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Dance - The Lewes Ceilidhs

About 15 years ago I went to Ireland to visit a girlfriend’s family for the first time. The first night I met the mother and father and brother and sisters in Dublin. The second I met the extended family of the father at a 40-strong dinner party in Killarney. The third night we went back to Dublin and there was a ceilidh, with her cousins and friends. Until that point, I’d done pretty well. I felt I’d been quite a hit. I got a few pints down before it started. ‘This’ll be a breeze,’ I thought. ‘Bit of jigging around.’ The ceilidh started. It wasn’t a breeze. It was an extremely complicated, extremely energetic dance routine that everybody knew how to do but me. I kept missing my steps, trying to grab the wrong person’s hand, and bumping into people. After ten minutes I was out of breath, covered in sweat, and completely demoralised. I slunk into a corner and nursed my pint of Guinness. ‘Never again,’ I thought.

Tonight ‘The Lewes Ceilidhs’ are putting on a dance. The caller is Gill Emerson, who does a lot of weddings and is famed for her skill in getting everybody up and dancing, whether they’re experts of first timers. “The idea is for everybody to get up and have a bit of fun,” she says. “There’s absolutely no pressure on beginners to do it right.” She has pre-booked the All Saints for a number of shows over the next few months with the idea of The Lewes Ceilidhs becoming a fixed date in the Lewes Social Calendar. Never again? Well maybe one more time… AL

Jig and whistle: Lewes Ceilidh will launch at the All Saints tonight

All Saints Centre, Friars Walk, Lewes
When? 7.30pm
How Much? £8/£7 (£5 for kids)