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Clare Plain Set

Dublin Core


Clare Plain Set


The August set dancing weekend in Kilrush, Co Clare, features outdoor ceilis in the town's market square. The Glenside Ceili Band were the featured musicians on Saturday afternoon when they played this Plain Set.

Michael McGuire writes:

A majority of Irish sets end with a "change partner" figure. It is generically called the "social figure" that gives each of the dancers the opportunity to dance with each partner of the opposite gender in the set. Often there is an earlier change in partners across the set and, occasionally, with the "corner" but with most sets, the social figure gives each person a chance to dance with all of the other gender.

The "organizing" takes up about the first 4:30 of the video (which can be skipped) but the dance itself - with individual variations among the couples - is shown in full with all its figures including the social figures (two in this six-figure dance that involve changing partners) starting at about 17:00. Also shown is the sidestep movement found in many Irish dances but isn't common in American dances.

It also shows how aerobic many Irish social dances are.

I would also offer a shorter Youtube video that demonstrates the "change partner" aspect of set dancing. It is from a midwinter set dance weekend held annually in Milwaukee. It has JUST the 5th and 6th figures of the Caledonian (which is a different dance than is in the other video). In the 5th figure, the men change partners and dance with all the women (but not all at once). In the 6th figure the women change men partners and dance one iteration of the figure with each (this time all at once or a true social figure). These are BTW some of the best set dancers in North America. Really good music, too. In this video, it's easier to see exactly what is happening. Not quite as well lit.

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