'Beirt Eile'

A Video on Two-Hand Dances

The idea of a video on two-hand dances sprung from a Workshop/Seminar organised by the Munster Council of CCE in Cois na hAbhna, Ennis, Co Clare, in November 2003, at which many two-hand dances were taught and some participants were enquiring if the dances were available on video. The video (approx 30 minutes druation), which was co-sponsored by Comhaltas Headquarters and Craobh Seán Treacy CCE (Dublin), was recorded in Cois na hAbhna on Sunday 7th March 2004 by Willie Fogarty TV and Video Productions, Nenagh, Co Tipperary - producers of the new Comhaltas Live programme on the internet (www.comhaltaslive.ie)

The dances shown on the video are: 2-hand reel, 2-hand jig, Stack of Barley (3 versions), Siamsa Beirte (a 2-hand hornpipe), Shoe the Donkey/Verse of Vienna, The Schottische, The Peeler and The Goat, Highland/Fling (2 versions) and the odd one out - a three-hand Highland.

Some of these dances were featured regularly at céilithe around the country in years gone by, but are not performed very widely nowadays. The dances are demonstrated on the video by Donncha Ó Muineacháin and Brenda Hogan, and Donncha also provides the instructions/commentary.

It is intended that this novel recording will assist in meeting the growing demand for more variety at céilithe, at which sets and/or céile dances (mostly sets) predominate.

It is considered that this instructional video would be of particular interest to teachers of céili/set dancing where class number may be small and to people who do not attend formal dancing classes. Teachers, too, involved in running the Coláistí Samhraidh Irish language schools/courses may find some of the dances demonstrated in the video suitable for inclusion at the nightly céilithe.

The dancing involving 21 dancers from counties Clare, Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Tipperary, was directed by Donncha Ó Muineacháin. The musical accompaniment was supplied by musicians from Co Clare - Lorna Moynishan and Denis and Mary Liddy, members of the well-known Shannonside and Turloughmore Céilí Bands.

The video was formally launched on Saturday night, 29th May 2004, at the Fleadh Nua céilí in Cois na hAbhna, Ennis, by Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú, Director General CCE. Three of the dances featured in the video were performed at the céilí (at which the Turloughmore Céilí Band from County Clare provided great music), following a demonstration by Donncha and Bernadette Mhic Gabhann of the Connemara version os An Staicín Eornan/The Stack of Barley.

The video costs euro20 (25 US dollars) - postage and packaging extra. To order the video or for any further information in regard to the video, contact Comhaltas Headquarters, Dublin (Tel 01 2800295) or Donncha Ó Muineacháin (Tel 01 8463479; email - [email protected]).

It is also intended to make a DVD version of this recording available soon.