The following text has been contributed by Sean Kilkenny
Since the advent of shows such as Riverdance and Lord of the Dance we now have a phenomenal interest from people across Europe who want to learn this unique art of Irish Dancing. Its versatility, style technique and the life it exudes has become a major attraction for people spanning all age groups. Rooted of course, in Ireland, it has spread with its migrants to Britain, North America, Australia and New Zealand in the last two centuries. In these places it is well structured and vibrant. Irish Dancing forms the basis for other types of dancing in these regions.
As its attraction in Europe is very recent few organized outlets for its development exist. Along with a few highly experienced qualified Irish Dancing Teachers operating in the Netherlands and Germany, The Commission of Irish Dancing (Worldwide Governing Body ) has established an association in Mainland Europe. These teachers recognize the need for maintaining its high standards, which have been its hallmark since its foundation. The Commission is most anxious to embrace, in an orderly manner, the ever-expanding number of people wishing to be part of the international family of Irish Dancing. This family includes well-known celebrities such as Michael Flatly, Jean Butler and Colin Dunn. They grew through the ranks of An Coimisiun. This association is necessary, as its well-established cohesive structures will ensure the implementation of necessary high standards for teachers and students alike. Presently, throughout Europe we find courses being offered at high cost to the participant and given by instructors with little training or background in this dance form. In our opinion this needs to be controlled as the fear is that it will kill the present enthusiasm which exists.
Feiseanna and Cheilithi are gatherings where dancers meet to compete and have fun, learning from each other and exchanging ideas. Such an event will take place in The Arts Center, Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands, during the 13/14 April. It will also be the venue for the "Official" launch of An Coimisiun and Association of Irish Dancing Teachers Mainland Europe. 400 Irish dancers are expected to attend representing many European countries, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Austria and Finland, just to mention a few. They meet to compete and have fun with their dancing. Adjudicators and musicians are invited from Ireland to officiate at this event. Medals and trophies will be awarded to the winners and a Monster Ceili will be held on Saturday night starting at 21:00. A feature for this evening will be displays from various Irish Dancing Schools and Groups operating across Europe. A bumper packed weekend of Irish Dancing is in store.
Of course it is not possible for such an event to take place without financial help. Its possible for you to take out an advertisement in our "Program of Events", A logo can be posted on our very popular web pages. Without your assistance this event is not possible. It is envisaged that this event will receive large media coverage both here in the Netherlands and Europe wide.
For further details please check www.celticborder.nl/feis.html.
Sean Kilkenny, Herenstraat 22b, 2511 EA, Den Haag, Netherlands.
Ann Gallagher, Julianastraat 29, 4661 JP Halstern, Netherlands.