Well, let’s get one thing straight - neither of them is line dancing!
Barn dances and ceilidhs are both social dances which are really good fun. Most dances are as couples forming larger sets but you don’t have to come with a partner – anyone can dance with anyone! The main difference is in the repertoire of music: ceilidhs draw on traditional Irish and Scottish tunes whereas a barn dance will have a more English feel and may also include some American tunes. However, there can be heated debates about who had which tune first so there can be quite a crossover at times! Appropriate dances are chosen to go with the tunes. Many of our clients prefer to have a mix of styles to cater for a wide range of tastes.
Absolutely not. Anybody can join in, any age. Half the fun is learning the dances with your friends and family. Our caller will start off with a couple of easy dances to get you going and to gauge the expertise of the dancers for what comes next. All the dances will be ‘walked’ through by the caller who will give clear instructions; only when the dancers know what they are doing does the band play for the dance. And even then, you are not alone – the caller will continue to call the ‘figures’ for as long as the dancers need.
We usually find 8-10 dances are enough in a typical evening allowing about 15 minutes per dance. This includes the time to get dancers to the floor, arrange the sets, walk through the dance – and then do the dance itself. We play for many popular dances such as Strip the Willow, Cumberland Reel, and Dashing White Sergeant but some dances are specially written by our caller to ring the changes.
You will get quite warm so make sure that you have a layer or two that can be discarded. Ideally soft, flat, slightly grippy shoes are best so if you’re wearing stilettoes to the main event bring some shoes for dancing too – your friends will thank you! If the event is informal then dress for comfort.