Journal of
Music and Dance

  • Abbreviation: J. Music Dance
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2360-8579
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMD
  • Start Year: 2011
  • Published Articles: 23

Full Length Research Paper

Examining “The book”: How perception, power, and practice altered memory of Irish Ceili dances

Helen Buck-Pavlick
  • Helen Buck-Pavlick
  • Independent Researcher, Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 29 May 2020
  •  Published: 31 January 2021


This paper is an ethnographic examination and exploration of the power politics of the Ar Rinci Foirne and the subsequent changes in perceived nationalism, stylizations, and memory of Irish dance as it refers to both the practiced repertoire and textual archive of ceili dancing within Ireland and the Diaspora. The researcher examined each iteration of the Ar Rinci Fiorne antecedent and relevant texts the socio-political climate following the Irish Civil War, and the aims of the Gaelic League to determine how the textual archiving through the 2014 edition of “Ar Rinci Foirne'' affected embodied memory of Irish Ceili dancing. Theories of transculturation, ethnography, post-structuralist criticism, archiving with thematic and chronological examination of texts were utilized with a qualitative methodology. Through the intentional inclusion and exclusion of dances, the Ar Rinci Foirne functions as codification and propaganda of Irishness through dance, while systematically altering and erasing embodied memory of ceili dances within Ireland and the Diaspora.


Key words: Irish dance, ceili, ethnography, embodied memory, folk dance.