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ghillieshard shoes. Thank you for your attention
I’m sure each of you has heard this kind of music and everybody has seen bright and exciting Irish dancing. And today I would like to say some words about this traditional dance.
Like a lot of Ireland’s history, there is little recorded information on the origins of Irish dancing.
When the Gaels arrived in Ireland they brought a new culture along with their own customs, which had some form of dancing. It is believed the Celts used dancing as а part of religious rituals. The Celts had a great influence over today’s Irish dancing, for example, with their Celtic designs.
The history of Irish dance has been shaped over the centuries by many invasions of Ireland. Each invader brought something new to modern Irish dance.
Irish dancing or Irish dance can be of different kinds. They can be danced either by several couples or by large groups of 16 people. There can be also solo dances. Today, jigs, reels, hornpipes, sets, half sets, polkas and step dances are all performed. Solo dancing or step dancing first appeared at the end of the eighteenth century. Irish step dancers wear their hair curly for all of their performances.
Irish step dancing is a form of dance characterized by a stiff, straight torso and sharp, quick foot movements. It is usually performed to lively music played by bagpipes.
The Irish dance dress, as we know it today did not come into being until the twentieth century.
It was usually just a girls “Sunday best”. In the early days dance dresses were long and heavy. They also wore whalebone corsets. It was too hard to move in a dance. Moreover the weather in Ireland was usually on the cool side so another item of clothing was a heavy wool cloak or “brat”. The cloak also had a hood. These came in many different colors. Black, blue, grey were used. Red was the most popular colour until the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. A cloak was very warm to dance in. By the end of the nineteenth century the traditional cloak was shortened. And the hood was cut off too. Today the girls doing Irish step dancing wear dresses performances often in bright colors. Many are in Celtic symbols. They are much shorter than the dress from the old days. Each school of dancing has its own distinct dancing costume.
As to boys, their outfit is simplier in design. Kilts were introduced for boys after World War I. The kilt costumes were worn with jackets in contrasting colors and knee socks. By the 1930’s almost all male Irish dancers in Ireland wore a kilt and Irish tweed jacket. The most popular colors for a kilt were saffron and green.
Only boys wear the kilts. Boys doing Irish dance wear either long black pants or kilts.
Either boys or girls wear the same shoes. There are two types of shoes; soft shoes (also known as ghillies) and hard shoes.
The first hard shoes had wooden or leather taps with metal nails. This way a dancer could get better sound with their beats. Some dancers use to pound many nails into the toe piece for better sound. These Irish step dance shoes are worn by both men and women for what are called the heavy dances.
The soft shoes are black lace-up shoes. Ghillies are only worn by girls, while boys wear black leather shoes called "reel shoes", which resemble black jazz shoes with a hard heel. There are two kinds of Irish step dance shoes, the soft shoe and the hard shoe, depending on the type of dance being performed.
There isn’t any special hair styles for the boys. They wear whatever is currently popular.
Girls tend to dance with long hair. They love the ringlet curls, which is usually warn with a head dress. Each member of the group all wear the same costumes and hairstyle, this gives a very uniformed polish look to the performance.It makes it seem like the dancer is lifting higher in the air when the curls bounce.
Today there are many organisations promoting Irish dance. Children, teenagers and adults compete in separate competitions for titles and prizes. The World Championships are held in Dublin at Easter where dancers from England, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand compete for the World title.
Today there are many opportunities to watch and enjoy Irish dancing.
Thank you for your attention.