What happens at a ceilidh?
Coming to a dance
If you come along to a public dance or as a guest at a private function, the band will usually be set-up and ready to start when you arrive. We may play a tune at the start of the evening to set the scene. The dance caller will then ask for couples to come onto the floor to dance. If you have come as a couple, that is great. It is perfectly normal though to dance with different people for each dance, so don't be afraid to ask other people to dance if you don't have a partner.
Traditionally a couple is one man and one woman, but there is no problem with two women, or even two men, dancing together if they wish. Couples are formed into sets. Sometimes there is one big set, for example in the circle dances. Other times there may be a fixed number, e.g. four or five couples per set. You will be dancing with the other people in your set as well as with your partner. Mostly you will be dancing predominantly with your partner, but some dances you may get a new partner each time through the dance.
The dance caller will decide which dances to do, based on the number of people available, how keen and fit they are, and how well they are coping with the dances. Every caller has his or her favourites, but they will tailor the evening to suit the dancers on the night, so if you come along again to another event, you won't necessarily get the exact same dances every time.
After each dance, you will have the opportunity to sit down, have a drink, go and find another partner, or stay on the floor ready for the next dance. Depending on how keen and fit the dancers are, the band may play a tune or two after a few dances to give everyone a rest. There will often be an interval during the evening to give the band and the dance caller a rest. There may be other entertainment on offer or food served during this time.
Organising a dance event
If you have booked the band to play at your event, we will usually aim to arrive around about half an hour before the requested start time, to allow time to set-up and sound-check. We need a similar amount of time to pack away at the end of the evening, so make sure you take this into account when hiring the venue. A typical evening would be something like 8-11pm with a break of 30 minutes at some point. This is flexible though, so just ask for whatever you think will work best for your party. Every event is different, so feel free to get in touch to discuss the options.
If you would like advice on any aspect of organising your event, please get in touch or take a look at the following pages: