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Intro to Irish Set Dancing

September 12 @ 7:25 pm - 8:25 pm

Intro to Irish Set Dance (with Live Music!)
Held at the Garden Home Rec Center
Thursdays Sept 12th – Nov 14th, 7:25-8:25 pm (No class on Halloween!)
Ages 13 – Adult

Register at www.thprd.org
*Course Number GH21522*
Cost: $81 In District, $101.25 Out of District
NO DROP-INS (Sorry—Park and Rec Insurance Issue)

Nancy Jarrell
Janet Trygstad
Alexandria Hailey, Externship

Learn basic steps, movements (figures), rhythms (timing), background and history that will have you joining in the sets in the festivals and country pubs of Ireland! (Not to mention some of the Irish pubs around here!)

Irish Set Dancing, “The Kitchen Dancing” of Ireland, has been around for generations. A “set” looks similar to a “square” in American Square Dance, in that the formation is 4 couples facing each other in a square.

Sets and half-sets were danced in the country farmhouses when neighbors gathered together at harvest time, “American wakes”, “joins”, or for no reason at all, other than the urge to play music and dance. While house dances still take place in some parts of Ireland, the majority of set dancing and ceili dancing is now done in halls at regular monthly ceilis, festivals and annual local gatherings. (This information drawn from the site http://www.ceili.ie/)

The Ballyvourney Jig Set
The Connemara Set

As you can see, this is NOT Riverdance or high-stepping competition dancing, but a dance you can enjoy from youth to old age.

Bring leather-soled shoes if you have them, or shoes with a sole that lets you glide around the floor. (We can show examples of what works at the first class.)

You don’t need to show up with a partner, but are welcome to bring one (and the more the merrier.) Students will be invited to set dancing opportunities in the community, and depending on interest, we hope to adjourn after class for refreshments at a local Irish Pub.

Both instructors are founding board members of of Mícheál Ó’Domhnaill Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann of Oregon (CCE Oregon), who co-sponsors this class.

Nancy Jarrell has called set and ceili dances at weddings and other private events and at Cascadia Irish Music Camp in Olympia, WA. She has set danced on the performance stage at Folklife and performed with The Maldon Meehan Dancers. Lucky to have experienced set dancing at Willie Clancy Week in Miltown Malbay, Ireland, she has learned as well from local Portland set dancers, Maldon Meehan, as well as visiting dancing masters from abroad. Other dance forms Nancy has dabbled in include ballet, tap, Cape Breton Step, Irish Step, Irish Seannos, American Clogging, Tango, Scandinavian Dance, Swing and Ballroom. She plays fiddle in (the local!) Unusual Suspects Ceili Band.

Janet Trygstad performs and organizes Wild Rose Garland English Garland Dance performances at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR. She wrote a book on Garland Dances complete with history, sheet music, CD, and dance instructions. She is a member of the Portland Country Dance and Song Society, Heather and Rose Scottish Society and English Dancers, Portland Country Dance Community, and a former member of Portland Ceili Society. She serves currently as Folk Dance Specialist and teacher at Willow Brook Center for the Creative Arts in Tualatin, where she choreographs and develops Dance Curriculum of World Origin for students aged 3-18, and creates and executes a Cumulative Dance Performance each year in collaboration with other dance teachers and staff. Janet is an avid Irish Set Dancer and recently experienced The Atlantic Way Set Dance Weekend in Bantry, Cork, Ireland.

Alexandria Hailey is an accomplished and enthusiastic Irish step and ceili dancer and teacher of young children through adults who instructs many Irish dance classes for Garden Home Rec Center and who is adding set dancing to her areas of expertise.


September 12
7:25 pm - 8:25 pm


Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Mícheál Ó Domhnaill Branch of Oregon


Garden Home Rec Center
7475 SW Oleson Rd
Portland, OR 97223 United States
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