It’s been a long road for traditional Manx dance, which came close to being lost before enjoying a revival that started almost 100 years ago. Now another important step has been taken with the online release of a set of six Manx dance films. Produced by Culture Vannin, these are the first set of Manx dancing instructional films to be made freely available.
Filmed over the past few years, the lessons are led by Grainne Joughin and demonstrated by the young dancers of Skeddan Jiarg. Based in Peel they are one of the many Manx groups popularising the Island’s traditional dances. They have been so successful that many of them now have waiting lists for eager local people wishing to join.
“Dancing is so important to the living culture of the Isle of Man,” said Dr Chloe Woolley, Manx Music Development Officer at Culture Vannin. “These films will enable even more people to take part.”
A growing interest in Manx dancing both on and off the Island (including America, Australia, Brazil and Russia) was one driver for the creation of the films. Until now, scarce books, old video recordings or attendance at a Manx dance group was the only way to learn the dances.
The six films now teach some of the best-known and loved Manx dances: Hop tu Naa, Flitter Dance, Chyndaa yn Bwoailley (‘Return the Blow’), Cur Shaghey yn Geurey and the Manx Girls Jig (simple & full versions). This is just the start with the production of more films now under way.
Dr Woolley adds, “Whether they are used by dance groups, school teachers or interested individuals, we are excited that these films will enable even more people to take part in one of the most exciting and enjoyable aspects of our culture.”
The films are available at: www.culturevannin.im