The reel is a term designating a traditional Irish dance, as well as the music that accompanies it. Very famous in Ireland, the reel quickly triggers ants in the feet, impossible to repress! In general, the Reel is very present in the Irish festivals, the folk dances, or the crazy music sessions given in the Pubs!
Whether in pubs or on the street, Reel is first and foremost a popular dance and music, played on any occasion and in any place. With a clearly defined structure, it is written in 4/4 or 2/2, and consists of a trill movement with an emphasis on the first and third beats.
Each musical phrase is played over eight bars, and is based on a question/answer dynamic. Thus, phrase A “questions”, while phrase B “answers”: a typical game of Irish folk dances!
The instruments used are often taken from the pure Irish tradition. You can hear fiddle, uilleann pipe, tin whistle, or bodhràn!
The reel is danced in couples, and is organized in two rows, where men and women face each other. Very energetic, this dance calls for supple, fast, and lively footwork.
Its high difficulty makes it a highly respected discipline. Ireland even organizes several times a year reel competitions, where the participants have to redouble their efforts to surpass themselves and impress an ever more demanding jury year after year.
Note that Reel can be danced in ghillies (soft dance shoes), or in hard shoes (hard dance shoes).