Living History: Celtic Dance Workshop & Performance Lecture by Tames Alan

Orcas Center Presents

in the Madrona Room











June 25
Workshop at 3:00 pm
Performance lecture at 7:30 pm
in the Madrona Room
Tickets: $8
$5 Subsidized Tickets available at the Box Office

Celtic Dance Workshop: Scottish ceilidh

From the mists of time, music and dance have intertwined throughout the lives of the Celts, making it impossible to separate it from their culture. It has become so integrated into the Celtic people that it has become a way to preserve their identity through troubled times. Ceilidh (pronounced Kay-lee) dances started out as, and many still are, gatherings in people’s homes. Family, friends, and neighbors got together to play music, sing, dance, and read poetry. This was a way to keep the bardic traditions alive, especially when they were suppressed by those in power. Eventually these gatherings grew too large, so they moved to the village hall. Now some ceilidhs are held on a regular basis.

Ceilidhs are a celebration and are held for a variety of reasons, such as weddings, births, historic events like the crofters being able to buy their land back from the English Laird, or just because people feel like gathering and playing music and dancing. At a ceilidh, if someone wants to get up and sing a song or recite a poem, everyone respectfully listens, and that, too, is part of the tradition that goes back to ancient times.

No matter where a ceilidh is held or for what reason, they are always lively events with live music and vigorous dancing.

This workshop offers a choice of three simple Scottish ceilidh dances. The Circassian Circle, a very simple mixer dance for a many as will; two versions of Strip the Willow, the Orcadian, (Shetland), and Highland, a longways dance for as many as will; and The Flying Scotsman, a longways dance for groups of eight.

Learning Among the Oak Groves:

In this program, Tames talks about what it was like to live in ancient Britain at the time of the Roman invasion. She explains the hierarchy of the Celtic tribe and the binding factors between the tribes–the Druids and Bards. She also talks about the Celtic holidays and tells how and why they were celebrated and about the very special relationship the Celts had with the lands and waters they worshipped. She explains the training a person received for his rites of passage and for his chosen craft, be it smith, hunter, or herdsman.

Part of her program centers on Celtic women and their training as wives, warriors, and leaders of worship. Included is a discussion of art, music, and dance. As with her other Living History Lectures, a question and answer period follows. This program is suitable for elementary grades on up. It has been given as a general history program to younger students, a cultural background program for students of British history, and as a clothing program for costume and textile students. The program is especially beneficial for college-level history students because of the hands-on experience they gain concerning the Celtic era of British history. It is also a fun cultural event for general adult audiences and lovers of history and clothing.

With so many people in North America being of Celtic descent, this program gives an insight into how our ancient ancestors lived during the height of their empire. Tames studied theater and history at Willamette University in Oregon, and theater at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and Dell Arte School in California. Throughout her theatrical career, she maintained her interest in history and costuming. Tames has taught fashion history at the Art Institute of Seattle, offering a class that combined fashion history, social history, and women’s studies., More recently, she has been a speaker for the Washington State Commission for the Humanities in their Inquiring Minds series.

Tames Alan

Tames Alan is an actress, historian, and fashion history teacher who has combined her skills to create Living History Lectures for people of all ages.  Since 1986, she has been touring her programs throughout the United States and Canada, where she is known for her in-depth research and lively presentation style.  In the Northwest, she is the most popular speaker in the history of the Washington Commission for the Humanities’ Inquiring Mind program and has received several grants from WCH to tour her programs to rural and undeserved areas of Washington state.

Tames studied theater and history at Willamette University in Oregon and theater at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and the Dell Arte School in California. For many years, she taught fashion history at the Art Institute of Seattle, offering a class that combined fashion history, social history, and women’s studies. She is an historical consultant to museums, libraries, and historical festivals throughout the Pacific Northwest. Tames has had a passion for dance most of her life. She has trained and performed in a variety of dance styles all over the West Coast. Throughout her performing career, she danced with the Oregon State Ballet, Newcastle English Country Dancers, the Veil of Isis Dancers (Middle Eastern with an emphasis on modern Egyptian), Elliott Bay Morris Dancers, and the Ballard Locks Long Sword Team. She is an avid contra dancer and enjoys waltzing and swing dancing with her husband.

Click here for Living History events with Tames Alan at Random Howse

Click here for more on Tames Alan and Living History Lectures!

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917 Mt Baker Rd, Eastsound Wa. 98245