Fitness, friendship, fundraising, and most importantly, fun.
These are the guiding principles behind a new initiative which aims to benefit charities through a series of set dance céilí.
Youth and experience have combined to form Kilcrea Charity Céilí, a group which hosts its first in a series of dances at Éire Óg GAA pavilion in Ovens, Co Cork, this Saturday, September 12.
With a committee of old hands at the organisation of céilís, plus youngsters newly hooked on set dancing, the aim is to provide a venue where a new generation can be introduced to the tradition in the company of practiced dancers.
With dances such as the Ballyvourney Jig Set, the Connemara, and Cashel Set likely to be among the standards, the céilí series begins with music from Tim Joe and Ann O’Riordan this Saturday, followed by Jerry McCarthy and Liam Healy on November 14, and Muintir Uí Bhriain on January 9.
The first three charities to benefit will be Marymount Hospice, Cork Simon Community, and the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association, with funds being raised through a €10 entry fee and raffle.
If successful, the project is likely to be extended next spring, with organisers hoping to feed what they see as a resurgent appetite for set dancing, particularly among young people.
Siobhán Ní Mhuimh-neacháin, one of the Kilcrea Charity Céilí organisers, says: “Set dancing is on the increase among young people and we’re aiming to attract experienced dancers while also welcoming new people.
“It’s a very attractive social scene and an alternative to pub culture, where maybe in Ireland we don’t have enough of those options.
“It introduces you to a whole new group of friends, it’s also a good way to stay fit, and if you go to céilís you’ll see people there with sweatbands and towels. But most importantly, the dancing is great fun, then on top of all that, it’s raising money for a good cause.”
Fellow organiser Micheál Cantillon Murphy adds: “We hope to see all the familiar faces of the local and national set dancing scene, but also wish to see some fresh faces — those who are willing to dabble in a set solely for the sheer fun of it.”
The Kilcrea Charity Céilí group has adopted a motto, “bain súp as seit!” to convey the enjoyment of set dancing and, he said: “This is exactly why those looking for some good company and entertainment should come along, regardless of dancing prowess.”
Kilcrea Charity Céilí’s first dance starts at 9.30pm this Saturday in Éire Óg pavilion, with tea provided.
See Kilcrea Charity Céilí on Facebook for more.
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