Some weeks ago, Martin Doyle sent me (his webmaster) links to the two videos offered below and said, “What do you think of them?” Naturally I liked them very much and was quite impressed with the spontaneity and freedom of movement in the dancers. And the music being played for the dancers is excellent! “Sean-nós – what does that mean?” was my question to Martin. “Old style,” was his answer. So I did a little looking around…
For the uninitiated (like me), sean-nós dance is an older style of traditional solo Irish dance – the lesser known free-form solo type of dancing that many of Ireland’s older traditional musicians played for.
It is a casual dance form (as opposed to the more formal competition-oriented form of) Irish Stepdancing. “Sean Nós” in the Irish language means “old style” and refers to various activities, including sean-nós song and sean-nós dance. These less common forms of Irish dance and traditional Irish singing have been documented by folklorists and song collectors (aka ethnomusicologists), but still often form part of the traditional dance scene in Ireland.
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