Manx Dancing

Manx dancing underwent something of a revival in the 20th century. Though it obviously has a much longer history, the collection and publication of Manx folk dances between 1938 and 1983 by cultural activist Mona Douglas was a key catalyst, alongside the Manx folk revival of the 1970s. From the latter emerged a number of dance groups that reconstructed many of the dances from Douglas’ researches.

Perhaps the most widely performed Manx dance today is the hop-tu-naa, which is connected to the festivities of the same name held at the end of October. It is a basic processional dance for any number of two pairs of dancers. This simplicity allows it to be taught to children in Manx schools from a young age and it is seen both at both céilís and at many of the community events organised across the Isle of Man for hop-tu-naa itself.

The vibrant nature of Manx dance today is reflected in the existence of five dance groups ranging from the very traditional to contemporary in both costume and style. Manx dancers represent their island at inter-Celtic and international festivals around the world, performing in competitions and giving demonstrations.

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Manx Dancing