Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ceili of the Week: The Duke Reel

[Welcome to the second installment of Ceili of the Week! Hope you learn something new, or at least enjoy reading!] 

The Duke Reel is a...
         -- Round dance
         -- For three couples
         -- Dance to any reel 

Movements of the Dance
         (a) Rings
         (b) Sides
         (c) Link Arms
         (d) Interlace
         (e) Advance & Retire
               **Parts b-e make up the body of the dance, repeated after each figure**
         (f) Figures 
               1st Figure: Figure of Eight
               2nd Figure: Right & Left Chain
        (g) Finish --  Swing Around 

This adorable video of dancers from the Kelly School of Irish Dance isn't perfect, but it's so cute! According to the video, this was their second night learning the Duke Reel... not bad!

Unanswered Questions about the Duke Reel:
        --Who was the Duke?
        -- Why does he get his own reel? :)

Why do I like this Ceili?
         The Duke Reel a unique six-hand dance. Most of the ceilis for three couples I've danced have been "long dances," or ceilis with two rows of three dancers facing each other [as in the Fairy Reel]. I also think the Interlace portion of the dance [basically, a chain with no arms] is quite pretty. My favorite aspect of this ceili is the figures. More specifically, each couple has the opportunity to perform each figure. While the repetition of both figures three times [once per couple] might be boring to watch, its fun from a dancer's standpoint. I'm all about all-inclusive dances! More fun for everyone :)

This video shows The Duke Reel, performed up through the first figure. [The video doesn't say who these dancers are, so if you know, please share!] 

Have you danced the Duke Reel? What do you like about it? 

Keep Dancing,

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ceili of the Week: The Rakes of Mallow

[This week marks the beginning of a new series of posts: Ceili of the Week! As I'm currently studying for the TCRG exam and teaching weekly ceili classes, my life is lived from ceili to ceili :) Hope you enjoy learning more about these dances along with me.]

The Rakes of Mallow is a...
          -- Long Dance
          -- For any even number of trios [a gent with two ladies on his right]
          -- Danced to the tune of the same name, or any other reel
          -- Has nothing to do with raking leaves or eating marshmallows :)

Movements of the Dance:
         (a) Advance and Retire
         (b) Swing with Opposite Lady
         (c) Swing with Lady on Right
         (d) Link arms in Centre
         (e) Swing Out

The Rakes of Mallow
from Olive Hurley's Ceili Dancing Step by Step, Volume 2
Fun Facts:
  • According to Ar Rince Foirne, this dance was "arranged by the Late Father Lorcan O Muireadhaigh, during ceilithe in the Irish College, Omeath, where the girls outnumbered the boys." 
  • The village, Omeath is located in County Louth, in the province of Leinster, close to the boarder with Northern Ireland... and nowhere near Mallow!
  • Rake, short for rakehell, refers to a dissolute man, usually given to vices like drinking, promiscuity, gambling, and womanizing. 
  • Mallow is located in County Cork, in the province of Munster. 
  • The tune, "The Rakes of Mallow," dates back to the 1780s, and is a fight song for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  • "The Rakes of Mallow" tune has been featured in several films, including The Quiet Man (1952), 1941 (1979), and Rudy (1993).

Why do I like this ceili? 
          Unlike many ceili dances, The Rakes of Mallow doesn't have a repeating body or series of several [often intricate] figures. It's a nice, progressive long dance without too many complications. I think this ceili would be great for a community or school-wide ceili, since its simple to perform and easy to remember. My wonderful ceili class dancers had loads of fun learning this dance, and as seen in the video below, The Rakes of Mallow is fun for Irish dancers of all ages!

Have you danced The Rakes of Mallow? What do you think of this ceili? Do you think you'll still be Irish dancing when you're older [like the fantastic ceili dancers in the last video]? Did you know what "rake" meant?

Keep Dancing,

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Coco Rocha: Interview Russia Editorial

I'm completely in love with Coco Rocha's dance-inspired editorial for September's issue of Interview Russia.  Via her tumblr, Coco explains she, "got to play a deranged ballerina" in her "favorite editorial of the season!" 

The movement captured in this series of shots is stunning. Coco looks exquisite & graceful in Alexander McQueen [and not even a bit deranged, if you as me].  Her black pointe shoes may be meant to look edgy, but are reminiscent of soft shoes in my eyes.  

This shot brings me back to pilates sessions at Camp Rince Ceol :)

...& this photo evokes thoughts of adorable Irish dance beginners who tie their soft shoe laces up their legs before they are promptly corrected, and of ruffle skirts on solo costumes. 

All the photos from this editorial can be viewed on Coco's tumblr or facebook. What do you think of this editorial? What are your favorite photos?

Keep Dancing,
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