Lifestyle: Deeversions – Ceili Fit
Our Dee’s been looking for a brand new diversion to keep her active and motivated during the week’s drudgery, so we sent her to a series of keep-fit and active living classes so she could
warn everyone about the horrors of an active lifestyle choose what worked best for her. This week, Dee’s deeversion is Ireland’s own traditional mating ritual. No, not the slow set. Céilí.
Cork-based Dee attended Tuesday’s Céilí Fit class at the Classic Bar
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It’s a strange thing to be in a club out of business hours. Upstairs in the Classic Bar on South Main Street usually hosts ‘Roxy’, where scantily clad youngsters do their version of a sexy dance to modern chart music.
But not from 8pm to 10pm on a Tuesday night. No, that’s Céilí Fit time.
Fionán Cogan instructed the crowd through his microphone and gave the odd little demonstration to ensure we had some idea of what we were doing. Which was handy, because at the start we didn’t have an iota. In all fairness, you do get in to it, and it does start to make a bit more sense when the music starts.
I brought along my long-time friend Ellen who wasn’t a total stranger to céilí dancing. Yonks ago, the two of us went to Cape Clear for Irish college and were forced to do it there. Ok, admittedly, there wasn’t much forcing involved because céilí dancing is such a laugh. And it was the same this time around.
This was the first class that I was under-dressed for. As the word ‘fit’ was in the class title, I kitted myself out as if it were any other fitness class: runners, tracksuit pants, tank top and hoodie. Because everyone else was in jeans and other standard day-to-day clothes, myself and Ellen looked a bit like a pair of scumbags that had just wandered in.
I started off dancing with Ellen (her playing ‘the man’ seeing as she’s a decent bit taller than me). We were a bit shocked when we had to switch partners after the first dance. However, it’s surprising how you get used to other people and start chatting away between sets. And don’t worry, you eventually get used to the terminology, like ’round the house’ and ‘show the ladies’.
One thing which did get a little confusing was that there was a lot more women than men (about 90% to 10%). This meant that a lot of women were playing the role of the man, so you never knew which ‘man’ you are swinging towards next.
I think what I enjoyed most about this class was how relaxed it was. Everyone was just dancing and enjoying themselves. There was no absolute need to get it right and there was no competitiveness.
More importantly in the context of our Deeversions series, it’s also one hell of a workout! I was sweating a lot more than I thought I would, and I felt fantastic afterwards, rather than drained and sore. Not only are you moving and most definitely burning calories, you are learning a skill that most of us have long forgotten. If you were to go back week after week, you would only improve. As would your waistline.
As workouts go, it’s a million miles from cycling a stationary bike or delicately stretching a limb. It’s about getting fit and learning a talent. And a two hour class cashing in at five euros, where’s your excuse? I would in fact, defy anyone to go to a Céilí Fit class, or *gasp* a real life céilí, and not enjoy ‘shoeing the donkey’. Just mind your partners toes.