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A video history of Irish dancing throughout the last 70 years

A YouTube video has captured the history of Irish dancing from the 1950s through to the present day.

It features long forgotten performances of dances that took place just for fun in local community halls long before Irish dancing became the huge industry it is today.

The video is called ‘Irish Dance and Stuff: From the Beginning of Time… to Yesterday’.

Video shows the history & evolution of Irish dancing throughout the decades

It starts with Sean Nós Dance, which means ‘old style’ in Gaelic. It shows footage of Sean Nós dancers – Dorothy Hayden’s Irish Steppers – on the Ed Sullivan show in the 1950s.

It continues with more TV performances from the 1950s and ’60s. Soon it moves into the 1970s with a performance from Páidí Bán O’ Broin from 1972.

Before long the video moves onto the next section which its creator – Sarah Klopp – has called ‘(Slightly) More Modern Stylings – Stuff I Kind of Recognize’.

Other sections of the video include ‘Old Style Figures’ and ‘A Blast from the Past’ – which features a young Sarah Klopp. Many of the videos are shot in community halls where the dancers are competing in national championships.

The video then moves into the 1990s and the performance that turned Irish dancing into a world wide phenomenon – Riverdance.

Following Riverdance, Irish dancing became a huge production with dozens of dancers and musicians. Today Irish dance shows can sell out some of the biggest theatres and venues in the world.

The second half of the video looks at the modern group dances that have been influenced by Riverdance.

It features big stage shows as well as performances and championships that still take place in community halls – showing that Irish dancing at the grass roots is still alive and well.

Take a look at the video below.

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About Patrick Kehoe

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  1. Where can I get this DVD or be able to access it on YouTube

  2. Is it possible to buy this as a DVD??
    My (Irish / Irish dancing Mum … now in her late 80’s) would love this!
    She doesn’t have internet so the only way she can possibly view is on a DVD :/

  3. Why oh why can’t they loose the wigs…part if the reason the river dance girls were so lovely was the black tights…(no fake tan) and their own hair. It really does put so many people off…..it’s the feet that count..the bounce factor in the head adds nothing.

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