The History of Irish Dance
While the actual origins of Irish dance are difficult to determine and widely debated, it is a fact that Irish dance has long been a prominent part of the Irish Culture for centuries. Some forms of Irish dance date back to the Druids and the Celts. The Druids were Pagans that used various dances to perform religious rituals, while the Celts would perform folk dances. Both forms of dancing could be seen during special occasions and religious celebrations. When local celebrations were held within the communities, the concept of the “feis” began. These gatherings were held to celebrate music, dance, art, politics, sports, and story telling. Today, a “feis” is held for solo and group competitors where performers compete for medals and trophies. Over time, Irish dance was influenced by other cultures such as the Normans, and evolved into three forms of modern day Irish dance: social dancing (céilí and set dancing), step dancing, and seán-nós. Due to Riverdance, step dancing has become the most popular of the three groups of modern Irish dance.
For more specific information on the History of Irish dance, check out the following webpages:
A short History of Irish Dance: http://www.bbc.co.uk/irish/articles/view/741/english/
The History of Irish Dance/Celtic Steps: https://www.celticsteps.ie/our-story/the-history-of-irish-song-music-dance/
The History of Irish Dance: http://www.irelandseye.com/dance.html
Irish Dancing: The History and What it is Today: http://explore.blarney.com/irish-dancing-history-today/