This past Tuesday evening, I had the opportunity to attend an Irish Dance event that took place in the Pacific Room of WUC. Before attending the event, I had the notion that I was going to be watching a show that would involve both Irish music and dancing from performers. However, I soon came to find out that I was wrong…partially. While there was going to be both Irish music and Irish dancing, what I did not know was that those attending would also be dancing. To be honest, as soon as I found out that I would have to dance, panic ran through me. I had never been to an Irish event before, much less danced to their music, so I was nervous. Really nervous.
The dance of interest was Céilí. Céilí (KAY–lee) is a social dance, which can take various forms. For example, this dance can encompass a great number of people, two people, be danced in a circle, a square, etc. And as the instructor explained, this type of dance is not perfect, unlike some other Irish dancing that tends to be precise in regards to steps, counts, etc. So in that sense, Céilí dancing is meant to be fun and of course, social.
I was surprised to find out that Irish dancing is alive and well in Oregon. With that mentioned, there are Céilí events that take place within our state. On Friday, March 8, 2013, there will be a St. Patrick’s Concert & Céilí at VFW Hall 630 Hood St. NE in Salem. The concert will take place at 7 p.m., following a lesson, live music, and Céilí from 8-11 p.m. Not only will this event be fun, but it is only $10 to attend. Only $10!
From this event, I learned that I should not let my own cultural background hinder me from participating in events that do not fit in with my own ethnicity/culture; rather, I should step outside of my comfort zone. And by being a little “adventurous” and participating in the Irish dance event, not only did I learn some new dance moves, but I even burned some calories in the process! So, in case an event on campus catches your attention, don’t hesitate to attend simply because you’ll feel awkward or out of place, just be spontaneous and have fun!
If anyone is interested in learning more about Céilí of the Valley Society, Irish dancing, or the Irish culture, a person can look up information at ceiliofthevalley.org or you can call (503) 383-9297 to get in touch with a member of the Céilí of the Valley Society.
By Antonia Rojas