TUNE: Sally Gardens

To learn the tune we have:

  • Beat warmup using the tune every week 
  • Played Name that Tune: "Sally Gardens or NOT Sally Gardens" 
  • Clapped the rhythm of the melody
  • Lilted the tune along with Shannon

PERCUSSIVE SKILL: Controlling the timing of steps (To be in time to the music)

This class is mostly made up of children who have not yet learned to dance to the beat and children are capable of finding the beat, but want to be creative and so disregard the beat in the process. 


  • Counting 8s: The class counts to 8, while one dancer dances in time with their counting (and other variations of this game) 
  • Partner Beat Freeze Dance: 1 dancer leads, and does a pattern on the beat.  When the music stops, the dancers need to be in the same shape. 

Traditional Rhythm:  "The Connemara Basic Step"  and "Snoopy Shuffle" 

(NOTE: This is simply the name assigned to it when people started teaching.  These steps would not have had names, as they were being passed via absorption in dance/music communities) 


Mechanics: Hop (4) heel down (+1) heel down (+2) heel down (+3) 

Elements: Hop (quarter note), Shuffle (2 eighth notes, +1)


Mechanics: step (4) heel down (+1) step (2) heel down (+3)

Elements: Step, meaning the foot goes down with weight (quarter note), shuffle (2 eighth notes, +1)

Students have also been working on mixing up the elements or steps to make 8 bar steps.   This works on tradition AND personal style. 

Padraig o'hOibicin is a sean-nos dancer whose style of dancing uses beats and shuffles.   Look at his dancing below.

Personal Style: Improv Structures Used by Sean-nos Dancers

Again, these would not have been "set" structure, but are simply the ways in which sean-nos dancers communicate with each other! 

"Smiling improv": Dancing until someone else shows up and tells you to leave by smiling at you.  Dance off.   Use the Connemara basic step to get on stage, and then improv.  

"Eyeballs": dancing until you are finished, then looking at someone in the eyes to pass the dance to them.  Both dancers dance the Connemara basic until the next dancer gets going, then the first dancer drops out. 

Follow us on INSTAGRAM for weekly posts like this: