Marie Brouder has been teaching Set Dancing with Melbourne Comhaltas for over 20 years. Here is her own story of how she got in to set dancing.
” I started set dancing in Ireland in the early ’80’s when the big surge in it’s popularity was happening. It was my sister that got me involved in joining a group that was taking part in the GAA “Scor “, they were missing one lady for the group, as they say the rest is history, I was hooked. When I arrived in Australia in 1988, I became a member of Comhaltas (I was a member of my local branch Leixlip at home). Back then nobody had heard of set dancing, so I started to show them what I knew and it just took off from there.
Set Dancing, like the Irish language, was kept alive in small pockets around Ireland but in the 70’s, a Tipperary man Connie Ryan started classes in Dublin and classes were also held in the Pipers Club. Now there are dance classes all over the world. Here in Australia you can go to a set dance class in nearly every state and see it demonstrated and taught at most of the Folk festivals.
Matt Harriage has started teaching with Comhaltas in recent years.
Matt has been dancing in competitions for most of his life and is also a very talented musician.
He plays several musical instruments and has played for ceilis at many festivals and dance weekends.
We have been very fortunate over the years as some great teachers have come out from Ireland to do weekend workshops in Melbourne.
For example: Pat Murphy (Tipperary), author of the dance books “Toss the Feathers, “Flowing Tide” and “Apples in Winter”, Ger Butler (Roscommon), a great Sean Nos dancer & teacher, Patrick O’Dea (Co. Clare), Joe Mannix (Co. Cork), Jerry O”Reilly (Dublin), Mary Clancy (Co. Clare), Mairead Casey (Co. Longford).
If you want to have a good night of dancing and great social night out, why not pop in to Comhaltas on a Wednesday night from 7.30pm – 10pm”
Set dancing has been popular in Ireland for nearly 200 years.
It is usually danced by 2 or 4 couples to traditional Irish music.
Instructions for 80 sets are provided on this popular site: