Contact: Bernie KilBride  07790 665054

Copyright: Juice: Abergavenny 2018

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Juice Ceilidh Band: Bernie KilBride (Fiddle), Imogen O'Rourke (Flute)

What does Ceilidh mean? Ceilidh (pronounced “Kay-lee”) is the Gaelic word referring to a social event that involves music and dancing to traditional folk music. In Wales it may be called a Twmpath. In England a Country Dance. It is often also called a Barn Dance (whether it takes place in a barn or not).

What is a Ceilidh? Ceilidhs are the perfect social icebreaker - people of all ages and backgrounds come together in an informal friendly atmosphere to dance to a live band playing traditional music.– they often arrive as strangers and leave as friends.

What happens at a Ceilidh? A Ceilidh is an evening of traditional music and dancing. The dances are usually for couples, or groups of couples, and they have set movements and figures, many of which date back hundreds of years. The dance movements are very simple though, and require no previous experience as a Caller will guide everyone through each dance. The Caller ‘talks and walks’ the dancers through the dance moves, step-by-step, at a pace and level to suit everyone. When he is confident that the dancers have a good idea of what to do, he instructs the band to play and the dance begins and proceedes in time with the music.

 The Caller continues to call the dance moves clearly throughout the dance, keeping a close eye on the dancers and making sure that everyone continues to get the support they need. A dance typically lasts for around ten minutes and is generally followed by a short break for dancers to catch their breath, chat or get a drink, etc.

Do I need to know the dance steps beforehand? Absolutely not. Our caller is there to explain everything you need to do as you go along. Callers are very experienced at adapting to the needs of different groups including mixed ability groups and those with differing levels of experience. Besides, much of the fun of a Ceilidh comes from everyone in a set either successfully completing a move or hilariously getting it wrong and frantically trying to organise themselves back into line and in time with the music.

What happens if I make mistakes? A Ceilidh is a social event, not a dance display or competition. The emphasis is on fun and social interaction rather than accuracy. Doing the odd wrong move midway through the dance is not only to be expected but is also a big part of the fun. Moments such as these cause great amusement at the time they occur and create hilarious and enduring memories.

Is it noisy? The Band and Caller are amplified through a PA system, but are generally much quieter than say a disco – the amplification is so that all the participants in the room can hear the dance instructions and the music, and the house lights are generally left on (so the Caller can see how the dancers are getting on). Spectators and non-dancers should be able to comfortably have a conversation in the same room as the dancing.

Do I have to join in? Not at all. You are welcome to simply watch, listen, chat with friends or family, and generally soak up the atmosphere.

Do I need special footwear? You don’t need any specific footwear for Ceilidh dancing; just wear something comfortable, non-slip and relatively flat. Dancing in high heels can be potentially hazardous, as can dancing in bare feet which can be trodden on, or stockinged feet due to the slip-hazard.

Do I need to be physically fit? Most traditional dancing takes place at a walking or skipping pace and is considered no more strenuous than, for example, ballroom dancing. The band and Caller will keep an eye on the dancers and adjust the pace of the dance if necessary.