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What are some of the most common Irish dances?

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Quick Answer

Common types of Irish dancing include ceili and set dancing, step dancing, and Sean-nos. These are traditional dances which are distinguished by their own set of characteristics.

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Ceili and set dancing are both social dance styles. The former is often performed in a line or circle formation with many dancers and is set to traditional Irish instruments at a fast pace. Set dancing has four pairs of couples who perform fast-paced choreography, such as jigs. Set dancing originates from various parts of Ireland.

Step dancing, which is typically performed in formal settings, focuses primarily on the body movements of the dancer with emphasis on holding the upper body rigid and quickly moving the feet in exact positions. This was popularized by the stage show “Riverdance” in the 1990s. Sean-nos, which is a form of step dancing, is a solo style dance that also requires precise footwork.

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