Cover the Buckle CD Is Here!
After two years of collaboration on this project, I am so pleased to release Cover the Buckle: A Collection of Irish Set Dances for Listening and Dancing. This is a new CD that I’ve produced of traditional solo set dance music, for dances like “St. Patrick’s Day,” “The Blackbird,” “The Priest and His Boots,” “Maggie Pickins,” and more. The tunes are played by Seán Clohessy on fiddle and Sean McComiskey on accordion, with accompaniment by Josh Dukes on guitar and bouzouki and Matt Mulqueen on piano, and the sound of my dancing feet on a few tracks as well. The music is bright and energizing, full of rhythm and full of life. I know you will want to dance to it!
Kieran Jordan Dance Presents Little Gifts
Kieran Jordan Dance was named Company-In-Residence at Green Street Studios in September, 2015. The six-month residency offered Kieran rehearsal space and the opportunity to create and produce a new show — Little Gifts — A Celebration of Irish Dance Steps and Tunes, which culminated with two sold-out performances on March 11 and 12, 2016.
A highly-collaborative production, Little Gifts featured Kieran’s engaging and expressive choreography, with all live music by the Vox Hunters (Armand Aromin and Benedict Gagliardi) and John Coyne, and original set designs by Vincent Crotty. Dancers inlcuded long-time company members Jackie O’Riley, Rebecca McGowan, Kristen Kelly, and Hannah Pelton, plus Amanda Carey, Lauren Milord, and Samantha Jones. Crotty also presented his own Little Gifts as a full exhibition of oil paintings, which were on display during intermission and after the shows.
As The Boston Globe described, “the show eschews the spectacle of many large-scale productions in favor of an intimate evening of solos and small ensemble pieces highlighting the simplicity and immediacy of Irish dance.” Dance, music, visual art, and audience song and dance segments were woven together into a seamless and sensory-rich experience, that captured the warmth, energy, and beautiful imagery of Ireland.
Musical Feet Volume 2: The Next Step Is Now Available
December 2015 — Kieran is delighted to launch Musical Feet Volume 2: The Next Step — a sean-nós dance instructional video for dancers at all levels! The Next Step focuses on sean-nós jigs, with steps that develop from beginner rhythms and movements into advanced choreography. With streaming, download, and DVD options, students have maximum flexibility to learn at their own pace and in their own space. The video includes a clear and well-organized breakdown of steps, close-up camera angles on the footwork, and live music by Armand Aromin and Benedict Gagliardi, two of the finest young traditional musicians in New England.
Read testimonials, watch a preview, and see purchase options for Musical Feet Volume 2: The Next Step
2015 Silver Key Award
On October 14, 2015, Kieran Jordan and Vincent Crotty received the Charitable Irish Society’s Silver Key Award for their contributions to the Irish community in Boston. Established in 1737, the Charitable Irish Society is the oldest Irish society in North America. Each year, the Silver Key Award recognizes individuals who continue the Society’s mission of fostering Irish hospitality, services, and culture in Boston. Kieran was recognized for her teaching and non-competitive Irish dance programs which share Irish history and culture with communities throughout Greater Boston. Vincent, a visual artist from Kanturk, County Cork, was honored for his teaching and his contributions of paintings to fundraising events for the Irish Pastoral Center, Irish International Immigration Center and many other organizations. A third award recipient, Margaret Stapleton, originally from County Tipperary, was recognized for her philanthropy and long-term commitment to helping the homeless in Boston. The award presentations were made by Sandra L. Moody, Keeper of the Silver Key, at the Fairmount Copley Plaza Hotel.
Willie Clancy Summer School 2015
Kieran writes, “This summer, I will be heading to Ireland to teach and perform at the 43rd Annual Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay, County Clare! I am honored to be part of this festival and to be working with my long-time dance friends Kevin Doyle and Aidan Vaughan.
Kevin, Aidan, and I will teach three afternoon workshops called ‘Side by Side’ — dancing the connections between old-style Irish step dancing, sean-nós battering steps, and tap, and the choreography we can create from these styles. In addition, Kevin and I will give an illustrated lecture/demo called ‘Far from Home but Close to the Floor: the Irish Roots of American Tap Dance.’ We will also perform together in the Thursday night dance recital and Saturday night finale concert.”
This collaboration was inspired in part by Kieran’s DVD Secrets of the Sole: Irish Dance Steps and Stories Featuring Kevin Doyle and Aidan Vaughan
Kieran Jordan Dance Presents The Living Landscape
The Living Landscape, a production of Kieran Jordan Dance, is an evening-length dance theatre work celebrating Ireland’s traditional seasonal festivals — Lughnasadh, Samhain, Imbolc, and Bealtaine — through original choreography, live music, and projected images of Irish landscape paintings. Twice named in the “Critic’s Picks” in The Boston Globe, this show was first produced in 2013 as a collaboration between Kieran Jordan Dance and modern dance company Falling Flight Project. Restaged in 2014 by Kieran Jordan, the show featured dancers Amanda Carey, Kristen Kelly, Rebecca McGowan, Kelley O’Carroll, Jackie O’Riley, Hannah Pelton, and Jen Schoonover and musicians Laurel Martin, Mark Roberts, and Cleek Schrey, with lighting design by Stephen Petrilli and original set designs by Vincent Crotty.
Dancer and arts advocate Erica Sigal writes, “Kieran creates an almost magical environment for her dancers and herself — with soft atmospheric lighting, paintings of Irish scenes as backdrops, props that enhance each scene, and gorgeous live music. Her choreography is spirited and fun, sometimes delicate, sometimes lively.”
Photo by Brandon Fitch
Atlantic Steps On Tour and In the News
Following an exciting 2012 American debut — at summer festivals including the Dublin Irish Festival in Ohio, Irishfest in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and Irish Fair of Minnesota — Atlantic Steps completed a highly successful 2013 run at performing arts centers throughout Arizona, California, Kansas, Massachusetts, and Tennessee. In 2014, the show gained fans and momentum with sold-out theater engagements in California, Michigan, New Hampshire, Texas, and Wisconsin.
“Everything old is new again in the show Atlantic Steps. Sean-nós, the old style of Irish dance that celebrates freedom of movement, unlike the rigid uniformity of competitive step dance, is enjoying a resurgence. Connemara, Ireland, native Brian Cunningham and Cambridge-based dancer Kieran Jordan lead the charge in this stage show.” — Boston Herald
“In the way that Riverdance popularized Irish step dancing in a theatrical context, a new show called Atlantic Steps may help spread the excitement about sean-nós.” — The Boston Globe
“Do yourself a favor and check out Atlantic Steps. It’s filled with outstanding dancers, great music and the compelling story it tells of this often overlooked style of Irish dancing is absolutely refreshing.” — The Irish Echo
Photo by Niko Alexandrou, Eye on the Stage Photography
Three Ducks and a Goose: A New Set Dance in the Traditional Old Style
In November, 2012, Boston-based fiddle player and composer, Brendan Tonra (originally from Gowlan, County Mayo) released a children’s book called Three Ducks and a Goose: An Irish Tale and Tune. With illustrations by Kendra D’Angora, Tonra’s story recounts a happy childhood memory of watching ducks and geese splash around the family farmyard in Ireland. The book includes an audio recording of Tonra’s fiddle composition by the same name, which is a set dance in jig time. Helen Kisiel, the project’s co-producer and Tonra’s long-time piano accompanist, invited Kieran to add foot percussion to “Three Ducks and a Goose.” Kieran choreographed a new set dance to accompany the tune, using her feet to mimic the ducks and goose, while drawing on old style step dancing footwork to create a dance in the genre of the centuries old “traditional sets.” Kieran’s dancing can be heard on the CD, along with a children’s chorus singing the lyrics to “Three Ducks and a Goose,” and the distinctive playing of Brendan Tonra on fiddle and Helen Kisiel on piano.
Three Ducks and a Goose is available here.
Kieran joins Atlantic Steps as Co-Director/Choreographer
Kieran joins Atlantic Steps as Co-Director/Choreographer and a performer for its US debut in 2012-2013. Atlantic Steps is the story of sean-nós dance — one of Ireland’s oldest dance forms — portrayed through music, song, dance, and the Atlantic Ocean inspired energy of the Connemara region. The US tour features a new cast of American dancers, specially-commissioned set designs by Vincent Crotty, and new scenes written collaboratively by Kieran and the show producers. Centered around the joyful dance and unbridled enthusiasm of Connemara dancer Brian Cunningham, Atlantic Steps continues to move festival and theater audiences to their feet, bringing sean-nós dance to the world stage. For tour dates and more information, visit Atlantic Steps.
Photo by Kevin Littlefield
2011 CD Release by Triptych: Laura Risk, Kieran Jordan, Paddy League
The debut album from Triptych is now available! With a mix of songs and tunes from Irish, Scottish and French-Canadian traditions, plus some originals, this CD showcases the fluid, improvisational energy of this trio.
The Boston Irish Reporter writes: “There is something innately refreshing about Triptych…. Whereas the trend in Irish/Celtic music is often ‘more is more,’ Triptych opts for a stripped-down sound of fiddle, guitar, and percussive dance — or, if you will, fiddle, guitar and feet — casting the basic components of melody and rhythm into sharp relief.
League’s inventive accompaniment, on bodhran and snare drum as well as guitar, bears the influence of jazz, Latin and world music, while Jordan’s command of improvisational sean-nós, Cape Breton step, and other dance styles makes for a solid complement — she’s a living musical instrument in and of herself. And Risk is such a strong, expressive player that she keeps the melody squarely in the forefront.”
Teaching News: Kieran Joins BC Faculty and Wins MCC Teaching Grant
In September 2010, Kieran joined the Irish Studies Program at Boston College as part-time faculty. She is delighted to be back at her alma mater, teaching Traditional Irish Dance for undergraduates. Her course includes dance technique and repertoire, as well as Irish dance history, presented through video viewings, readings, and discussions.
Kieran Jordan and fiddler/dancer Emerald Rae were awarded a 2010 Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The grant supports one year of lessons and mentoring, for Emerald to learn Kieran’s repertoire and teaching methods in “old style” Irish dance. Their work will culminate with a joint performance/demonstration.
Kieran Releases Musical Feet! Sean-nós Dance Instructional DVD
In Musical Feet!, Kieran teaches the basic footwork of sean-nós (“old style”) Irish step dance, breaking down steps into simple movements that anyone can learn to do. She has created a true progression of steps, from the most basic walking steps to the more intricate shuffling patterns. This comprehensive tutorial is designed for beginners of all ages, and for anyone who wants to learn more about sean-nós Irish dance. Whether you are part of a class or learning on your own, you will appreciate the Kieran’s confident teaching style, warm spirit, and life-long passion for Irish music and dance.
Musical Feet! is available here.
Feis America puts Kieran and her classes in the news
An excerpt from the feature story in Feis America magazine:
“It is a chilly November evening in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but in Kieran Jordan’s newly-opened Boston Percussive Dance studio, jackets and boots have been cast aside and are now lining the side wall, rejected in favor of Irish hard sole dance shoes. Jordan leads her large group of dancers in a step to add to one of their routines; together, they jump up and click their heels to the left and then do the same on the right. As Jordan performs the step, she lifts her slender arms into the air, bent at the elbow like a Greek Zeibekiko dancer, and makes a silly face in the mirror. It’s not what most people expect when they think of Advanced Irish Dance, but that happens to be the exact title of Jordan’s dance class…”
Kieran Receives Golden Bridges Award
Kieran was named as a recipient of a Golden Bridges Award, presented by the Irish Echo and the Boston Irish Reporter newspapers. The award ceremony took place at the Boston World Trade Centre on Thursday, October 8, 2009 and was the culminating event of the “Gateways to Tomorrow” conference, aimed at building bridges between Boston and Northwest Ireland, and recognizing a shared passion for the cultural values of Ireland and the USA. Fellow honorees included:
Timothy Murray, Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
Therese Murray, State Senate President
Bridget Shaheen, Lazarus House Ministries
Robert Sheridan, President Savings Bank Life Insurance
Bjarni Thorvardarson, CEO Hibernia Atlantic
John Drew, President World Trade Center, Boston
William J. Reilly, Jr., Irish American Partnership
New DVD — Secrets of the Sole
“Secrets of the Sole,” released in 2008, features the dance steps and stories of Kevin Doyle and Aidan Vaughan. “Kevin has been my close collaborator and step dance partner for many years, and Aidan has been my most influential teacher in sean-nós dance,” Kieran explains. “I wanted to make a video that would celebrate and explain their particular dance styles, capture their live performance energy, and tell the history of Irish dance through their individual life stories.” Written, narrated, and produced by Kieran, Secrets of the Sole includes the fabulous playing of Sean Gannon on accordion and George Keith on fiddle. This creative documentary will appeal to viewers all ages, and to anyone who enjoys the remarkable traditions of Irish music and dance.
Kieran receives State Art Award
Kieran has been awarded a 2008 Artist Fellowship by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, in the category of Traditional Arts. Artist Fellowships provide assistance to individual artists “to recognize excellence and creative ability and to support further development of their talents.” This year, 39 fellowships were awarded from a pool of 1,800 applicants. Kieran was recognized for her performance and teaching work in traditional and sean-nós Irish dance.
“A Christmas Celtic Sojourn, Live” DVD Release
Kieran’s dancing and choreography are featured in A Christmas Celtic Sojourn, Live, a live video from the 2006 production of “A Christmas Celtic Sojourn.” Hosted by Brian O’Donovan of WGBH radio, the performance includes music by the Karan Casey Band, Robbie O’Connell Band, Mulcahy Family, Navan, and the O’Donovan Family. Collaborative dance pieces include the spectacular step dancing of Nicholas Yenson and the close-to-the-floor sean-nós steps of Aidan Vaughan.
In the News
Kieran and her husband Vincent are featured on the cover of the April 2007 Boston Irish Reporter. Read all about it by downloading a pdf version of the two-page article.
University of Limerick
In June, 2005, Kieran completed a Master’s Degree in Contemporary Dance Performance at the University of Limerick in Ireland. Her studies included contemporary dance technique, choreography, Body-Mind Centering, ballet, and yoga. She also focused specifically on sean-nós (“old-style”) Irish dance, particularly the West Clare battering style of dancer Aidan Vaughan.
Kieran was invited back to University of Limerick in November, 2005 for the annual Sionna Festival. She participated in “Sean Nós / Nua Nós,” a panel discussion and performance celebrating both tradition and innovation in Irish dance choreography. Other dancers included Jean Butler, Colin Dunne, Honor Hurley, and Seosamh Ó Neachtain.