Living Room Ceilidh

In Camden over the past few years we have had some really lovely dances, or ceilidhs, in the big hall at Cecil Sharp House with lots of young musicians coming together to play for each other to dance.

Scroll down to find some videos to help you learn the dances, along with some music so you can have your own dance at home.

The tunes for the dances are part of the Wider Opportunities Ceilidh Project. Here you’ll find downloadable / printable beginner parts for most instruments along with written descriptions of the dances.

Here’s a video showing how much fun ceilidh dancing can be! Then have a look below for how to have your own Living Room Ceilidh!

Donkey Riding

Slow
Medium
Dance speed

how you stand – this is a dance for just you and your partner

what you do
A1 march 8 steps in one direction then do  “jump-kick” four times

A2 march 8 steps back the other way and do four more “jump-kicks”

B1 face your partner, give them your right hand and walk round each other (right hand turn). Do the same with your left hand.

B2 face your partner and hold both hands to do a swing (twizzle round), then be ready to march again.

Winster Gallop

Slow
Medium
Dance speed

how you stand – this is a dance for just you and your partner

A1 walk forward 3 steps – kick one leg out in front; walk back 3 steps – stamp your foot  then do all this again.

A2 away from each other 3 steps – clap your hands; walk back to each other 3 steps – bump hips with each other then do all this again.

B1 face your partner for a clapping pattern 

Clap  your hands hands / clap hands under your right leg
Clap your  hands / clap hands under your left leg
Clap hands in front, clap hands behind, clap hands in front and then to your partner 

do all this again!

B2 take your partner’s right hand and walk round each other “a right hand turn”. Do the same with your left hands

how you stand – this is a dance for you and your partner and another couple, so you are in a little group of four people (but you can do it on your own with a bit of imagination)

A1 hold hands in a circle and dance 8 steps to the left and 8 steps back to the right

A2 all four people put right hands into the middle to form a “right hand star”. Dance round for 8 steps, then swap hands and come back with left hands in the middle – a “left hand star”.

B1 there is clapping pattern to do in your group

face your partner – pat knees – clap your hands – clap to partner’s hands
face the person opposite – knees – clap – clap to opposite’s hands
then to either side – knees – clap – clap to either side
finally to yourself – knees – clap – Oi!

after the clapping, take your partner’s hands and do a two hand turn round

B2  do all that again!

Jack’s Alive

Slow
Medium
Dance speed

how you stand – this is a dance for you and your partner and some other couples in a longways set. Your partner stands opposite you – but you can do it on your own with a bit of imagination

A1 “jump-kick” four times then walk 4 steps towards your partner and 4 steps away.

A2 do all that again! 

B1 the couple at the top of the set gallop 8 steps down the middle of the set and then back up again – away from the camera and then back.

B2 everyone gallops down 8 steps, the top couple makes an arch and everyone comes through it back to place – so there is a new couple at the top of the set. If you’re the only couple dancing, you get to be top couple every time!

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