Irish Set Dancing
John Slaymaker
Sunday, June 10, 2012, 2:00pm
Dance 1 -- Room 226

Ever been at a pub or concert where they were playing hot jigs and reels, and your feet were tapping, and you wanted to jump up with your friends and dance but you didn't know what to do that fit the music? Well then, take this class! Irish Sets are social dances in groups of four (or sometimes two!) couples, and are danced to every sort of Irish tune you can imagine -- reels, jigs, slides, hornpipes, polkas, waltzes, even marches! The patterns of the figures are intricate and fun, and there are often pauses for getting to visit with your partner while the other couples take their turn at the figure.

John Slaymaker learned his first dance steps at the all-ages Starry Plough Pub in Berkeley in 1989, first began teaching in 1993, and has taught the beginning class at the Plough every Monday night for the past thirteen years. Though he has had the great privilege of competing in the High-Cauled Cap 8-hand with the Annie McBride School at the 2000 Nationals Feis in San Francisco, his true calling is the social dancing -- what to do when there's a lively reel or jig playing and folks want to get up and dance! He has taught in venues ranging from the grand ballroom of the International House, to wedding halls, to sylvan glades in the redwoods, and has recently enjoyed sharing the Clare Mazurka, Baile Bhoirne Jig, Clare Lancers, and numerous other sets with four years' worth of Cal students through the excellent dance program at the Berkeley Campus YWCA. This is John's 9th appearance at the SF Free Folk Festival as an instructor.