Prince Edward Island has a lively set dancing group led by Helen Gough. Their demonstration group is called Laban Rua ("red soil," of course). They have regular classes each Wednesday, from September to May, at the Old Triangle in Charlottetown. Classes are held from 7:30 to 9:30, with the first hour for beginners. For further information, contact Helen.
Chain around the pillar, Marine Landing, PEI
The Prince Edward Island dancers hold a weekend of music-making and dancing every Victoria Day long weekend. The main attractions of the Annual PEI Irish Arts Weekend are that unbelievable Island hospitality and the opportunity to play tunes and kick up your heels dancing. Everyone welcome!
If you're planning to go for the weekend, you can contact Fred and Mary, to get directions, and let them know that you're coming. Please feel free to contact the Web Spinster as well, if you have questions.
Prince Edward Island Set Dancers held a weekend of traditional Irish social dances with Irish set dance teacher Elizabeth MacDonald of Scaip na Cleiti Halifax, November 10-11, 2007.
SATURDAY, November 10, 2007
All events took place at the Benevolent Irish Society Hall at 582 North River Road, Charlottetown. During the day, Elizabeth taught set dances and two-handed dances. At an evening ceili, an experienced caller led the dancing to traditional Irish instrumental tunes. Live music was provided by Roy Johnstone, Margie Carmichael and Cef Pobjoy.
SUNDAY, November 11, 2007
A traditional Irish music and dance session was held at Brennan's Pub and Eatery, Charlottetown. Music was led by Roy Johnstone. In the evening, a House Party with tunes and dancing was held at Nine Mile Creek.
Dancers and musicians from County Cork, Ireland visited Prince Edward Island in October 2007. Dance teachers Bert and Annie Moran led a workshop introducing the Irish social dances of southwest Ireland. Roger Scofield from County Cork conducted a workshop for pipers on the basics of Irish Uilleann Piping. A traditional Irish music session wrapped up the festivities.
Sets in the Irish style have evolved into their own forms in Atlantic Canada. Several have been published by Pat Murphy, and are now danced all over the world, even in Ireland! Thanks to Leona Dalton for the following information about one such set, the Lot 7 from Prince Edward Island.
History of the Lot 7 Set
This is the dance that the Irish, Scottish and Acadians danced in the western part of the Island for many years until the early 1960s when the Rock and Roll craze caught on with Prince Edward Island youth. Then the older people followed the trend and, for almost 40 years, the square dance was rarely danced in Lot 7 or surrounding areas.
Then in 2000 Fred Horne and Mary Burke approached a couple from Burton, Lot 7 and the task began of putting the sequence of the dance together. After much discussion and consultation with Dorothy Rogers, a former piano player for the square dances, the dance, as we now have it, was finalized. Many agree that it is not exactly as it was in 1960, but for now those who come to the annual dance will say that it is close enough.
Elizabeth MacDonald, an Irish dance instructor from Halifax, who lived in Germany 2003-2007, took the sequence of the Lot 7 dance with her and made it part of her dance instruction in that country. The Lot 7 dance has also been recorded by Pat Murphy, the well-known Irish dance instructor and preserver of Irish dance who lives in County Mayo, Ireland. Pat has taught the Lot 7 in Ireland, and in 2009 he published the dance in his third book, Apples in Winter. Since it is believed that the sequence has come down from the quadrilles which the first Irish settlers brought with them to the shores of Lot 7 about 1820, it can be said that the dance form has come full circle.