April 12th, 2008

Hijinks Ensue

I can has ceilidh dance nao!

Phoenix Ceilidhs of Horwich was brilliant. It had a completely different atmosphere to the Manchester one. There were probably a couple of hundred dancers there of all ages from five to seventy-five in a large church hall with a stage, a dance floor, a bar, and chairs and tables around the outside. There were lots of couples but a fair number of singles too and the balance wasn't wildly off (probably slightly more single women than single men), plus most of the couples were willing to dance with other partners and the band did a lot of progressive dances anyway.

I almost didn't find a partner for the first two dances, but one of the ladies organizing the event spotted me wandering around looking a bit lost and took pity on me. I didn't manage to find a partner for the second two. After that I was lucky for the rest of the night and always found a partner when I needed one. When it came to what the caller said would be the last dance of the night (actually there were two or three encores after that one), one of the young ladies there saw me going round the tables unsuccessfully asking for a partner so rushed up and grabbed me herself!

The 422 band were excellent. The caller may have overestimated our skill level somewhat - several of the dances were really complicated. He would talk us through about eight steps of a dance, then he'd say, "and now we'll learn the chorus" and it would be even more complicated than the verse! Luckily everyone was there to have a good time and nobody failed to see the funny side when people got confused and tried to do it in the wrong order or changed sex. There was a dance with five couples in a set that got everyone on the dance floor into a complete muddle, and there was another one where our set gave up trying to make sense of the steps half-way through and made up our own instead!

I lost count of how many different dances I took part in - I'd guess at least a dozen. Ceilidh dancing is very energetic so I'm aching in a lot of different places today. It was definitely worth the 35 mile drive and I certainly intend to go to the next one. Unfortunately there is only one more Phoenix ceilidh this season (on the 9th of May) before they take a six month break until the next season starts in October.