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Learn to ceilidh dance | Circassian Circle

Circassian Circle is one of our favourite dances and our preferred way to start the ceilidhs we lead. It is fun, very easy to learn and gets all the guests up together in unison. It provides a great opportunity to get everyone up and in to it. It can also provide focus. At a wedding the bride and groom can go in the middle for instance, giving the guests even more reason to cheer at the appropriate parts of the dance.

The Setup

For this dance, you need to come on to the dance floor in couples. Come on to the floor holding hands with your partner (the guys right and the girls left hand) and join up with all the other couples in a massive circle around the room, everyone facing into the middle. So in each couple, the man should be on the left and the woman on the right. So as you look round the big circle that has formed you should see boy, girl, boy, girl, boy girl.

The Dance

The dance starts with everyone walking in to the middle of the circle for 4 beats. On this 4th beat they raise their hands in the air and shout or cheer. They then walk backwards to where they started for 4 beats. This repeats. Again everyone walking into the middle for four beats and on the 4th shouting or cheering, before walking backwards to the position they started the dance.

Next up, the ladies walk into the middle for four beats and on the 4th beat jump up in the air, clap their hands and make a girly scream. They then walk back to where they started for four, back to where the gentlemen have been patiently waiting. It is now their turn, so while the ladies wait the gentlemen do their walk into the middle for four. On the fourth beat they clap their hands and let out a deep manly grunt. With this done, they walk back to their partner for four and turn to face her.

Now each couple crosses and joins hand and spins on their own for 16 beats.

With this done, they then walk anti-clockwise round the circle for 16 beats.

(This is called a promenade and can be done with holding inside hands, with hands round each others waists, backs, or however you feel comfortable)

Then you are back to the start of the dance! And everyone joins hands in the massive circle, ready to begin again....

Visualise it

Here's a video of some guests enjoying this dance at a wedding we played at the beautiful Walled Garden in Cowdray earlier this year:

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