Out of all the subcultures that have come and gone, dance music had maybe the biggest impact on the styles, culture and politics of any.

Whether it was in fields in the middle of North Antrim and Down, Armagh & Derry, “Kelly’s” in Portrush,  “Kilwaughter House “ in Larne, “Charlie Heggarty’s” in Bangor, the dance scene lives on in today’s superclubs. Long time favourites  “Sugar Sweet” and “Choice” at the Art college in Belfast were some of the most interesting and influential clubs for people in Northern Ireland, and set the tone of what was to come. Dance music in Northern Ireland changed the way young people engaged with their own lives and with each other.

Dance music culture is still so ingrained in our city and still very popular. In this piece, curated by Second Chance Cinema, in partnership with Film Hub NI, we celebrate dance music culture in NI and present a short collection of archive films that take us back to a time when strange new words entered the Northern Irish teenage lexicon; words like peace, unity, love.

Belfast Dance Music legend Phil Kieran has curated a playlist of some classic tunes from the early 90s – when the music was at its peak:


Many thanks to our brilliant archive colleagues at Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive and PRONI for providing some of this footage from UTV.

Resolutions, The Right to Rave, copyright ITV and Waddell Media.

Dance Culture