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Hijinks Ensue

I can has ceilidh dance nao?

Manchester Ceilidh was disappointing. When I arrived, shortly after the posted start time, the doors were still locked. The organisers arrived after a few minutes but other dancers were slow in arriving. The second dancer to arrive was a single woman. After plucking up the courage to introduce myself I spent about fifteen minutes chatting to her before running out of small-talk and grinding to a halt. This is better than average for me.

As other dancers gradually arrived, two things became clear: it was going to be a really quiet night, and nearly everyone had brought a dance partner with them. People kept commenting on how empty the place was. At its peak there were about 25 established couples who never danced with anyone else, the aforementioned single woman (who, it transpired, was there to meet a couple of friends and didn't seem particularly enthusiastic about actually dancing), a group of about six male students, two or three other single blokes, and myself.

The band took a while to arrive and get set up (in fairness, there would have been no point in them starting earlier due to the lack of dancers). The events list on the website was wrong: Pigeon English played last month. This month it was a young Newcastle band called the Monster Ceilidh Band. They seemed technically competent but were lacking something - none of the songs felt particularly energetic or fun to me, and the dances seemed a bit dull.

I got to dance once. It was a French dance; I don't remember if the caller said what it was called but it wasn't particularly complicated, fast, intimate, or exciting in any way. I stuck around until the start of the second set but no more single women had arrived during the break and it was clear that I would be lucky to get a second dance so I sloped off home early.

I think the most positive thing I can say about it was that at least it wasn't painfully embarrassing like my one attempt at going to a dance class without a partner, and I did get one dance - it looked like most of the other single blokes there didn't get even one. All in all, it really wasn't worth driving thirty miles each way for. I'm not going to give up on ceilidhs just yet after two good experiences and one bad one, but any more people who try to tell me that dances are always short of men are likely to receive very short shrift.


We tried to go to a ceilidh in Edinburgh last year and totally failed - There were 6 of us - one guy and five girls and when we turned up the room was pretty busy(about 60 -70 people) but there was a high contingent of single girls there all dancign together. The guy in our party's tongue was hanging out at the number of girls but no one wanted to dance with strangers.
There were two pairs of women there dancing with each other. I did rather ineptly try going up to one pair and asking them if either of them would like to dance (what is the proper etiquette in that situation?). They said no and that put me off asking the other two.

The atmosphere was quite different to the two convention ceilidhs I've been to, where there was a closer balance of single men to single women and little reluctance to dance with strangers. At the Orbital dance you could go and stand at the side of the dance floor at the start of a dance and there was a very good chance you would find someone of the opposite sex also looking for a partner.

If you have to bring a partner with you and dance only with them all night that seems to me to be missing the point of a ceilidh slightly...



If you are getting fed up with ceilidhs, and still want to find dancing events to join in with, try salsa classes.

Most salsa classes send everyone around to dance with everyone else, so even as one of the gazillions of girls in every class, I always get to dance with every male in the room. Also it's *very* hands on. With rules such as "When the man puts your hand on his body, you keep it in the same place until he comes to take your hand away", it can be an ideal dance for flirting if you feel so inclined. And for those of us who aren't looking for romance, it can just be nice to get to touch someone else's bum without needing to be a) pished and b) guilty!

Salsa also seems to be very social - most salsa groups arrange for social nights in local pubs or clubs and again, partners get exchanged at breathtaking speed. Everyone's very friendly, and it's a great laugh. I really don't think I can recommend it any higher as a great social event, regardless of your ability.


Re: Dancing

The first two ceilidhs I went to were brilliant - if they were all like that I'd want to go every week.

A couple of people have recommended Salsa. I'm rather shy of dance classes after the first one I went to ("introductory social dancing" advertised as suitable for singles) was a complete and utter disaster because I was the only person there without a partner.


Re: Dancing

I felt that way when I went to my first salsa class - there were lots of girls in groups, and clearly a few couples. As my hubby refused to come dancing with me, I felt like a bit of a tit.

Fortunately it became clear pretty quickly that we were going to dance with everyone in the class anyway, so it really didn't matter who you went with :-)
I'd take 15 minutes as a win. I can't talk that long to some people I work with...

I still vote for you running car maintenance classes, by the way.

Sounds like alot of people who go to dance classes are actually too scared to be there ;-) Why else would you take someone else with you, ensuring you didn't have to dance with a stranger ~ they are chickens!

Sounds like a pretty successful evening for a first appearance at the class :-)
Thanks. This was actually a social dance night, not a class. I'm told 'ceilidh' (pronounced 'kaylee') is gaelic for 'gathering' and originally referred to the practise of people living in the Scottish highlands getting together with people from other nearby villages for a regular social occasion - drink, food, gossip, folk music, dancing, etc.

Edited at 2008-04-10 03:18 pm (UTC)
Kaylee used to make very good cinema projectors. There's a pair of early ones in 'The Smallest Show On Earth.'. And what exactly is a Short Shrift? Why not make a longer one, so that it can reach without the owner having to over-stretch? or possibly it could be a type of ladie's under-garment that stops above the knee?
The Smallest Show on Earth? Is that a flea circus?

Very Short Shrift is a Scottish chap who comes round to your house in the middle of the night and shouts foul insults at you for making inconsiderate comments about ceilidh dances always being full of short men.