I always find it fascinating to learn similarities between different styles of dance. I don’t know the exact origins of tap dance for example, but many moves performed in tap are very similar to Irish dance.
Likewise, often when we are learning a new soft shoe step we will do a scissor jump or twirl. Irish moves like these are very similar to steps you will see in ballet or modern dance.
In fact Jo Lambert, a TCRG at The Shelley School is a very accomplished ballet dancer and often tells us that taking beginner classes in ballet can greatly improve our Irish dancing skills. It’s extremely clear she’s giving us great advice when we watch her perform perfectly tight and graceful scissor jumps. I am still trying to perfect mine to look more like hers.
One of my favorite moments in Riverdance is the battle between three tap dancers and three Irish dancers. Both sides show off their best moves, trying to prove one form of dance is superior to the other. All they really prove in the end is just how similar the two dance forms really are. There is even a moment where the tap dancers imitate the exact steps of the Irish, only with much more relaxed posture and movements.
Many times I’ve spotted clog moves in treble reels and jigs. I’ve even performed a slip jig for a feis with an obvious jazz move placed strategically between more traditional Irish steps. I think it’s a lot of fun to recognize the similarities between Irish and other dance forms.
This is a really fun video that compares Irish Dance to American Tap Dance. It features the dancers from Riverdance I mentioned, and even includes a beginner dance lesson for both dance forms.
Have you ever recognized other dance forms being used in Irish dance?