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,

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