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Streetswings Dance History Archives: Jig
Jig DancE History Origins page
Jig DancE History Origin page

            The Irish Cengail seems to be cognate with the old French verb, Ginguer (to move the feet,) and the refrain of this dance song was perhaps like that of the Fer Gigaoila, which consisted of a humorous kind of giggling, in short catches of the breath, accompanied by sudden starts of the body. The Jig derives its name from gigg or giga, the name of a short piece of music much in vogue in olden times, which was of a joyous lively character, and consisted of two parts of eight bars each, and these of the shortest notes. It was in great favor as a dance tune at Irish fairs, and from the music the dance took its name.

      The "Gigue" borrowed its much disputed name in the seventeenth century from the English Jig, which in

turn comes from the old French giguer (to Dance). This verb has been traced to the old hypothetical Frankish Giga to the Old Norse Gigja. The Irish, Scotts, English and Americans all had their own Jigs, but Ireland was it's birth place.

     Tradition is that the Jig became a courtly dance in the time of Queen Elizabeth (1553-1603) and was introduced to the Continental

Courts in the reign of Louis XIV (1638-1715.) The Jig could have been a couple's dance at one time as, well known as "Gigue a deux" (see clip above), but only at one time (Feuillets Book-1699.) Martins book: "Irish Hayes, Jiggs and Roundelays" (1589) or Heywoods Country measures, rounds and Jiggs (1603), seems to state Jigs were choral or round dances for several people, however traditionally they were not. The jig became very popular in France during the 16th. and 17th. Centuries.

      Many fashionable dance figures were set to "Jig Melodies" (6/8), of the time and up till 1843, people were dancing hand in hand, around tables to to the measure of an Irish Jig. The Jig calls for a lively stamping of the heels and rapid footwork with a quiet torso. The Jig may be danced by one or more persons, as a solo or couple.

      One, two, or more persons took part in the dance, and he or she who could longest keep time to the liveliest music was considered the best dancer. The males usually carried in their hands a short stick called a 'shillelagh' which they kept constantly whirling to the time of the music, during the continuance of the dance. The singing of ballads was always interspersed with these dances, the dance not infrequently taking the place of our modern chorus. The basic music defines the speed of the dance with the music for a Jig being in 6/8 time and a slip Jig is 9/8. The popular dance shoe for the Jig today is the 'Boynewalk', 'Kelly' and 'Avriel' Irish Jig Shoe.

      According to many written articles, Master Juba (William Henry Lane) was the first African-American to dance the Jig in the United States in the 1830s. Johnny Diamond (1823-1857) Tommy Peel, who danced a match with Dick Carroll (AKA Master Marks) at Wallack's Theatre, April 16th., 1862, which Peel won.

     The Giga which has also survived as a couples dance in Italy, the two partners make two rounds and then "il suo balletto" (a courting dance). There are also the Muiñeira, which is a traditional Galician jig, The Muñeira: which is the same as the muiñeira, and the Muñeres: which is a traditional jigs from Asturias, Spain.


Birth Place

Creation Date

Creator

Dance Type

Ireland 1500s? Irish Folk / Court Dance
       

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music preview clip

Music Titles

n/a Jig Hop (1930) Video Clip not available at this time a gigg (Byrd)
      Jig Walk Video Clip not available at this time Barn Door Jig
       
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Fox Hunters Jig (Julia Delaney)
       
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Gallow's Jig (NOX Arcana)
        Video Clip not available at this time Gather up the Money
        Video Clip not available at this time Giga (Blavet)
        Video Clip not available at this time Gigue (Bach, Bembo, Brescianello)
     

CD, Compilations etc

Video Clip not available at this time Gigue (Corelli - 1720)
      $ Appalachia Waltz / Ma, Meyer, O'Connor Video Clip not available at this time Gigue In D (Corelli)
      $ English Renaissance Music Video Clip not available at this time Harbour Jig
      $ In Jig Time! - Brenda Stubbert
Video Clip not available at this time Humours of Caledon
      $ Irish Jig [IMPORT] - Gwendal
Video Clip not available at this time Jig Walk
      $ Jig It in Style
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Kemp's Jig (Paul and Marcie Forrest)
      $ Mad Buckgoat - Ancient Music of Ireland
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Monaghans Jig (Dave Hum)
      $ Rig-A-Jig-Jig
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Morrison's Jig (Dave Hum)
      $ The Art of the Bawdy Song Video Clip not available at this time Pine Bud Jig
      "Partita No. 3 BWV 1006 - Gigue" Video Clip not available at this time Porter's Lake Jig
      "Suite No. 5 - Gigue" Video Clip not available at this time Runaway Jig
      "Suite No. 6 - Gigue"
Video Clip not available at this time Rustic Jig
       
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Slip Jig (Ger Fahy)
          ~ See: Full Jig Music List

Night Clubs

Theaters

Locations

Dicken's Dance House (1835 ) 1840 - Vauxhall Gardens Old Fly Market
      1861 - Wallack's Theater Salisbury Court
                 

Video Clips (pop-up)

Movies / Films

Video Clips (pop-up)

Television

Ballets / Stage

Video Clip not available at this time 1898 - Clog Dancing
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1/1/1958 - Jig Time (above clip) 1942 - Mozart's Gigue
Video Clip not available at this time 1898 - Irish Jig (I, II) Video Clip not available at this time Jig Gig 1942 - Mozartmania
Video Clip not available at this time 1898 - Sailor's Hornpipe     Balmoral Castle Fetes
Video Clip not available at this time 1898 - Scotch Reel     Riverdance
Video Clip not available at this time 1902 - La Gigue      
Video Clip not available at this time 1909 - La Gigue merveilleuse    

Publications

Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1941 - Jungle Jig (Dandridge) dance/no Jig     $ Irish Dance Tunes for All Harps: Jigs, Reels
Video Clip not available at this time 1949 - Jigar     $ Ryan's Mammoth: 1050 Reels and Jigs: (Song Book)
Video Clip not available at this time 1986 - Tall Man Executes a Jig by Irving Layton     $ Howe's 1,000 Jigs and Reels: (Song Book)
Video Clip not available at this time Lord of the Dance (Clog, Step)     $ Between the jigs and the reels
Video Clip not available at this time Riverdance (Clog, Step)     $ Between the jigs and the reels
Video Clip not available at this time Harlem Harmonies Vol. 1 (Dandridge)      
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
Jig ...the Movie!      

Other Related Dances of the time...

Arkansas Traveler Espringall Lancashire Clog Sir Roger - De Coverly Tap
Barn Dance Fandango Pedestal Dance Spanish Dance Virginia Reel
Breakdown Flamenco Plantation Breakdown Square Dance Zip Coon
Buck and Wing Hornpipe Reels Step Dance  
Chica Irish Cengail Rigoletto / Rigaudon Stomp  
Clog Juba Dance Shim Sham Strathspey  
 

Associated Jigs ...

American Jig (De Coverly) Haymakers Jig Munster Gigue Single Jigs Dress in Ireland - Book  Available thru Amazon.com
$ Dress in Ireland
Double Jigs (1852) Heavy Jig (Comp) Muiñeira Six Penny Jig
Geige (German) Jig Allemande (1866) Old Noll's Jig Slip Jig
Giga (Italy) Jiggs Sailors Jig (English) Tater the Road
Gigue Kemp's Jig Scotch Jig  
Half Penny Jig Light Jig (Comp) Singin' Jigs  

Historic Dancers, Choreographers etc.

Political

Bill Price - (1860s) Frank Kerns - (1860s) Master Jerry ?- (1860s) Louis XIV (1638 - 1715)
Billy Carlton - (1860s) Gallus Wright Master Juba - (1840s) Charles II (1661 - 1700)
Billy Hedden - (1860s) George Christy - (1850s) Matt Peel - (1850s) Queen Anne (1665 - 1714)
Billy O'Neil - (1850s) Hank Mason - (1860s) Mickey Warren - (1860s) Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901)
Billy Quinn - (1860s) Hank Mudge - (1860s) Mert Sexton - (1850s)  
Billy Woods - (1860S) Irving Layton - (1989) Pete Lane - (1860s)  
Ben Mallory - (1850s) J. H. Clifford - (1860s) Rube Innard  
Ben Miner Jerry Bryant - (1850s) Sam Collyer - (1860s)  
Bobby Newcomb - (1860s) Jimmy O'Connell - (1860s) Stanley Zompakos (NY - 1945)  
Thomas Dartmouth ("Daddy") Rice Joe Brown - (1860s) Tam O' Shanter ?  
Dick Carroll: Master Marks - (1860s) Joe Miles - (1860s) Tim Hayes - (1860s)  
Dick Pelham - (1840s) Johnny Diamond - (1840) Tim Norton - (1850s)  
Dave Reed - (1860s) Johnny Durang - (1768-1822) Tommy Peel - (1860s)  
Dick Sands - (1860s) Johnny Golding - (1860s) Uncle" Jim Lowe   
Dick Sliter - (1850s) Johnny Hutton Wash Norton - (1860s)  
Earl H. Pierce- (1850s) Johnny Thompson - (1860s)    
Eleanor Powell Johnny Queen - (1860s)    
  Master Barney    

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title

Author

Date Published

Publisher

The Dancing Master Playford 1650 n/a
Jig, Clog & Breakdown dancing made easy Jig & Clog dancers of America 1873 E. James
World History Of Dance Sachs, Curt 1973 W.W.Norton
       

Musicians

'Irish Jig' - Cocktail

Poets / Writers

Bach, Johann Sebastian - (1685-1750)
  • Ingredients:
n/a
Bembo, Antonia - (c.1670-1720) ~ 1/2 oz. Irish Creame  
Brescianello, Giuseppe Antonio - (1690-1757) ~ 1/2 oz. Irish Whiskey    
Byrd, William - (1543-1623)
  • Directions:
   
Blavet, Michel - (1700-1768) ~ Mix ingredients.    
Corelli, Arcangelo - (1653-1713) ~ Serve over ice.    
Dowland, John - (c.1563-1626) ~ (Don't Drink and Drive!!!)    
Dubliners, the        
Handel, George Frideric - (1685-1759)        
Geminani        
McKowen, James (1814 - 1889)        

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

Celtic shillelagh Kilt
Ceilis
Curinky (Dance Master) The Paisdin Fionn Paddy Hat Shillelaghs

Other...