Ceilidh: also known as Scottish Dancing or jumping around
Two or three times per year the Medlanky area of Brno witnesses a small invasion of kilts, tartan, whisky and bagpipes. Photo: Michal Kula
Brno, Mar 18 (BD) –The sound of the fiddle, drums and guitars playing traditional Gaelic music, wonderfully performed by Alastair Edwards and his band, is accompanied by the enthusiastic whoops (and sometimes train noises…) of over 100 dancers who range in ability from complete novices to spectacular performers.
Originating in Ireland and Scotland the ceilidh /ˈkeɪli/ has evolved over the decades with the main focus of the evening now being on dancing as much as possible. Here in Brno the ceilidh attracts a wide range of people and is organised by Skotsky Pes (Scotch Dog) who are a group of Czechs with a passion for Irish and Scottish culture. The majority of participants are Czech although there’s usually a handful of non-Czechs including Mike Scott who is the dance caller.
Mike travels over from bonny Scotland to teach each dance and instructions are translated into Czech by one of the several capable Skotsky Pes members. Many of the dances are easy to pick up – you only really need the ability to move your feet and be able to count to a maximum 16 at the same time; something which most people can manage even after beer, wine or/and whisky. Some others are a little more complex which can lead to a lot of hilarity for both participants and observers.
With fascinating names such as The Flying Scotsman (which is a train and why you will make choo-choo noises), Strip the Willow, The Military Two Step and St.Bernard’s Waltz, the pace of the dancing varies with the more energetic dances being interspersed with waltzes in order to give time to recover. You can also catch your breath, and refresh your glass, while watching sterling bagpipe and dance performances.
One of the joys of the Brno ceilidh is its informality and, unlike Czech or more formal balls, it is not necessary to be accompanied by a dance partner.
Dances are usually in pairs or sets and it’s perfectly acceptable to ask a stranger to dance or for women to take the role of a man (or vice versa). This is a perfect opportunity to dance and laugh with people you have never met before as well as your own friends. The dress code is informal and while most of us like to dress up I strongly recommend comfortable shoes for both your own comfort and that of other dancers.
In addition to all of this, there is a raffle with an interesting variety of prizes, a bar run by Skotsky Pes which offers the usual range of drinks at reasonable prices and the whisky bar, run by The Whisky Shop, offers an excellent range of delectable drams.
Having been to almost every Brno ceilidh in the last 12 years, thoroughly enjoyed them all and introduced many people of different nationalities to the joy of ceilidhing this is an evening I can personally highly recommend.
The next ceilidh is Saturday 24th March 2018 at Sypka, Medlanky. Tickets cost 230kc and more information can be found at http://www.skotskypes.cz/.