Learn to Irish Ceili Dance!
What is Irish ceili dancing?
It’s Irish social group dancing! Ceili is pronounced ‘kay-lee’ and is the Gaelic word referring to a gathering of friends sharing and enjoying traditional Irish music, song, dance, and fun!
Who can come to the class?
Teens and adults, no partner or experience necessary! It’s a ton of fun and a great workout!
When and where is the class?
The class is held randomly on different days, at different times, and at different locations. Check our Facebook for upcoming class dates, times, locations.
Cost Per Class
$5 cash drop-in per person, per class
What to Wear/Bring
Wear comfortable, easy-to-move-in clothes. Keep in mind that dancing is a workout, so you’ll probably get sweaty! Athletic shoes like sneakers are usually best, but it comes down to your comfort. Some people choose to wear Irish dancing light shoes (similar to ballet or jazz shoes), some choose to wear dance sneakers, but most choose to wear normal athletic sneakers. Whatever feels comfortable to you! We also recommend bringing a water bottle to stay hydrated between dances.
What to Expect
We start out each class reviewing the basics, which serves as a mental and physical warm-up. Once everyone is warmed up and somewhat familiar with the basics, the instructor teaches a dance that is made up of those basics. We go over the dance formations and movements until everyone is comfortable, and then we try dancing it to wonderful Irish music. And then we repeat the process! We’ll typically get through 5-10 dances total each class, depending on the length of the dances chosen that night. There are hundreds of Irish ceili dances to choose from in the world, so ceili class is never a dull moment!
“I don’t dance! This class probably isn’t for me, right?”
Actually, it is! You don’t need any dance experience whatsoever in order to ceili dance – in fact, you don’t even need to be especially coordinated! We always say – if you can walk, you can ceili dance! The wonderful thing about Irish ceili dancing is that it is founded in a sense of community, so it’s not about moving perfectly through formations or executing dance moves perfectly. It’s about having a good time! So if your feet don’t do the footwork properly, no problem! If you mess up a formation, have a good laugh! We’re all there to support and have fun with each other, participating in this activity we all enjoy to the music we all tap our feet to. So come on out and give it a try! We’ll greet you with a smile and hopefully present you with a fun and memorable class that you’ll want to come back to again and again!
History Of the Class
This class dates back to 1978, when Brother Eugene, originally from County Tyrone in Ireland, and Mary Rose Kerg, from Oregon’s All Ireland Cultural Society, worked together to offer a weekly ceili class. Little did they know, that over 40 years later, their class would become the longest-running ceili class west of the Mississippi! They named the class Tir Eoghain (pronounced tier-own) after Brother Eugene’s home county of Tyrone – Tir Eoghain is the Gaelic spelling of Tyrone. In 2003, Brother Eugene passed instruction of the class to Tualatin’s Sam Keator. Sam and his wife Anne help spread ceili dancing and Irish culture throughout Oregon, hosting classes, concerts, and events year-round. In 2017, Sam passed instruction of the class to Christina White, long-time attendee of the class and co-owner of Oregon Irish Dance Academy, which offers non-competitive Irish dancing lessons for all ages in multiple locations across Oregon. Christina now co-teaches the class with Emily O’Sullivan, who also teaches at Oregon Irish Dance Academy, as well as teaching math at Lewis & Clark College. They are happy to bring their love of Irish dancing to the Tir Eoghain ceili class and to help to keep ceili alive and thriving in Oregon!