Jean Butler's Irish Dancing Master Class

Jean Butler
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Instructional / How To Videos

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This is not an exercise tape per se, but it is listed in Collage's catalog so VF'ers may be interested in it. It uses the same format as the New York City Ballet workout tapes and Ballet Bootcamp (ie, short segments for each exercise with a warmup and a cooldown). I only have a smattering of Celtic dance and I admit I had trouble, but I've only attempted it once. Next time, I will make sure I am not on carpet (I have a hard plastic mat that I can lay on my carpet that I can use instead) and I will start by using the glossary which has some pointers on how to do the trickier steps slowly then build up speed.
I must say that while I know it will take me a loooong time to get some of the stuff down, I can tell it will be fun trying.
Jean Butler is joined by four (?) other dancers (all 20-somethings in black basic workout attire, two guys, two girls). The set is much like Kathy Smith's Lift Weights to Lose Weight tapes and others (ie, a brick wall background and plain floor), with the added appeal of Gothic Church-style windows (they reminded me of a church I once attended). Also, the music was contemporary Celtic, interesting and fun. (There are some demo and performance segments that I won't review here. One of them uses music by U-2.)
I was the one who reviewed the other Irish dancing and Irish-inspired tapes. (BTW, this one was better for beginners than the one done by Jean's co-star Colin Dunne.)If you are completely new to Irish dancing, try one of the Olive Hurley tapes first, then try this one when you are completely comfortable with those. Then try this. Then perhaps we'll be ready for Colin Dunne's.

Instructor Comments:
Jean Butler is the female star of Riverdance and apparently she has taught Irish dance before. She's very pleasant to listen to but don't be deceived by descriptions that say beginners can do this. They probably can (by watching the glossary, of all things) but it would help to have at least a smattering of dance knowledge, especially Irish dancing.

Laura B