I had the pleasure of teaching a sean nós & battering workshop in October with a group of 13 dancers from Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne and Canberra, on the 10th annual October set dancing weekend here in Canberra. We went through and learned our 3 step sean nós routine to hornpipes (see below), which was nervously but well performed to an expectant crowd the next day.
Not surprisingly though, the highlight was really getting stuck in to the battering steps, particularly the Clare battering step. This is a name that is loosely used for steps that are popularly danced in Clare to reels, and experienced dancers will recognise that very familiar tattoo immediately, as heard below:
At the workshop, there were 8 women and 5 men, which started to challenge my theory about men not as keen to take classes to learn as women. I would have expected less men to come to the workshop, but as I mentioned in my last post, battering was traditionally the domain of men (depending on who you talk to!)
What I have noticed, though, over a long period of time- generally speaking – is that women come to classes and men come to céilís. It’s not that men don’t turn up at all to classes & workshops, they just usually come in much smaller numbers than women.
So, I thought I’d put it to the test. I’ve made two videos teaching the Clare Battering Step very slowly – one for women and one for men, dancing on the opposite feet. I launched both of these films first to my workshop people, and then to my newsletter mailing list and they are now public on YouTube. Here are the number of views for each to date:
Womens Clare Battering Step Video: 100 views
Mens Clare Battering Step Video: 89 views
So far, my theory that more women are keen to learn than men is still ahead – but for how long?
Happy christmas and happy battering, whoever you are!