Tuesday Tunes: Michael Flatley!

Tuesday Tunes

Tuesday Tunes

 

 Today is the final day of our St. Patrick’s Day

celebration and what better way to end it than with…

 

 

The Lord of the Dance: Michael Flatley!

 

 

I will be a dancer until the day I die

 

Flatley is a native of the South Side of Chicago.  He is of Irish American background, being born to Irish parents. He began dancing lessons at 12 and, in 1975, became the first non-European resident to win the World Championship for Irish dance. He is a trained amateur pugilist as well as a proficient flautist, having twice won the All-Ireland Competition. In dance, Flatley was taught by Dennis Dennehy at the Dennehy School of Irish Dance in Chicago, then went on to produce his own show. After graduating from Brother Rice High School, on Chicago’s Southwest Side, he opened a dance school.

Flatley created and choreographed the original Riverdance and led the show to great success as the intermission act in the Eurovision Song Contest on April 30, 1994. Flatley then starred in the full-length show that was developed from the seven-minute number.

After the show’s first run in London, Flatley left Riverdance in late 1995 due to problems over creative control. He then produced, directed, and choreographed Lord of the Dance, which played mostly in arenas and stadiums instead of theaters. He also put together a dance production called Feet of Flames in 1998. He later went on to produce another version of that show with around 50% different numbers from the 1998 show. Titled Feet of Flames: The Victory Tour, he toured Europe in 2000 and the U.S. in 2001.

In December 2001, Flatley became the first recipient of the Irish Dancing Commission Fellowship award, an honorary degree in Irish dance, and was simultaneously made a Fellow of the American Irish Dance Teachers’ Association. Irish America magazine named Flatley Irish American of the Year in March 2003. In 2004, Flatley received an honorary doctorate degree from University College Dublin, and that same year received the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor in New York.

Flately’s latest Irish dance show is Celtic Tiger, which opened in July 2005. The show explores the history of the Irish people and Irish emigration to the U.S., fusing a wide range of dance styles, including jazz. The show also includes popular elements from his previous shows, such as Flatley’s flute solos and the line of dancers in the finale.

In 2007, The Freedom of the City of Cork was conferred on Flatley at a ceremony in Cork’s City Hall. In 2008, he was conferred with the Freedom of the Borough of Sligo at a ceremony in Sligo City Hall. The Variety Club of Ireland presented Flatley with their Entertainer of the Decade Award in 2008.

In the fall of 2007, Flatley and a troupe of male dancers performed on Dancing with the Stars in the U.S. In 2008, he appeared as a guest judge on an episode of the show, filling in for Len Goodman. Also in 2008, he performed the solo “Capone” from Celtic Tiger on the show. Flatley was also the host of the 2009 NBC series Superstars of Dance.

Flatley returned to the stage in 2009 for a limited run of the “Hyde Park” version of Feet of Flames in Taiwan. His return was met with multiple standing ovations and the run of shows had to be extended to meet the demand for tickets.

In 2010, he returned to headline the Lord of the Dance show, with performances in arenas across England and Ireland, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Lord of the Dance 3D, the film of the return tour, debuted in theaters worldwide in 2011.

Also in 2010, Flatley launched The Garden of Music and Memory in Culfadda, County Sligo, the village his father left to seek a new life in America. The ceremony included a speech and an impromptu performance of one of his father’s favorite tunes.

In 2011, he was inducted into Irish America magazine’s Irish America Hall of Fame.

Flatley released a flute album titled On A Different Note in 2011. The 25 tracks include airs and tunes he has played in his shows, other traditional tunes, and new compositions.

 

 

Rivedance! Seven minutes that started in all at the 1994 EuroVision Song Contest

 

Feet of Flames Solo 1998 London

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWZAuMhRp1A

 

Dancing with the Stars 2008
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-btZEPuH88

 

Fun Facts About Mr. Michael Flatley 

 

Flatley was the first American to win the World Irish Dance Championships and he also won numerous All-Ireland Flute Championships.

From 1978 to 1979 he toured with Green Fields of America, and in the 1980s he toured with The Chieftains.

He received the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship in 1988.

In May 1989, Flatley set a Guinness Book world record for tapping speed at 28 taps per second.

Flatley was named one of National Geographic Society’s Living Treasures in 1991 for mastery of a traditional art form by a living person – the youngest person at that time ever to receive this accolade.

Flatley broke his own record for tapping speed in February 1998, by achieving 35 taps per second.

Flatley also received Guinness Book recognition in both 1999 and 2000 for being the highest paid dancer, earning $1,600,000 per week and for having the highest insurance policy placed on a dancer’s legs at $40,000,000.

Tuesday Tunes: Colin Dunne!

Tuesday Tunes

Tuesday Tunes

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day Tuesday Continues with…

         Colin Dunne!

 

Colin Dunne was born 8 May 1968 in Birmingham, England to Irish parents. Colin Dunne took his first lesson in Irish step dance at the age of three with the Comerford School in his hometown. At the age of nine he won his first World Championship title and was the first dancer to win the World, All England and All Ireland titles in the same year. From the age of 12 he was taught by Marion Turley in Coventry and when he retired from competition at the age of 22, he had won a total of nine World, eleven Great Britain, nine All Ireland and eight All England titles. He was influenced from an early age by tap dance – Gregory Hynes in particular – which contributed to his often complex approach to rhythm within the structures of traditional Irish music. His musical approach to dance was also aided by his ability to play piano by ear. For years he played as a dance accompanist at competitions in the ragtime style of Irish dance piano music.

At the age of 19 he was the youngest person ever to receive an Irish Post Award in recognition of his achievements in Irish dance. Fellow award winners that year included poet Tom Paulin and theater director Declan Donnellan. Previous winners included Bob Geldof, Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker.
Education.

Between 1992 and 1995 he toured regularly with musical groups The Chieftains and DeDannan. The former saw him begin a dance partnership with Jean Butler. The latter lead to a memorable performance with Frankie Gavin and Stéphane Grappelli at Belfast’s Ulster Hall, and then to a collaboration with American tap dancer Tariq Winston for the Irish Society St. Patrick’s Day Ball in New York in 1995. Six months later Dunne would find himself working with both Butler and Winston in Riverdance.

Dunne joinedthe cast and creative team of Riverdance in October 1995. He was initially invited to choreograph and perform the newly commissioned number Trading Taps with Tariq Winston. However, with the departure of original male lead and choreographer Michael Flatley the day before the re-opening of the show at The Hammersmith Apollo in London, he found himself taking over the principal role on short notice. He toured with the production for three years, taking the show to its US premieres in New York (Radio City Music Hall) and Los Angeles (Pantages Theatre) and also to Australia. His performances were recorded for the Riverdance – Live from New York DVD in 1996. Further choreography credits for the production followed: Firedance (with Maria Pages), Heartbeat of the World (with Maria Pages) and Heartland Duet (with Jean Butler). Special TV appearances during these years included The Royal Variety Show (The Dominion London), The Kennedy Center Honours (Kennedy Center in Washington D.C), and the Grammy Awards (including a duet with Savion Glover) at Madison Square Garden, New York.

In June 1998 Dunne left Riverdance to begin work on a new project with Jean Butler. Dancing on Dangerous Ground was based on the myth of Diarmuid Agus Grainne and was produced by Harvey Goldsmith and Radio City Music Hall. The show had its World Premiere at The Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London in December 1999 and went on to perform to full capacity at Radio City Music Hall in March 2000. Although the show received critical acclaim in New York, it failed to capture the imagination of audiences and critics in London. It closed in June 2000.

After an eighteen-month period living in New York, Colin returned to Ireland in 2001 to take a position as dancer-in-residence at the University of Limerick at the invitation of Micheal O’Suilleabhain. He began focusing on the creation of short solo works, interrogating the space between his traditional dance roots and contemporary arts practice. He presented short solos at The Vail International Dance Festival in Colorado, Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton and The Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. As part of his final MA he choreographed “Headfoot” for the Daghdha Dance/Yoshiko Chuma production of 10,000 Steps, which closed the first Dublin International Dance Festival.

Since finishing his Masters in 2002 he has sought collaborations with contemporary choreographers in parallel with his own solo creative work. In 2003 he worked again with Yoshiko Chuma in the Daghdha production of The Yellow Room (with dancers Mary Nunan and Olwen Grindly and actor Padraic Delaney). In 2005 he joined Michael Keegan Dolan’s Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre for their production, The Bull, which controversially played for two weeks at The Dublin Theatre Festival, in a role which many saw as a self-parody. His performances in The Bull at the Barbican in 2007 earned him a nomination for a UK Critics Circle National Dance Awards (best male: modern dance). Other work during this period included choreography for The Abbey Theatre (The Shaughraun 2004) and performances with The Irish Chamber Orchestra (Carna, written by Bill Whelan, tour of Ireland in 2004 and Carnegie Hall in 2005). A recording of the chamber piece can be found on the album The Connemara Suite.

Since 2002 Colin has been a regular guest tutor at the University of Limerick on the MA in both Traditional and Contemporary Dance and the BA in Traditional Dance and Music. He has also toured his Masterclass series in the US, Europe and Russia. In 2004 he was invited to teach in Shanghai and Beijing during a two-week residency as part of the China-Ireland festival. Later that year he returned to Birmingham to teach six National Express coach drivers for the Granada TV production, For One Night Only. In 2006 and 2007 he was a regular commentator and judge on the RTE Television show Celebrity Jigs and Reels. He also wrote and presented a four-part radio series for Lyric FM called The Story of Tango (2003).

His first full-length solo show Out of Time premiered at Glór Irish Music Centre in January 2008. This multi-disciplinary work (dance, text, sound technology and archival film footage) saw Dunne return to the question of his traditional dance roots from the perspective of a contemporary practitioner. His ongoing work is supported by The Arts Council/An Comharaile Ealaion; since 2004 he has received 2 bursary awards, a commission award and a project: New Work Award.

 

 Riverdance 1996: American vs. Irish

 

 Colin Dunne and Jean Butler in Dancing on Dangerous Ground

 

 Colin Dunne: Out of Time

Tuesday Tunes: Jean Butler

Tuesday Tunes

Tuesday Tunes

 

 

It’s March! Tuesday Tunes is all about Irish Dancing and its most famous dancers!

 

           Jean Butler

 

 

 

Jean Butler was born in Mineola, New York. Her mother, Josephine, is from County Mayo in Ireland. She has an older brother, Michael, and a younger sister, Cara. She started ballet and tap classes at the age of four. She eventually quit both. She began Irish dance lessons at the age of six, which she quit promptly. “I hated it,” she says. “They made me stand with my arms at my sides for two hours. So, I left. I was too young.” She tried Irish dance again at age nine, this time with a different dance teacher, Donald Golden, whom she considers to be one of the most influential people in her life. About a year into Irish dance, she became very serious with it and quit the soccer and baseball teams.

Jean has performed with Green Fields of America and Cherish the Ladies. She debuted with The Chieftains at Carnegie Hall at the age of seventeen, and toured with them on three continents. In England, Butler met Irish dancer Colin Dunne and they performed together in Mayo 5000 in 1993.

In 1994, under the invitation of producer Moya Doherty, she performed in a seven-minute intermission piece at the Eurovision Song Contest entitled Riverdance. The piece was co-choreographed by Butler with Michael Flatley. The response was so explosive that it was extended into a full show, starring Jean Butler and Flatley. The show toured for about a year. Flatley then abruptly left the show over creative control; six months later she was joined by Colin Dunne. They then danced at the famous Radio City Music Hall in New York City, New York. This was later put on DVD. After a long and extremely successful run with the show, Butler also eventually left Riverdance.

She and Dunne (who had by then also left Riverdance) collaborated again to create the show Dancing on Dangerous Ground, which was based on the ancient Irish legend of Diarmuid and Gráinne. It opened in London in 1999 to critical acclaim, and then in New York.

She premiered “Does She Take Sugar?” on 12 April 2007 at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin.[10] With Colin Dunne and George Hook she is a judge on the Radio Telefís Éireann reality series Celebrity Jigs ‘n’ Reels.

She retired from active dancing in 2010.

In January 2011, it was announced that she had designed and released her own jewelery line. The collection was launched at Showcase Ireland at the RDS later that month.

 

Riverdance 1995: The Countess Cathleen

 

The Late Late Show: Tribute to Michael Flatley 1998

 

Andy’s Bar  byKila