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Michigan Celtic hosts a variety of music and dance workshops on Friday night and throughout the day on Saturday Festival weekend. Workshops include Tin Whistle, Sea Shanty Singing, Bodhran Drum, Fiddle, Step Dancing, Contra Dancing, Ceili Dance, and "Try An Instrument" Workshops. They're led by local experts in their fields, and are open to beginner through advanced-level participants! Try one or many, and bring your own instruments to learn more about how they work. 

2024 Workshops

Friday Night: 

Workshops will be in various locations around the festival beginning at 6:00pm - please plan to arrive at 5:45 P.M so you can get to your workshop on time!

6:00 pm

Participatory Contra called by Maeve Devlin (AACTMAD) - Building G

Contra dance is a form of folk dancing made up of long lines of paired partners. A caller teaches each dance before it is done to the music. and guides new and experienced dancers alike through a variety of dances.


Intermediate Fiddle - Devon Martene from Steel City Rovers - Bring your fiddle! - Foyer E-F

It looks like a violin because it is the same instrument, although they may use different string material: a violin player typically uses gut or synthetic-core strings, while fiddle players usually use steel strings. But the real difference between playing violin and playing fiddle is attitude.


Sea Shanty Singing - Banjo Betsy & Friends - Killarney Stage

Sea shanties were work songs, devised to accompany particular actions or tasks on board ship. Frequently humorous and always jaunty they helped keep time among groups of sailors working together on repetitive tasks.


Ottawa Valley Step Dance Workshop - Moire Kosmalski - Dublin Stage

 Ottawa valley Step Dance is like tap dancing to Celtic Music.

Beginning Tin Whistle - Tristan Pruss (DIMA) - Foyer C-D

(Whistles available for purchase.)

The tin whistle is a simple six-holed woodwind instrument. It is a type of fipple flute, putting it in the same class as the recorder.

Bodhran Drum - Elizabeth Collins (DIMA) - Foyer D-E

(Bring your own drum or use our “pizza box” drum.)

The bodhrán is the iconic Irish drum – originally used to carry peat and harvest, the bodhrán was a tool first and a musical instrument second.


7:00 pm

Ottawa Valley Step Dance Performance - Explorers Home School Dancers - Dublin Stage


7:15 pm

Sean Céilí Irish Dance Performance - Dublin Stage


7:30 pm

Participatory Céilí called by Liz Heinzman of Ardan Academy of Irish Dance - Building G

Pronounced kay'lee, Irish céilí dancing is the native group dancing of Ireland and is danced to traditional Irish music. In Scotland it is a fling, and in the US we know it as square dancing.


Session led by DIMA - Building E


We couldn't do it without them.


AACTMAD is the Ann Arbor Community for Traditional Music and Dance, a nonprofit participatory membership organization that enriches people's lives and sense of community through traditional music, dance, song, and related arts.

As a longtime supporter of the workshops offered at the festival, they have provided funding, advice, encouragement and many folks who share their passion and wisdom at the workshops.


The Detroit Irish Music Association (DIMA) is a non-profit organization, dedicated to preserving and promoting traditional Irish music and culture in Southeast Michigan. Since 2010, it has proudly been based at the Green Wood Center, on Ann Arbor's east side.


DIMA has long supported and nurtured the Workshops at the festival as well as several generations of traditional musicians in the Detroit area, going back to the 1970's. 

Thank you! 

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