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Colin Dunne's Celtic Feet (Molly's two very Celtic and very left feet)
on 22 February 2009
Yes - I was thrown out of ballet classes at the age of 9 because I (unintentionally) made the other girls laugh.
No - I am not in the first flush of youth (soon to be a grandmother), but I love Irish music and dance and would like to know the basics in order to have fun and keep fit.
Colin Dunne is very good at what he does ("look mother, I'm skipping") but I didn't find his personality very engaging (possibly due to nerves), and it took a good deal of rewinding to fully understand the moves.
Although this was by no means as baffling and elitist as Jean Butler's Master-Class, it still took an awful lot of getting used to.
If this was just an old-fashioned VHS I could forgive its lack of navigability; but the DVD format makes it ideal for an 'update'.
Ideally there would be a more advanced menu with repeatable sections, freeing users from having to constantly hit the rewind button whilst wobbling across the floor.
I also found the inclusion of a live audience quite distracting, rendering it a performance, rather than a serious guide to the steps and (for me) it further diminished the notion that this was a dancing lesson.
This was filmed a very long time ago and in the first flush of Riverdance mania. Colin has since achieved a Masters' degree in dance - so I'm sure he would use a different approach if he were making the video in 2009.
At the top of my list would be for Colin to be filmed from both front and back - so it could be viewed in split-screen format. Having two very Celtic - but very left feet;I think that the steps could then be more easily copied from the student/ viewer's vantage point.
Maoliosa Bond has produced a Beginners' Irish Dance DVD for children - and although this is also fairly dated, she does have the sense to show how the steps look from the back and front; demonstrating footwork slowly and repeatedly before moving on to the next. In contrast (and rather like my old maths teacher), Colin tends to rush on to the second part of the lesson before the first part has been fully absorbed.
If you are truly despairing of ever understanding the basics, I cannot recommend the old faithful VHS Child of the Dance too highly. Although it is of the same vintage as Colin's offering; the very un-starry (yet excellent) teacher Conor O'Donnell's enthusiasm and patience is a complete joy.
If it were to be transferred to DVD and given a menu, it would be a sure-fire hit.
Fortunately for us despairing 'diddly-i' dancers; Conor has masterminded a new DVD for adults. It is called Traditional Irish Dancing and (sorry Colin) I await it with great excitement, knowing that it will be perfectly clear and thoroughly enjoyable.