What in the World is a Ceili?

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Its a dance! You know all those fancy coordinated dances you see in Jane Austen films? Think that but more jumping lively. Think lines of partners spinning people and dosey-doeing and the like. Now imagine all that happening with people who just learned the dance combinations in about 3 minutes and you'll have an accurate picture of my Saturday night.

So how did I end up at such an event? Well I am aided and abetted in finding interesting and slightly unusual (at least for this Canadian) events by my little expat cohort in Greenwich. Everyone has been really keen this month to come up with things to do. I think I'm not the only one coming out of a winter hibernation. So I've got a pretty packed schedule of shows and events for the next month. One of the girls turned up this dance event in honour of St. Patrick's day. Despite having only the vaguest of ideas about what this might be like, I figured why not?
Now I have to admit I was a bit wary of what this would entail. When I heard Irish folk dance, at first I had some bad flashes of River-dance. Lots of bobbing up and down in place. Rest assured you will not look like river dance. It was actually really fun and pretty social since. Most of the dances required getting into groups of 4 or 6 pairs so we managed to meet a few other people. And with everyone at the dance being solidly in the amateur category, we were all muddling through it together. Be prepared to really move though. I didn't really know how energetic all those dances would be. We were all exhausted afterwards and everyone had sore legs the next day.
If you are game to try out a Ceili, I have some tips for you before you go:
  1. Wear good flat shoes. Ones that you feel comfortable jumping around in and don't hurt your feet. While my little black boots were okay during the evening, my feet have really paid for the experience the last few days.
  2. Dress to stay cool. While Ceili in no way requires workout gear (you don't need to really move that freely), but you will get moving and we were all feeling really warm after a few dances.
  3. Know your right from your left and your clockwise from your counter-clockwise. If this is a challenge for you (and it is for me... especially the clockwise thing), you will need to be prepared to bump into many, many people. Luckily, you won't be the only one so its not too embarrassing.
With that you are all prepared to go out out and do some jigging, kick-stepping and swing your partner round. Enjoy!


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