Denton Celtic Dancers bond over Scottish culture

Denton Celtic Dancers bond over Scottish culture

Denton Celtic Dancers bond over Scottish culture
November 07
15:04 2017

Scotland is known for its mountains, the Loch Ness monster and the fact that its national animal is the unicorn.

Aside from its quirks and natural wonders, the Scottish people also highly value their country dances. In fact, love for these dances has spread all over the world and can be found in Denton through Denton Celtic Dancers.

The leaderless group has been around for over 25 years and currently offers Celtic dance classes at the Patterson-Appleton Arts Center, located at 400 E. Hickory St. Classes are $1 per session or free to students and happen at 5 p.m. on Sundays. Newer dancers start dancing at 6 p.m., but are encouraged to come the hour before to observe the more experienced dancers as they learn advanced moves.

Participants believe this kind of dancing is as much about exercise and tradition as it is about fun and socializing.

“I enjoy having to stop and think about learning a dance, and I enjoy the comradery and friendship of the group,” dancer Barney Cosimo said.

And you certainly don’t have to be Scottish to participate. Cosimo is 80 percent Italian and has Middle Eastern ancestry.

Even though dancer June Skinner does have Scottish in her blood, she loves that this type of country dancing can be found throughout many different cultures.

“The thing about Celtic dancing, specifically what we do in Scottish country dancing, is it is just such a fun type of dancing that it’s not restricted to people with Scottish heritage,” Skinner said. “People do it all over the world. You can go to Japan, and you can find a Scottish dance group.”

Although the group mainly practices Scottish dance, there are actually six countries that are considered the “Celtic nations,” including Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall and the Isle of Man. They may be similar to one another, but each of those countries has a certain kind of dance.

Along with being available to all cultures and countries, the Celtic dancing also has a sense of timelessness. Skinner appreciates the old-fashioned, chivalrous nature of the dance.

“Most of us women today, we work like men,” Skinner said. “But on the dance floor, we are the ladies. The men have to ask us to dance and they bow. It’s kind of nice.”

Newcomers should know that they do not need a partner or any sort of special costume. Just come with comfortable clothes, soft-soled shoes and, most importantly, an open mind.

“I like dancing with a partner and having to work out the dances together instead of individually,” dancer Estefania Dean said, who is one of the youngest members in the group at 19 years old.

The group hopes to attract younger members because most of the current dancers are older. Dean gets along with the other group members and believes that it is always a good experience to work with older people.

New dancers do not need any prior experience — Celtic or otherwise. They can also observe the more experienced dancers before they start learning. The group is welcoming and excited to share this culture with new people.

“Those who don’t grow up with it can be taught and we’re here to do that,” Skinner said, “It’s not for everybody, but the people who love it really love it.”

For example, Dean originally found out about the group from a friend. After one lesson, she knew that she liked it enough to come back every week.

“It’s definitely worth coming out here for two hours every Sunday,” Dean said.

People who are interested should not be afraid to get out of their comfort zones. Cosimo has been trying to get his wife to try Celtic dancing with him for the past 25 years, but she still doesn’t want to. If it sounds interesting, don’t wait that long.

The more members the group has, the more fun the dances will be. Beginners will start off with basic concepts, but eventually they are able to do jigs with the more experienced dancers.

“When everybody is on the same page and they know the dance, you can really move with a great deal of flair,” Cosimo said, “If you were wearing a kilt, you could kick up your kilt, so to speak. But Italians are not allowed to wear kilts.”

For more information on Denton Celtic dancers and their classes, visit www.dentoncelticdancers.org.

Featured Image: The Denton Celtic Dancers Community perform traditional Celtic dances at the Patterson-Appleton Arts Center on Nov. 5. The Denton Celtic Dancers Community host weekly Celtic dance lessons weekly that are free for students wanting to learn about Celtic dancing history. Sara Carpenter

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Camila Gonzalez

Camila Gonzalez

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