Jean Butler: this is an Irish dance – Danspace Project
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Jean Butler: this is an Irish dance

Photo: Lucy Dawson

Advance tickets for Saturday evening’s performance are sold out. A wait list will begin at the door at 7:15pm.

This 4-night run is co-presented and co-commissioned by Danspace Project, Irish Arts Center, and Project Arts Centre, Dublin.

Tuesday night’s performance is followed by Q&A with Jean Butler and Danspace Executive Director Judy Hussie-Taylor.

Jean Butler’s last Danspace commission, hurry (2013), invoked the choreographer’s celebrated past in Irish Step Dance. Her new duet, this is an Irish dance, created with Belfast-based cellist Neil Martin further unearths her roots by returning to the relationship between live music and movement as the compositional departure point for the work.

Inspired by the interdependent relationship between music and dance and the formal spatial relationship between dancer and musician that characterizes her tradition, the piece explores the often-invisible interplay between dancer and musician in live performance. The movement and music, created simultaneously through improvisation during the piece’s development, raise questions about who is leading and who is following.

this is an Irish dance reveals a dialogue between music and movement, movement and sound, sound and space, space and sculpture, sculpture and body, body and instrument, cello and cellist, cellist and dancer, and ultimately a man and woman.

This evening runs approximately one hour.

Based in New York City, dancer and choreographer, Jean Butler is best known for originating the female principal roles and co-choreographing Riverdance The Show and Dancing on Dangerous Ground-the later of which which Anna Kisselgoff of the New York Times reviewed as “channeling Irish step dancing into genuine artistic expression.” Her current work, which bridges the gap between a culturally specific practice and a contemporary approach to dance making, has been commissioned by Danspace Project, The Project Arts Centre, and the Abbey Theatre. Butler is Assistant Professor of Irish Studies at Glucksman Ireland House at NYU.

Belfast-born composer Neil Martin’s output spans dance, opera, film, theatre, television, studio, choral, symphonic and chamber works. A cellist and uilleann piper, he has collaborated with a broad spectrum of artists including Sam Shepard, Stephen Rea, Barry Douglas, Bryn Terfel, Christy Moore, The Chieftains, The West Ocean String Quartet, The Dubliners, the London Symphony Orchestra and all the professional orchestras in Ireland. In his roles as producer, arranger, musical director and performer, he has contributed to more than one hundred albums and his music has been heard everywhere from Carnegie Hall to Mostar Bridge, and from the PalazzoVecchio to the International Space Station.

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