I have been rudely reminded this week that most people consider Irish step dancing to be “real” Irish dancing, and other styles such as sean nós are of a lesser ilk. This came when I was asked the question “Is Edwina Guckian an Irish dancer?”
The fact that this question was attached to one of my YouTube films clearly marked “Irish dance sean nós brush dance” and showed her dancing made me think that the person was joking.
But no. Full scale war was launched after my (quite sarcastic) response to this question, which included:
Of course she’s an Irish dancer!
I was then told that:
It might happen to occur to you that the term “Irish-Dancer” is primarily used for STEP-Dancing
And I was also informed that:
Actually, very few if any Trad-Dancers are actually Irish-Dancers as well. So you obviously know nothing at all.
Really? In truth, I don’t know the answer as to whether trad dancers are also Irish (step) dancers. Perhaps we could have a show of hands from the “trad” community about their dance origins? In fact, I’m not sure it’s relevant. What the person then said was:
I was only asking because I’d say she could be good at Step too and was literally just wondering if she ever dipped her toe (pardon the pun) in Step-Dancing
Ouch! It’s a little hard not to find that insulting on her behalf for such a talented dancer. I try hard to see the best in all the different styles of Irish dance, although I admit I have made a few wisecracks about hair and dresses in previous posts. Perhaps someone can set me straight about why this aspect is so important?
I was unable to ascertain whether this person commenting was actually a dancer themselves – wouldn’t answer my questions about this.
And for the record, to answer the question about whether Edwina ever did Irish step dancing, she said:
Nope, never did Irish (step) dancing. Tried once when I was about 4 and the teacher gave out to me that my hands were flying all over the place and that was the end of that!! 🙂
She also said:
My great- grandfather was a mighty sean nós dancer from Roscommon…
Plenty of “real” Irish there, don’t you think?
So, could I respectfully suggest that those people looking down their noses at styles other than Irish step dancing please open your eyes, ears, minds and hearts to all aspects of the wonderfully rich, complex and growing tradition of Irish dance?
Nora Stewart (chancer)