Upcoming Classes Celebrate Irish Music & Dance

Irish Set Dancing in Open House near the Folk School Vegetable Garden

Do you love the sounds of Irish music? Do you dream of playing a reel or dancing a jig? We have some great upcoming classes to immerse you in the spirit of Ireland! Gain confidence to join in the fun of traditional Irish music and dance in your community and abroad.

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day is the wildly fun weekend class, Irish Set Dancing. If you are familiar with American square dancing, Irish set dancing is like the Celtic cousin waving from across the Atlantic. Both Irish set dancing and square dancing are descendants of quadrilles, so they are a little similar. Jim Morrison is an excellent teacher who will break down the moves and figures patiently and clearly. The music is jumpin’ and lively and will keep you in the St. Patty’s spirit for the rest of March.

Anglo concertina (left), bodhrán (right)

Two upcoming music classes,  Get a Good Start on Concertina! and Bodhrán: Intro to Irish Drumming will introduce you to an Irish instrument, even if you are a complete beginner. Like an accordion, a concertina is a bellow-driven, free reed instrument. The Anglo concertina (which is shaped like a hexagonal box with buttons) is the specific instrument Aaron Olwell will be teaching in his class. Students will learn to play melodies and chords and to learn tunes by ear. A bodhrán (pronounced bow-rawn) is a handheld drum beaten with a tipper, a short wooden stick. The bodhrán is always played vertically, resting on the musician’s knee. Instructor Andrew Kruspe will focus on instrument background and practical application, giving student a good balance of historical and cultural, along with lots of playing time. Both classes cover fundamentals, Irish rhythms, and will give you the confidence to join in a beginning Irish music session in your town.

Fiddling in the Music Studio

Already play the fiddle and looking to expand your repertoire to include Irish tunes and rhythms? Tom Morley’s intermediate weekend class, Irish Fiddle: Intro to Fun Irish Trad Tunes, will provide the tools, skills, and tip to play Irish-style music. We also have a Folk Harp Gathering week-long class led by Lorinda Jones & Sue Richards geared toward continuing and intermediate harpists who want to gather, share, play and learn together. This class is during Scottish Heritage Week, but this beautiful, fairytale-like sounding instrument has its roots in ancient Celtic culture, trickling down to both Scottish and Irish cultures.

Continue reading Upcoming Classes Celebrate Irish Music & Dance

Around the Keith House with Irish Set Dancing

I took this photo from the Rock of Cashel in Ireland. On this trip I actually had the confidence to jump in a dancefloor and do what I learn in Irish Set Dancing at the Folk School. It was magical!
I took this photo from the Rock of Cashel in Ireland. On this trip, I had the confidence to jump into a community dance and practice what I learned in Irish Set Dancing at the Folk School. It was magical!
Irish Set Dancing in the Community Room
Irish Set Dancing in the Community Room

The last time Irish Set Dancing was offered at the Folk School, I decided to sign up to try something new. I love to dance and I am half Irish in the ancestry department, so I thought it would be a good match. As a beginner to the style, I didn’t know what to expect, so the anticipation built as I walked into the Community Room on Friday night. What happened for the next 12 or so waking hours was joy, revelry, laughter, community and fun!

If you are familiar with American Square Dancing at all, Irish Set dancing is like the distant Celtic relative waving at you from across the Atlantic. Both Irish Set Dancing and Square Dancing derive from quadrilles, so they are a little similar. Jim Morrison is an excellent teacher who will break down the moves and figures patiently and clearly. The music is jumpin’ and lively and keep you in the St. Patty’s spirit for the rest of March.

Jim's Irish Set Dancing class takes advantage of the nice weather and dances in Open House, our open air pavilion, by the garden.
Jim’s Irish Set Dancing class takes advantage of the nice weather and dances in Open House, our open air pavilion, by the garden.

Irish Set Dancing
Jim & Owen Morrison (March 20-22 Weekend)

The border between counties Cork and Kerry witnessed the rise of a unique style of Irish music and dance. Here polkas and slides still dominate the dance tune repertoire, and musicians trace their roots to music masters Padraig O’Keefe or Tom Billy Murphy, active a century ago. The dances are descendants of the 19th-century polka quadrille. They are fast-paced, exciting, and so easy to pick up that you’ll leave the weekend able to show a set to an unsuspecting group of friends. Register on our website.

 

Watch a video of an Irish Set Dancing Class Performance at Show and Tell: