Sean Nós Dancing

17 Apr

It was such a delight having Siobhán Doyle in class. I am an avid music supporter and thoroughly enjoy learning about all types of music. Specifically, though, these last four months teaching me all about the different types of Irish music.

 Ever since class, I have been keenly aware of Sean Nós. It seems as if it has been popping up in the Pubs a lot more lately as well. Not being an Irish Gaelic speaker myself, I didn’t know what Sean Nós stood for, so I was slightly confused by what exactly it meant. I knew Siobhán Doyle had quickly demonstrated a form of Sean Nós dance, but beyond that I was clueless; all I knew was that I thoroughly enjoyed it. In its simplest form, Sean Nós stands for “old style,” which is why it is closely associated with the old style or “traditional” Irish music, although it can take on many forms of style.  I did a little more research on different Sean Nós dances. Below will be many video links that inspired my opinion on the dance itself. I’ve spent a few days just watching and listening to the following videos—maybe even trying the dance myself.

 The first video is in black and white, indicating that it’s probably an older video. It is just a man surrounded by a group of people dancing away, it seems as if he is putting very little effort in to it, while still producing a flawless dance. This video makes me smile. The music is uplifting and the dancing man is exquisite.

 The second video is quite different from the first at first glance. It appears that the video posted is filmed by an audience member in the pub. The environment is upbeat, cameras are flashing, and the dancer is again, great at Sean Nós dancing.

The last video I will show is the one with the younger kids doing the Sean Nós dance. It’s a similar environment to the first one, but with a larger noticeable audience surrounding the two kids who start off the show. I am thoroughly impressed with these kids’ ability to dance. I am a tad bit jealous myself. But what happens throughout the entire video is what the Americans would call a “Dance Off.” All types of people and groups are taking their turn at the spotlight and doing quite a great job. 

All these videos have common parts: similar dance “moves,” fun happy crowds, Irish “traditional music,” and a desire building up inside of me to just dance. Something entertaining that I have done with all these videos is played them at the same time with the screens all lined up in a row. The song they dance to is not the same, but the style of dance is very similar. In all honestly, I have even tried the Sean Nós dancing in the privacy of my own room, but it didn’t quite work for me. I don’t know if it has to do with the fact that I’m not at all Irish or if I missed out on learning during a childhood filled with this dancing, but unfortunately, Sean Nós dancing will not be something I make a career or even a fun hobby. I might try out lilting, river dancing, the flute or the bodhrán. No matter what, I cannot get away from my love for music, even if the dancing part doesn’t come naturally to me. I definitely plan on going home to my friends and showing them videos and telling them all about my adventures into the Irish music world.


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