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Irish CEILI DANCE – 6:45 PM Lesson - De Mairt Ceol band (all welcome!)

  • to
  • Irish Cultural Center

    1106 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ (map)

    33.460220 -112.074318

  • You can ask for Jim at the door
  • Price: $6.00 /per person

    Refund policy

  • (**Please click on "more info"!!!**) (if in a smartphone app).


    New dancers welcome! Lessons included! All welcome! Casual social dance, not competitive. Fun! To know what to expect, and to see VIDEOS, click LEARN MORE, or see below...

    3rd Friday Dance!

    If you think Irish dance looks fun, you are welcome to join!

    This Meetup event is not hosted by Meetup - please volunteer to greet members and host this Meetup.  But you can ask for Jim or Anne, the leaders of the dance.

    Dance run by: Irish Cultural Center ( More people are also going, not just Meetup dancers. 

    Last-minute updates would be rare, but are at Facebook group (not the Facebook "page"):

    IRISH CULTURAL CENTER Facebook group

    ***IRISH SOCIAL DANCE PHOENIX – Each dance is called a “CEILI” (pronounced “Kaylee”), related to the word "Celtic" (“kell-tik”). We have 3rd Friday dances. Called by Anne, with coaching by Jim. Almost always a live band, De Mairt Ceol. FREE PASS: "2nd Dance FREE if at 1st Lesson by 6:45 PM". Please arrive at 6:30 PM to have time to park etc for the 6:45 lesson - so if you are beginner you are in time for your free pass! Experienced people encouraged to come at 6:45 PM to help others. Directions before and during each 10-minute dance. ***

    Free pass is "Good for 1 person, 1 ceili, in the next 2 dances (3rd Fridays)".

    The dance evening is not too hard if you are ready to listen carefully. (You need to be ready to listen carefully.) :-)

    • Friendly, community dance. Partners can change every 10 minutes. Fun! All ages. Toddlers welcome too. Anyone who thinks Irish dance looks fun is welcome. You can come by yourself and make new friends - or bring a friend or your friends - people come each way.

    • Similar to Riverdance, but this casual dance has the tiniest of jumps; the foot barely leaves the floor. There is no need to do step dance; there is no need to point your toes, for example. Similarly, there is no need to angle your feet, keep your knee forward, or cross your legs. PLEASE TAKE IT EASY. NO NEED TO DO EVERYTHING THE FIRST DAY. You can come back for more! :)

    • We occasionally do a classic Irish “Set Dance” too. (Also, the dances in the first half, with 2 people on 2, or 4 on 4, are referred to a "set" dances here in Phoenix, as opposed to as the long line dances in the second half.)

    • There is about a 10-minute break to meet people. At the break, occasionally people perform a Riverdance-like solo step dance.

    • Admission for adults is $6, children 12 and under are admitted for free. Cash/credit.  Admission at the door only.

    • Questions? If about the dance, please try asking the Irish Cultural Center. If directly asking about the Meetup, please send a Meetup message to the Meetup Organizer.


    We meet at the Irish Cultural Center, at 1106 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ, 85004.


    ***"McDowell and Central. Go South, turn Right after Irish Center"***


    The light rail is in the middle of Central Avenue, so you CANNOT MAKE A LEFT TURN on Central Avenue. You can basically only get to the center from one direction - make sure to start at McDowell and Central, and then go south.


    • DRIVING: Pass the Irish Center slightly, then turn right into the Irish Center driveway.
    Extra parking is at the old hotel lot just South of the Irish Center.

    • TRAIN: If the train is practical for you, the train stop is just ONE BLOCK away: Valley Metro light rail (train), for a $2 ride.
    - Roosevelt/Central Ave light rail exit.
    - Rides every 12 minutes around 6:30 PM until 7:30 PM. Rides every 20 minutes around 10:30 PM until 11:42 PM. (times are for both directions for the train) (as of November 11, 2011)

    To enter the Irish Cultural Center, walk into the gates at the northeast end of the ICC parking lot. Then it’s the first building on your right.

    *** Please note that the dance building is quiet. But just keep going - you are in the right place!

    (Photo Bob Rink,



    Please ask for Dan or Jim at the desk and they will greet you.

    If you happen to arrive after 6:45, someone will always be happy to give you individual lessons - just ask. But naturally it's nicer if everyone is learning the same moves at the same time. So this is why it is suggested: please arrive at 6:30.


    • A WATER BOTTLE. Fountains available.


    • Consider an EXTRA SHIRT

    • TIME BEFORE LEAVING HOME TO GET READY to be face-to-face with others

    • SMARTPHONE flashlight if using Portland parking on Culver parking.

    - Any heels worn should be wide, for you and for the floor. Please wear soft, closed shoes.



    • LIGHT PANTS, skirt, (or kilt!)


    Irish Ceili dancing is related Irish Step Dancing, which can be traced back to the 1700's.

    Irish Ceili Dances (casual social dances), are led by a "caller". The caller "calls out" the steps during the dance. Callers are certified by memorizing about 30 dances and travelling to Boston for an exam. Each dance is made of a 1-minute pattern repeated about ten times. Before each ten-minute dance, the caller leading the dance will take 5 or 10 minutes to explain the 1-minute pattern and walk you through a couple times. Please listen carefully to the caller. These dances are definitely do-able, but it really helps to listen for what to do. If you need more explanation, that should be fine - please tell the caller or ask an experienced person to tell the caller. Then, during the dance, the caller gives directions a second or two before you have to do the move.

    IMPORTANT TIP: Please do not jump too high. This is to avoid dizziness and injury. There's no time to jump anyway.

    CASUAL DANCE - There is no need to be perfect - please don't worry about footwork - but naturally, it helps to be in roughly the right place, so people might be pointing where to go, and it is normal if sometime during the night someone nudges you by your shoulder into the right spot, like to help you switch places with your partner. This is a community of people trying to help each enjoy this time-honored tradition, going back to the late 1800's at least.

    NO PARTERS NEEDED FOR EVENING AS WHOLE - If you are new and want to do a dance, just stand, and usually someone will ask you. You can also ask someone to dance. Just say, "Hi, my name is so-and-so. … Would you like to dance?" Women can ask men - and it is normal for women to ask men and for men to ask women.

    In some cities, it's traditional to change partners almost every dance. Also, for new dancers, it is encouraged to dance with experienced people your first couple 10-minute dances, so you can get off to a good start. During each dance we also dance with our "neighbors", and after a few dances you'll have danced with the whole other half of the dancers in the hall. This is what is meant by a "community" dance.

    The evening comes to a close at around 9:30. Usually many people hang out after just to talk and make plans.

    MUSIC - The music is traditional folk music, made up of jigs and reels. The band always has a fiddle, and usually has a tin whistle. It can also have Irish bagpipes (Ilyium), a flute, a bodhran drum, and various guitars - the banjo and the bouzouki.

    We hope to see you!

    WORKSHOP - We don't require any footwork at the main Ceili Dance, but you can practice footwork at a Ceili dance workshop. Please see the official website for info: Irish Cultural Center ( > 2nd and 3rd Friday Ceili’s. (However, now there are only 3rd Friday Ceilis though.) If you wish to see advance lessons of how to be in the right place at the right time:


    Many of the finest international traditions are done each dance evening. These are the same dances done around the world. These dances are re-taught each time, even when repeated from the previous dance evening.

    Common Phoenix Arizona dances include:

    The Siege of Ennis,

    The Walls of Limerick,

    The Waves of Tory,

    The Bridge of Athlone,

    The Siege of Carrick, and we always close with

    The Haymakers Jig.

    Step-by-step written instructions available (BUT NOT NEEDED; WILL BE TAUGHT):

    Common Phoenix Arizona dances

    Other Phoenix Arizona dances

    Again, steps are not required - it's ok to just walk or stand in place. But here's a summary if you've attended once: (DISCLAIMER: There have been different steps historically. This is INFORMAL. Also I am just a beginner.)

    for doing:
    forward, forward, back, back
    you can count,
    (intro - no motion)
    ..................................Right 2 3 -, Left 2 3 -,
    Right 2 3 -, Left 2 3 -, Right 2 3 -, Left 2 3 -
    which means
    R L R -, L R L -, R L R -, L R L -
    (as taught by J. and this video.)

    (M. teaches it as the following.  Note there can be multiple valid ways of doing steps.
    Right 2 3 -, Left 2 3 -, Left 2 3 -, Right 2 3 -
    which means roughly,
    R L R -, L R L R, L R L -, R L R L

    (Where Right means Right foot, not move right. The "-" represents the beat which is silent. There sometimes is an unspoken step on the "-" so that the next step can be on the "correct" foot.)

    SLOW 7's:
    ("sevens") (also might be called "sidestep")
    for going to the right, you can count, starting on the LEFT foot, not the RIGHT:
    (intro - no motion)
    ..............................Left 2 3 -, Right 2 3 -
    Left[masked] -, Right 2 3 -, Left 2 3 -,
    (and back left):
    Right[masked] -, Left 2 3 -, Right 2 3 -


    Old official article - Irish Cultural Center

    By the way, the Irish Cultural Center ( has a library and a genealogy center, and many great happenings, such as concerts, festivals, and classes - including fiddle, guitar, and tin whistle, and Irish language classes.

    Fellow groups who have held events at the Irish Social Dance ceili’s include: the CulturalAZ Meetup group

    Similar dances at the Irish Cultural Center: 4th Fridays: CONTRA DANCE PHOENIX Meetup (usually has Irish music). Tuesdays: International Folk Dance

    A group with Irish Set Dance (AZ Shindig Facebook) - "Waltz, Polka, English and Irish Set Dances in the community folk tradition!" "Sci-fi, Fantasy, Steampunk, Cosplay, and Historical Costumers dancing together."

    The intent of this IRISH SOCIAL DANCE PHOENIX Meetup group is to post:

    • social dances such as 3rd Fridays at the ICC,
    • some casual lessons,
    • possibly casual dances at local Irish academies,
    • dances with Irish Set Dance (AZ Shindig Facebook)
    • possibly meals before or after the event.

    About 3x a year, this group might post other events, such as:

    • Local fairs (St. Patrick’s Day at the ICC, fall Irish fair at the ICC, or the Highland Games by the Caledonian Society -
    • Other traditional dances at the Irish Cultural Center like Contra Dance and Phoenix International Folk Dancers
    • Riverdance-like concerts, or
    • Watching a Feis (a competition pronounced “fesch”), to encourage the youth of Phoenix in this fine tradition. (Or an Oierachtas - Irish Dance championship - word derived from "nobleman".)

    This Meetup group is happy to coordinate with the ICC and local Irish dance academies.

    Hopefully we can build a community. You might be sent a welcome message within a month, and follow-ups after events. Also we might ask you a couple months later or annually if you have any requests or ideas.

    WOULD YOU LIKE TO AUTOMATICALLY SIGN UP FOR MONTHLY DANCES? This is for you and so that you signed before the Announcements and Reminders, to show that more people are going. If interested, please contact Dan.


    (This way you can stay in the Meetup group without getting reminders)

    At the top of Meetup webpage, you can:

    • Click My Groups,
    • then E-mail Settings.
    • select Email Settings,
    • then please turn off just "Meetup reminders", setting it to Never.
    • (Sometimes 2-week-early announcements will still be sent out.)

    Note there are TWO Facebook websites:

    IRISH CULTURAL CENTER Facebook group


    For more information:
    Irish Social Dance Phoenix > Pages

    DISCLAIMER: The event is subject to change and might not happen exactly like this.

    P.S.: For ADVENTURERS: There are Irish Ceili dances held monthly in many cities, such as Milwaukee, Portland, Boston, and Minneapolis. Also there is Irishfest (, held in mid-August every year in Milwaukee, with at least 15 (FIFTEEN) stages - with 1 full-time stage for Irish Ceili dancing, with new and experienced dancers dancing together. And Irishfest has numerous week-long classes available.
    - Also, there are also many folk music festivals in Arizona throughout the year.

    P.P.S.: For Irish Dance music, this author recommends Dean Crouch.

    Please feel free to print out this page.

    See you at a Ceili!

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  • Dan
    Event Host

    Hi, I am the main organizer for a community dance group open to all... more

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