Hello everyone. Jerone here from thesession.org. I posted this discussion there, but it's dance related so it didn't get much feedback. So, I'm posting it here.

I managed to finish Emma O’ Sullivan’s, "Step by Step", sean-nos dance dvd a few weeks ago. Though I enjoyed the dvd, I feel it was a bit advanced for me, as I have now mentally learned all the steps but can’t physically perform them to a self-satisfying standard; even after taking months to learn them and consistently practicing them for weeks and continuing to look over them after finishing the dvd. Though I am intending to get all of the available DVD’s in due time, I’d now like to learn from something simpler and more incremental.

Note: This is NOT intended to be a bad review for Emma O’ Sullivan’s dvd. I actually enjoyed it a lot, and appreciate the steps she taught. I can even recognize them when I see them, whether it’s her or someone else dancing. The problem is, I’ve never been a good dancer. I’ve always struggled with learning dancing, no matter the style of dance, or method of learning; self-taught, in group settings, or private instruction. My legs and feet just weren’t ready for the awesomeness she had to offer.


So with all of that being said, which would you recommend as a good restarting point?

There’s Ronan Regan’s and Maldon Meehan’s "Dance Sean Nós for Beginners" and "Dance Sean Nós".
http://www.seannosdance.com/store/

Kieran Jordan’s "Musical Feet".
http://kieranjordan.com/musical_feet.php

Mary Beth Taylor’s "Sean Nos Dance for Everyone" and "Sean Nos Jigs for Everyone".
http://www.irishdancedublin.com/Page.aspx?id=68&l=1

And Nora Stewarts "Learn to Dance: Beginners Irish Jigs and Reels".
http://www.setdancing.com.au/irish-dance-dvd/

They all seem to be aimed at beginners, and I'm not sure which one would be the best for me. I'll be working from it for the rest of the year so I want to choose wisely before my intermission is over. I plan on ordering the next tutorial in a few weeks. Thanks for any info you have on these tutorials or dancing in general.

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My recommendation is that if you are starting out on any skill-set including dancing, you are going to do better if you can get a hold of some in-person instruction.  Materials to self-teach yourself work much better once you have a firm grasp of the basic concepts.



Julian Lambertson said:

My recommendation is that if you are starting out on any skill-set including dancing, you are going to do better if you can get a hold of some in-person instruction.  Materials to self-teach yourself work much better once you have a firm grasp of the basic concepts.


I don't have access to a person, there is no Irish culture where I live. Tutorials are my only option.

Been there, I understand.  I don't know myself about those DVDs but here is a link to an Irish Dance Forum I found, perhaps they can help you out.  Good luck with the dancing!

http://www.voy.com/60473/



Julian Lambertson said:

Been there, I understand.  I don't know myself about those DVDs but here is a link to an Irish Dance Forum I found, perhaps they can help you out.  Good luck with the dancing!

http://www.voy.com/60473/


Thanks Julian. It looked like a competition step-dancing site, but I'll give it a shot. I've been playing the music for some time now and my feet and legs have been itching to dance for a while. I like Sean-Nós the most. Thanks for the recommendation :)

No problem good sir.  Best wishes with your endeavors!

Hey Jerone,

it's been a while since you asked this but I figured I'd still answer, even if you no longer need it maybe it will be useful to someone else.

I completely understand your position - back when I started with sean-nós a couple years ago there was literally no one in my country (or anywhere near for that matter!) doing it. I was fortunate enough to have step dancing experience from one of the best schools in the region, but still it was a style I had to figure out on my own. I've got a couple of the dvds you mentioned - long story short, I'd recommend either Kieran's or Mary Beth's. Below you can find a couple impressions on those that I have. Hope it helps!

Kieran Jordan - Musical Feet

I just love Kieran's style as a dancer, and to a complete beginner I think her DVD is the most useful. The steps are broken down nicely, and the progression is really natural. It has some hints for improvisation, as well as a bit of theory on how to approach it. This spring I started my first class for complete beginners, and this one really helped define the structure of the course and the step progression. Her other DVD - Secrets of the Sole is also a great resource to learn more about the history and the style variations, as well as a lot of great dancing from her, Kevin Doyle and Aidan Vaughan.

Mary Beth Taylor

I only have her "Jigs" dvd - I found it well balanced, the steps are conveniently broken down, and the mix of difficulty is really good, the first steps are easy to pick up, with the later ones getting more challenging. A great thing she does is that she dances each of the steps at three speeds, so it's good for exercise. Note that at least the Jig DVD is mostly done on the toes. From what I can see in the promo, it seems the reel one is more conservative, but I haven't seen the whole thing to be sure. Not saying one is better than the other, but good to know if you have a preference. This one won't help your improvising skills much, but it is very useful to learn the steps.

Edwina Guckian - Second Nature

http://edwinaguckian.com/product/second-nature-sean-nos-dance-tutor...

This one wasn't out at the time you wrote - it's a bit challenging for a beginner: Edwina doesn't spend too much time breaking down the steps, some elements you really have to pick up on your own. The plus side is that this helps develop a more personal style from the start. Also she included a LOT of recordings of dancing by her and her students - this felt really useful to me because I didn't see so much actual sean-nós dancing on any of the other dvds - it really helps to see all those steps put into use by different dancers. As I said, it's definitely more challenging than the others (possibly similar to what you experienced with Emma's? Not sure - I still haven't purchased that one :)), but I feel you can learn so much more from it if you are persistent enough.

Nora Stewart

Haven't got the dvd, but I did visit an online course she had - she really breaks things down and works to really slow music, so it's really easy to learn from. To me it was even too slow, but I did have previous experience, so probably that was a part of it too. The problem is that by the end of the thing, you really only get to know the basic elements of the dance. Possibly she has more material in the dvd, but I'd be cautious with it.

Ronan Regan

Not sure about the disc with Maldon Meehan, but the one that's only him (Dance Sean-Nós for beginners) is best avoided - it's very repetitive, and most of the steps he gives are really rhythmical exercises rather than dance steps. Sure, the elements he gives can be used as part of an improvisation, but I feel he really doesn't give you enough foundation to be able to push it further on your own.

Brian Hart

Ed Yother (obviously a great guy) uploaded videos from a workshop with Brian Hart here. The videos are short and not all of them are broken down, but when I was starting out and before I was able to get more active in getting dvds, this was really a great resource for me.

Hope you're doing good with your dancing!

Cheers!

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