Irish Step Dancing: Boys' Participation

Figure 1.--Boys vary in their attititude toward Irish step dancing. Most are incouraged by their moms. A few continue dancing after their early teens, but many decide to pursue other interests.

Irish dance has evolved in other ways during the 20th Century. Instruction is beginning at a younger age. Who is instructed has also changed from mostly males to mostly females (the turning point was before 1930). Girls dancing solos in competition were rare before the 1920s. Both boys and girls participate, but the great majority of the dancers are now girls. Often less than 10 percent of the dancers are boys at modern feises. Many mothers would like to incourage their sons to dance, but are unsure as to just how to do it.


Boys have provided comments on their dance experiences. A lot of keen dancers are discouraged by their friends, many of whom don't think a boy should take dancing lessons. Girls and mothers also have some useful comments about boys taking dancing lessons.

How to Interest

HBC asked Irish dancers as to how to incourage boys to participate in Irish step dancing. Danmcers have provided many interesting suggestions. Some of the responses included:

Christopher Wagner

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Created: January 4, 2000
Last updated: November 28, 2000