Topics in Irish Literary, Visual, & Performing Arts

This course serves as an introduction to the history, form and embodied performance practice of traditional Irish step dance. Over the course of the last two decades, the image and lexicon of Irish Dance has changed enormously and irreversibly. From the exclusive world of competition governed by the auspices of An Coimisium le Rinci Gaelacha (the Irish Dancing Commission) to the spectacle shows in the Mid-90’s and beyond, a dynamic shift in the global perception of Irish Dance has consequently challenged notions of authenticity, tradition, and modernity. Throughout this course, we shall develop a basic knowledge of the history and lexicon of Irish step dance, and use that as a departure point for broader considerations. We will look at traditional form, stylistic variations and the peripheral social and political influences that shape it. Throughout the course we will also examine ideas about cultural elasticity, identity and appropriation in relation to the Irish and the Diaspora. Seminal works ranging from the popular shows, such as Riverdance, Lord of the Dance and Dancing on Dangerous Ground, to the specialized works of contemporary practitioners, such as Michael Keegan Dolan, Jean Butler, Colin Dunne, and will be viewed and discussed.

Course Information



4 Points

Term Section Instructor Schedule Location

Spring 2019

Jean Butler
TR: 4:55 PM - 6:10 PM ERIN 101