A unique record of traditional Irish dance was recently launched by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan T.D. at the University of Limerick. The book entitled 'Irish Traditional Step Dancing in North Kerry: a Contextual and Structural Analysis' by Dr Catherine Foley, was launched at an event held at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.
The Minister was welcomed by President Professor Don Barry who spoke of the importance of dance to the University of Limerick. He mentioned the dance programmes at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance including the MA in Ethnochoreology, MA in Irish Traditional Dance Performance, the MA in Contemporary Dance, the BA in Irish Music and Dance, and the BA in Voice and Dance. He also spoke of the National Dance Archive of Ireland which was established at the Glucksman Library, University of Limerick, in November, 2009.
Minister Jimmy Deenihan added that North Kerry Literary Trust was proud to publish Dr Foley’s book and DVD as it was an important document of dance in North Kerry and, indeed, in Ireland. He stated “This book is a history and a social document. It is based on Dr Foley’s intensive study of traditional step dancers in North Kerry during the 1980s and it represents the first such study into Irish dance in the world. The book also includes biographies and a DVD of the step dancers. This book makes a huge contribution to the documentation of an indigenous dance practice and to our cultural knowledge and heritage. The research and work in this book is monumental and will be here for future generations”.
Dr Foley acknowledged and thanked the dancers she had worked with in North Kerry and showed an excerpt of some of these dancers from the DVD. Jonathan Kelliher, Artistic Director of Siamsa Tire, the National Folk Theatre of Ireland, in Tralee was also present and Dr Foley and Mr Kelliher danced Molyneaux’s Blackbird set dance together. The book is published by North Kerry Literary Trust and can be bought from The Seanchaí Centre, Listowel.