What Are Some Celtic Dance Styles? December 08 2017

Little boy in a kilt dancing

Celtic dance styles include the dances beloved in Scotland, Ireland and other areas of the Celtic world. They had humble origins as social dances (think informal dances at a New Year's Eve mixer) but have also gotten a following as show dances. Traditional dances form a major part of many dance groups' acts, and modern interpretations also play a role.

What are examples of these popular dances?

  • Scottish Highland Dance - In many ways, this style of dancing is similar to the step dancing style favored in Ireland. Upper body and arm movement help give this type of dance a distinctive style. The sword dance is one variation that many Celtic enthusiasts have probably seen at a Highland fair.
  • Step Dancing - This Irish dancing style has many similar steps to Highland dancing, One of the most obvious differences is the position of the arms, held down at the dancers' sides. Step dancers often perform in groups, although solo performances are also quite popular.
  • Set Dancing - This form of dance has many similarities to French quadrille dancing and is often considered more of a social dance. Four couples participate in each dance, with different tempos used throughout the song. You're likely to see a lot of regional differences.

Many areas in the US have groups that organize social dancing, and of course, you're likely to see such dances at Celtic festivals. Visit Celtic Anglican Shop for jewelry items you'll enjoy wearing to your next Celtic event.