About us

The Prague Irish Set Dancers is a group of enthusiasts who meet regularly in Prague to dance Irish set dances together. The group was officially founded in 2008, though set-dancing in the Czech Republic has had a longer history. 

It started around year 2002 from two separated sources. Helena Janousova returned to Prague after one year of living, working and set dancing in Dublin, with a strong wish to continue the dancing back home. She found a few step and soft shoes dancing groups, but no set dancers. She realised the only way to dance was to teach it to others. She got in touch with one of the existing Irish dancing groups Coisceim (with Irena Samcova), and with its support set up first set dancing workshops for their dancers. She also invited some dancing friends from Ireland for more and better workshops – Angela Bernard with Brian Boru Band, Brendan Taggart. In 2004 she started to teach a regular class once a week. The official class ended with her maternity leave in 2006, but not the dancing! The dancers continued to meet and “kept alive” the few learned sets until her return a year later.

In the meantime, at the other end of Prague, Vaclav Bernard, the manager of another Irish dancing group, Rinceoiri, fell in love with sets at Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay. He too felt an urge to bring this experience to dancers back home, and so he invited set-dancing teachers Joe and Janet O´Hara to his Summer School of Irish Dancing in 2003. This class has been a regular part of the Summer School ever since, led by Joe and Janet till 2008, and by Gerard Butler in 2009.

In 2007 Helena went to Vaclav´s Summer School and the two sides came together finally. Helena´s enthusiastic friends and Vaclav´s experience, contacts and spirit for organisation combined, set-dancing in Prague took a huge step forward.
With more dancers, more workshops with Joe and Janet O´Hara (more discipline at practices ?), we finally decided to give ourselves a name and create a web page – The Prague Irish Set Dancers were born.

We have almost three sets of dancers and meet regularly once a week for practices. Once a month we have a public training in Yacht Club Pub. (Visitors are welcome to both!)
About four times a year we organise weekend activities – a workshop or a weekend out, with a combination of dancing with tourism and sight-seeing, plus occasional public performances. In 2009 we felt that we were ready for some “real life experience” and decided to give it a try in Miltown Malbay at the Willie Clancy Summer School.

We will be happy to share our impressions in a few weeks!

Finally we would like at this point to thank our overseas friends and teachers who do not hesitate to undertake long trips to Prague and share their knowledge of set-dancing with us. They do it absolutely free of charge, driven only by their friendship, enthusiasm and love for set-dancing. Thank you, Brendan Taggart, Joe and Janet O´Hara, Angela Bernard, Julien Stracey, Gerard Butler! 

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