Dancing! Irish dancing! Irish music, too, as it turned out. My angelic father accompanied me to a local performance, “Celtic Steps,” starring five musicians and four dancers. Despite the relatively small size, the show impressed with its sheer talent and irrepressible charm.
Their lovely soloist (playing violin on right) hailed from a tiny mountain village that still speaks Gaelic as their first language. She performed breathtaking versions of “With or Without You” by Irish bank U2 and “On Raglan Road,” the quintessential Dublin poem.
The most spectacular musical performance followed this introduction: “You see this tin whistle? It’s a tube made of metal; you can buy it for five euros at a corner store. Then you unpack it while you’re driving home, and you can play it like this…” after which, their flutist trilled and fluttered his fingers through a mad musical dance.
If the musicians impressed, you can easily imagine how the dancers thrilled me. Along with the typical straight-armed quick stepping, the performers showcased a variety of other dances:
On the left, you see the brush dance. The young man crossed himself and gazed heavenward before he began high-stepping back and forth over the broom handle to double-quick time. “Don’t think you can try this at home,” they warned us.
The ladies traded in their clogs for soft shoes to demonstrate more ‘athletic’ dances–as if the kicking and tapping weren’t taxing enough! They also displayed the ‘slow hornpipe’: a typical competition-style number rarely displayed in shows.
Below you see the dancers in pairs, prancing in imitation of Irish village dances. For want a dance hall, the town would meet at the crossroads to dance reels and jigs together.
Check out snippets of their act in this montage video: