Catskill Irish Arts Week Logo
July 14-20 2024


Bridie Dal Pizzol: Biography and Class Description



Born in Cloonacool, County Sligo, a little village outside Tubbercurry, our house was always filled with MusPicture_028(1)ic,  Dance, and Song. Every night our Dad would play the fiddle and “Ramblers” would stop in with their fiddles and flutes to play a few tunes. We would dance a set in the kitchen–they were small then and they all had a dresser filled with good dishes. That’s where the saying came from “round the house and mind the dresser”. Johnny Ross, Sunny Kildea, Peter Horan, Fred Finn, Harry McGowan, James Murray, and Martin Ginty, they were all there. What great music! We only danced one set – The Sligo Lancers, and then a Half-Set. At the dances around home we would dance a Quick-step, a Waltz, and then our Set.

I emigrated to New York City in 1961. I met my husband John at the Tuxedo Ballroom (dancing of course). We moved to New Jersey (Cliffside Park and then to Fort Lee), where we now reside. We raised our family (3-children) and now have (6) grandchildren. Set Dancing was getting very popular again and John and I went to a well-known teacher Kathleen Collins and were then hooked on Set Dancing. I couldn’t believe there were so many sets to learn. We went to Willie Clancy Week in Clare every year doing workshops with all the great Dance Masters – Connie Ryan R.I.P.; Aiden Vaughan; Pat Murphy; Padraig & Roisin McEneany; to name a few. Then to Tubbercurry for more workshops and Ceili’s. I was lucky John loved the dancing as much as I.

We started teaching twelve years ago. We have classes at three locations in New Jersey; Rahway, West Orange, and Bergenfield. John demonstrates the steps and figures with me and keeps the music going. I have advanced dancers but I love to see the beginners coming and always make them welcome. Our classes are a lot of fun!

I am Chairlady of the Michael Rafferty–Joe Madden Branch of C.C.E. a recipient of the 2008 Comhaltas Founders Award, a recipient of the 2012 commendation from the New Jersey General Assembly, and, a 2012 recipient of Special Congressional Regognition for fostering and promoting Irish Culture and Heritage in Bergen County, N.J.. The Branch holds its Ceili every third Sunday of the month from September through May. John and I have been featured Set Dance Instructors on Gertrude Byrnes All-Star Irish Cruise. On the last cruise I had the privilege of teaching The Three Priests, internationally known singers from Northern Ireland, to do the first figure of the Connemara Set which we danced on stage after Mass. That was a real highlight for me. e-mail:


My approach to teaching Set Dancing is to start with the basic steps one should know for Reels, Jigs, Polkas, and, Hornpipes. Timing is critical to dancing the steps properly. It’s important to listen to the music while dancing. Once the basics are in control I will teach a Set. John and I will demonstrate the figures and steps for the Set. Once your footwork is in place you will learn the moves for the Set. My classes are fun and you will learn timing, basic footwork, and, some traditional sets. It is rewarding for me to see students eager to learn. I love passing on my love for Set Dancing.