May 212011
 

Irish Set dancing is a popular country folk-dance style from the 1800s. The “set” consists of four couples in a circle, resembling square dancing. The dance itself is typically composed of 4 to 6 figures, which are distinct movements danced to individual pieces of traditional Irish music. The movements in a figure are in a specific sequence and are danced in order. One set dance usually takes about 15 minutes to dance. Set dancing is not step dancing (as in Riverdance), which is a common misunderstanding, and is less formal than ceili dancing.

Set dancing is a lively, energetic form of dance and has a rigorous, aerobic quality. No prior experience necessary, nor a partner to participate — just a pair of smooth-soled shoes and a water bottle! Set dancing is a community-oriented dance ; couples swing, chain, house, hold hands – again, similar to square dancing and contra. Dancing can be magical and transforming. It’s a simple pleasure than can breathe new life into a tired soul, make a spirit soar, unleash creativity, unite generations and cultures, reduce stress, teach us to laugh, and turn sadness into joy. On a more physical level, dancing provides for a great mind-body workout. Research has shown that physical activity helps keep your body healthy, but the added advantage of dancing is that it requires you to remember dance steps and sequences, which boosts brain power and memory skills.

The class is for adults and is held Friday nights, 7-9PM, at the Durham Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, 20 Madbury Road, Durham, NH. Fee is $5/person. Please check website www.seacoastsetdancers.org to confirm class, as they sometimes have to make changes to venue when the hall is unavailable. The website also has video links and study notes so you can get an idea what set dancing looks like, plus directions, parking, and info on what to bring. Also, feel free to contact Sue Dunlavey for more information at 603-749-1038, sue@seacoastsetdancers.org.

Sue Dunlavey, Dover, NH – began set dancing in 2000. She has taken lessons from Frank & Denise Holt (Pearl River, NY), Brendan & Glenda Brown (Buffalo, NY), Timmy McCarthy (England), Patrick O’Dea (Ireland), Pat Branigan (NJ/Ireland), Bruce Olens (NJ), Bridie & John DalPizzal (NJ/Ireland), Tony Ryan (Ireland), Anne McCallum (Canada), Kathleen Collins (NY), Regina Delaney (Exeter), Padraig & Roisin McEneaney (Ireland), Aidan Vaughan (Ireland), and Mick Mulkerrin & Maraid Casey (Ireland). She has taught set dancing to both adults and teenagers in NJ and NH. Sue often attends monthly set dances/ceilis run by Comhaltas and the Ancient Hiberians in Boston, conventions and weekend workshops, local ceilis held in homes, and attends a week-long intensive set dancing class every year. Sue has participated in several set dancing demonstrations, typically around St Patrick’s Day. She has danced 90 different set dances in the time she has been dancing. Sue is a member of the Seacoast Irish Cultural Association.

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