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Norfolk Ceilidh Dances

Ceilidh is a term that refers to social gatherings that are held in large community halls where participants tell stories, take part in group dances, and enjoy sing-alongs. The Ceilidh can be traced back to Ireland and Scotland and is still practised today as a well-loved tradition. The history of the ceilidh is best remembered for its contribution to folk music and Norfolk dance. These events were historically facilitated for courtship; however, they have evolved in the contemporary world into multifaceted social outings, like weddings and birthday celebrations. You can see an example of a ceilidh here:

Barn dance

Over time, these traditions have developed into what have become known as the barn dance. A barn dance is a large open space filled with people singing together, telling stories and dancing. Some of these include the Britannia Two-Step, the Highland Barn Dance, the Circassian Circle and the Cumberland Square Eight.

The Britannia Two-Step

The Britannia Two-Step is a dance with three people, dancing around the room, facing reverse clockwise with a man between two ladies. The hands are joined while the left heel touches the floor just before the left toe touches the floor, all while bouncing on the right foot. There are numerous variations of the Norfolk ceilidh dances; however, one of the most popular is the Irish Riverdance.


The group Riverdance has become one of the most popular contemporary dance performers exhibiting authentic Irish ceilidh dancing. Celebrating 25 years of performances, Riverdance tours across the world performing amazing, culturally influenced dance shows.

Examples of some of these dances can often be seen in all kinds of pop culture, such as Disney's 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks' or in period dramas like that of Jane Austen's work. We wouldn't even be surprised if game developers will also incorporate these dances as background music for some of their online slots (see examples of music-themed slots here).