This evening we started with small numbers, but ended up convincing some of the guys who play basketball outside to join us. (We spied them imitating the dance in the doorway, so we invited them in, and it didn’t take much to persuade them!)
We had fiddler Mike Evans in the house again this week, this time playing reels for the Bonfire céili dance. This is a good dance for social interaction, as you move around the circle and dance with a new partner every time. The figures are a bit more complicated than those we’ve done in previous dances, and the circular nature of the dance was also new.
Trivia: the Bonfire is the only céili dance that has a figure named after a flower: the “rose,” when the ladies go in the center and gents stay on the outside circle, and then vice versa. When on the outside circle, the “book” (that is, Ár Rincí Fóirne) states that the dancers should wait in a pose with the left hand on the left hip and the right foot pointed forward with knee slightly bent. However, the boys got a little more creative. They decided to add some “vogue” poses every 2 bars, and I think I saw some Latin dance moves in there too.
I had come straight to the Irish dance class from a masquerade dance rehearsal with Montserrat’s Ladies of Alliouagana troupe. It is interesting to see how similar the quadrille formations are to céili dancing, and they also feature a one-two-three step. However, instead of hopping and standing erect and upright, the step is more of a shuffle with an emphasis down rather than up, and the posture is slightly bent over. We went through 5 quadrilles, one after the other, with lots of hooked arms, ladies chains, and arch-like formations. Not to mention the famous heel-and-toe step that is supposedly related to the Irish polka!
It was a wonderful (sweaty!) evening of blended rhythms, going from Montserratian to Irish dancing 🙂