What is a Ceilidh?

‘Ceilidh’ (pronounced ‘kay-lee’) is a gaelic word which literally means ‘a visit’. Traditionally in Scotland a Ceilidh has been a night of wild dancing, poetry, readings and drinking. In short – a party! These days the poetry and readings have mostly been dropped, but the dancing and drinking have continued with great enthusiasm.

You find versions of Ceilidh all over the UK and around the world where people meet to dance socially and party the night away. As there are a few Scots in the band, we’re a little biased towards those dances, but love finding dances from further afield to incorporate . Dances which are loads of fun and have that same spirit of carefree exuberance which we know makes our ceilidhs extra special.

Need to know?

It’s the job of the ‘caller’ or ‘host’ to always teach the dance before the music starts and then shout out or ‘call’ the moves once the dance is under way so no one should ever feel embarrassed or worried. Part of the joy of Ceilidh is that it’s so accessible to everyone, whether they’ve danced before or not. We like to make ‘getting it wrong’ part of the fun. Those are the bits you’ll remember and laugh about later. We always say that there’s no such thing as going wrong in Ceilidh, it’s just free-styling!

CEILIDH FAQS

  • Absolutely. We specialise in wedding Ceilidhs and therefore make sure our dances are quickly learned by those who’ve never danced before as well as being enjoyed by those who have. We put guests at their ease and ensure that everyone knows that it’s the fun and enthusiasm that matters, rather than getting the steps perfect. Each dance is taught before the music starts and then the moves are called during the dance to remind you what to do.

  • I grew up in the Scottish dance tradition and so I love to include plenty of Scottish favourites such as Strip the Willow, Dashing White Sergeant, Cumberland Square 8 and Gay Gordons. However, there are some brilliant dances we’ve learnt in recent years from the rest of the British Isles and beyond. Some of our personal favourites include Riverside Jig, Siege of Ennis, Boston Tea Party, Suicide Square and Russian Crown. We find that for guests, it’s more important that a dance is lots of fun and has plenty energy, rather than where it comes from.

  • One meter square per dancer works out well. It really depends on how flamboyant they’re being. At weddings, guests usually want to spend some time chatting to family or friends they haven’t seen for years, so often, it will be between half and a third of your guests dancing at once. If in doubt, please get in touch and I’ll be happy to advise.

  • The ceilidh band play for up to 3 x 45 min sets of dancing and are with you for up to 3 hours in total after set up. This can be extended, but there would be an additional fee. Most of the time, we find that 2 x 1 hour ceilidh sets work brilliantly for most weddings and parties, but you know how energetic your friends are!

  • We find that most of the time, it isn’t a problem to get people dancing. At the start of the night guests can be a little shy or nervous, but by the end of the evening, everyone is on the floor. We have loads of experience of building the right atmosphere and people’s confidence, which is often all that’s needed to produce a cracking night. We will never force anyone to dance and pride ourselves in balancing encouragement with respect.

Party Atmosphere

With a bit of gentle encouragement and good humour, even the most nervous dancers will venture on to the floor. By creating a party atmosphere where wrong moves are practically celebrated, guests feel much more at ease to have a go and leave their inhibitions behind, while the more accomplished dancers can still strut their stuff with pride.

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Why Ceilidh?

Ceilidhs are a fabulous way to encourage different groups of friends and families to mix quickly. A shared experience in a supportive and fun atmosphere means they’ll immediately have something in common to discuss and laugh about …not forgetting the fact that they’re great fun and the music is incredible!

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