up having to take the bulbs out so the battery wouldn't die. Got it into the shop and they fixed some things but discovered the tires I bought right before leaving Indiana were garbage and need to be replaced. One tire had already blown out and the other three are on the verge of blowing out. And my radiator has a crack in it and needs to be replaced. So I take it back Tuesday afternoon for more work. Sigh!

    In trying to get the smoking hot light bulbs out one of the slipped and left a second degree burn on my arm. Of course it picked the arm with the severe tendinitis.

    Sometimes I feel like sneaking away from everything for a few months. I felt like that when I made this picture called Shore of Dreams.

    Shore of Dreams photo ShoreofDreams2_zps0fe49427.jpg

    "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

    by michelewln on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 02:34:04 PM PDT

  •  I love to watch Irish Dancing. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ojibwa, carolanne, Joe Jackson

    Of course I don't have the air for that kind of thing any more, and I'd probably trip and fall on my face, but it's fun to watch LOL. Thanks for the diary, lovely pictures too!

    I'm all out of spoons at the moment, Caedy is making dinner. And my back keeps trying to lock up, so I probably only have one more trip up the stairs and I'm stuck up there the rest of the night. The cat ate all my spoons. She's been spraying/marking everything today. I'm wondering if it isn't the new cat the neighbor got who likes to sleep in our yard. But I had to take everything off my other half's desk and scrub it down, the living room table (twice) and the kitchen counter, including all the spices and jars. I'm about ready to shut her in the bathroom with her litter box for a while. Of course then she'd get really pissed at me and go on a rampage when she gets out.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 03:07:42 PM PDT

    •  Tires.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, state of confusion

      We have gone through lots of tire problems this summer. First, the sidewall on one of the duals in the motorhome blew out which meant two new tires (significantly more expensive than car tires).

      Then we had to take the tow car in for expansive work and as we picked it up the mechanic asked: "Are you going to tow that back to Montana?" When we said "yes," his response was "I won't tow it that far--the sidewalls on the tires are about to go." So, four more tires.

      Then there was last Sunday...., but that's another repair story for another time.

      Sometimes life's flow is not gentle.

  •  Thank you, ojibwa. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, Ojibwa, FloridaSNMOM

    I'm learning things from several diaries today, and the reason why the hands are kept to the sides in Irish dancing is one of them. I didn't know, and (sorry to say) never bothered to find out. I thought the dancing was exciting and wonderful, but the impulse to raise one's hands and arms while dancing seemed so natural, it seemed strange, if beautiful.

    Thanks again.

  •  Nothing quite like great "steppers", thanks. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, Ojibwa, FloridaSNMOM, Parthenia
  •  those majestic mountains (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    are midwestern for sure.  

    The costumes are great.  I used to do this; but as someone up stream indicated, my joints aren't so happy about those dances anymore.

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