By Robin Rinaldi

Introduces the historical past, tools of training, ceremonial types, uncomplicated steps, and recognized figures of conventional Irish, Polish, and Spanish dance.

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The next step in the migration involves the move from social to theatrical dance, when the dance actually ceases to be participatory and instead is danced onstage with added dramatic elements. Here again, the distinctions merge, because even an ethnic dance can be “watched” by some members who might be considered an “audience,” but by and large its basic context is participatory, while the basic context of theatrical dance involves a passive audience and active performers on a stage. C05 7/29/08 12:04 PM Page 61 From the Fields to the Palaces and Back into ballets, thus becoming theatrical versions of themselves.

Throughout the dance, the lead male could be replaced as another man came forward to start his own song, thus “cutting in” and taking the lead female’s hand. The chodzony was especially popular at weddings, when every man wanted a chance to take the lead and dance with the bride. In yet another example of how traditional dance evolves between social classes, the chodzony, a simple peasant dance, formed the basis of the polonez, which would later turn up in Poland’s royal court at the marriage of a king.

Their hair is traditionally long and curled into tight ringlets so that their airborne steps can be appreciated as the curls fly up on each jump. Boys wear knee socks, kilts, jackets, and ties, often with a Celtic shawl across their shoulder, and usually hard-soled shoes. Music is played by traditional ensembles called ceili bands; its melody, once provided by fiddles and uilleann pipes, is mostly performed on an accordion with accompanying fiddle, percussion, and bass. C03 7/29/08 11:53 AM Page 39 Irish Dance in the Twentieth Century First with Riverdance and later Lord of the Dance, Americanborn Michael Flatley almost single-handedly made Irish dance a global phenomenon in the 1990s.

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