From the mists of time, music and dance have intertwined throughout the lives of the Celts, making it impossible to separate them from their culture. It has become so integrated into the Celtic people they have become a way to preserve their identity through troubled times.
Ceilidh (pronounced Kay-lee) dances started out as, and many still are, gatherings in people’s homes. Family, friends, and neighbours got together to play music, sing, dance, and read poetry. This was a way to keep the bardic traditions alive, especially when those in power suppressed them. Eventually, these gatherings grew too large, so they moved to the village hall. Now some ceilidhs are held on a regular basis.
Ceilidhs are a celebration and are organized for a variety of reasons, such as weddings, births, historical events like the crofters being able to repurchase their land from the English Laird, or just because people feel like gathering and playing music and dancing. At a ceilidh, if someone wants to get up and sing a song or recite a poem, everyone respectfully listens, and that, too, is part of the tradition that goes back to ancient times.
No matter where a ceilidh is held or for what reason, they are always lively events with live music and vigorous dancing.
This workshop offers a choice of three simple Scottish ceilidh dances. The Circassian Circle, an effortless mixer dance for a many as will; two versions of Strip the Willow, the Orcadian (Shetland), and Highland, a longways dance for as many as will; and The Flying Scotsman, a longways dance for groups of eight.