Your Best Dance Point

A Glimpse of Irish Dance History

Dance has always and will always be one of the best forms of free expression for people. There are a lot of smaller groups of people who specialize and patronize a certain kind of dance. On a larger scale, countries have their own general cultural dance and it is a type of dance that is unique to them. A country’s national dance can be representative of the creativity and joyfulness of the people.


Ireland is known for their step dance and tap dancing. The Jig is a folk dance that also originated from the Irish. While these forms of dance are available and are practiced in other parts of the world, step dance and tap dance are believed to have originated from Ireland. The Irish seem to have perfected this dance and they can indeed say that this is their dance after all. Here is a brief glimpse of how Irish step dance has influenced a country that truly embraces its history and cultivates it love for the art.


It has been said the earliest form of this dance were done by Druids. But at that time, the dance was not an expression of art, but rather a part of a religious expression with reverence to the great oak tree and the sun. During the twelfth century, Norman customs began to spread throughout Ireland because of the Anglo-Norman invasion. Called ‘Carol’, it was a popular dance that was sung in Irish towns that had been conquered.


The dancers were also observed to use handkerchiefs as their prop when dancing. They are formed in two straight lines which suggests that this is also the old form of the long dance. During the sixteenth century, the same major type of dance was still being performed for the royalties. The peasants dance also came to life and both forms are being considered to be the forerunners of the current Irish dance. There were other varieties of the dance including slow dancing and other tunes with upbeat tempos that are played whenever the king has parties in the castle.


The use of bagpipes was also introduced and the instrument played a key role in Irish celebrations including festivities and weddings as well as other rituals and rites such as wakes.


Dancing is one of a country’s great traditions and gives a sense of ownership and expertise in the arts. Irish tap dancing and step dancing are two of the most popular dances even in other parts of the world. People who see these dances are really amazed because of its uniqueness and the beat that makes people want to jump out of their seats. The techniques are complicated as well so dance competitions are made more challenging when these dances are introduced. So next time you see people tap dancing on TV or doing the step dance, you can better appreciate and maybe even learn and explore more about the dance that has been the source of entertainment for so many people for so many decades.