History of Irish Dance, California, Boston, Kansas City, Ireland

#19 – Irish Song and Recitation Festival at the Irish Roots Cafe

Todays Chat on the history of Irish Dance, with notes on
Berkeley, Southern California, Kansas City, Boston and Ireland. with Michael Collier:

Michael lives in Boston today but has been involved in Irish
dance on both coasts in America, as well as in the American

On the west coast
Mike mentions Larry Lynch and the revival of Irish dance
in the late 70’s or early 80’s…..the Starry Plough and the
Plough and Stars on the east coast…. Performance Ceili group…
Modern affectations like the wigs for dancers….  sets and ceili

dancing for the fun of it.  Southern California dancing in
houses, enthusiastic groups started up, old time American

Seems like half of the people are from Ireland !
Cork people and Galway people…. many more societies and
groups here by comparison. From 3 to 6 sets or so….peaked
it the late 90’s….. dancing now for 26 years and just beginning
to learn the really old dances

Kansas City
Fewer people, not a continuous tradition, more singers
and pub ballads, festivals going strong, ceilis are sparse….

Irish Dance Background
Dance in Ireland and changes in the last years…from
the French Quadrilles and the upper class, to the Irish
with their own steps and music.  Celtic revival in the
1890s with language and sports and dance…. sets were
not considered ‘Irish’…  First modern ceili invented…
the Irish Dance Commission, dances like Walls of Limerick
and Seige of Limerick.
The Irish Dance Hall Act…. the Parish Hall as center
of ceili dances…. A revival in the 70’s….. dance sets return.
Joe O’Donovan leads the revival… old versions salvaged
and several publications document the dances…

We end up here with the words Sean nos dancing and
singing…to be continued in the next show !

Listen to the Chat & Sing episodes here:


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About Your Host
The worlds most published author his field,  Mike
O’Laughlin  has written 40 books; edits 2 newsletters;
publishes the works of 10 Irish authors; and has
written over 700 articles. He also hosts three broadcast
series, including the first weekly podcast on Irish
Family History ever produced.

His works include a 34 book set on Irish Family
Research and classic reprints like  The Annals of Ireland
by the Four Masters.

About Mike

Mike is the worlds most published author in his field, with over 40 books, 700 articles, two newsletters, a blog, 200 podcasts and 170 videos. He also publishes rare books like "The Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters" and Keatings "History of Ireland". Mike also sings in the Irish (Gaeilge) Language, with 3 albums to his credit. Mike descends from the O’Loughlins of Kilfenora, County Clare, and the O’Donahues of Glenflesk, County Kerry and also bears Sullivan, Buckley, Kilmartin, Llewellyn and Kelliher roots. He has led tours to Ireland and maintains a 3,000 volume Irish library.
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