What is the difference between a Ceilidh and a Barn Dance?

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People are sometimes unsure of the difference between a Ceilidh dance and Barn Dance. The fact is that they are basically the same thing. Both have a caller who guides the dancers, and the band will play traditional folk music to dance to.

"Ceilidh" is the Scottish and Irish name, so this covers Scottish Ceilidh Bands and Irish Ceili Bands. (Notice the alternative spelling. Other versions are Caleigh, Kaley, kaylee, kayleigh etc. so you can't really spell it wrong!) The bands would mostly play Celtic folk tunes. Many songs are claimed by the Irish, Scotts, English and Americans, but the way of playing them would vary.

Barn Dance tends to be the English or American name, where English or American folk tunes would be played. Having said that, a lot of the dances are common to both a Ceilidh dance or a Barn dance.

Most bands play a range of music covering both the Ceilidh & Barn Dance genres, and do dance that spans all styles. This is particularly suitable for a wedding ceilidh or birthday barn dance, where all musical tastes need to be catered for. For an evening such as a Irish St Patricks night, or a Scottish Burns night, then a more specialist band might be more suitable. For St Paddy's, for example, you might want to hire a band that can also offer some traditional Irish songs. For Burns Night, you may need to find a band that offers more of a traditional Scottish Ceilidh, with traditional Scottish dances like the Dashing White Sergeant or Strip The Willow.

Read more about this on the following pages:

> About a Ceilidh

> About a Barn Dance

> About an Irish Ceili

> About a Scottish Ceilidh

> About an American Barn Dance

NOTE: Line Dancing is NOT the same as Ceilidh or Barn Dancing. See Line Dancing for more information.











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