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National Dance Archive of Ireland

Patricia Mulholland

Identity Statement

Reference Code: IE 2135 N29
Title: The Patricia Mulholland Papers
Dates of Creation: 1929-2011 (predominantly 1951-1979)
Level of Description: Fonds
Extent and Medium: 2 boxes (86 files)

Context

Name of Creator(s): Graham, Thomas and MacCafferty, Joyce Ann.

Biographical History: Thomas Graham and Joyce Ann MacCafferty were former pupils and dancers of the Belfast-born Patricia Mulholland (1915-1992). Mulholland was the founder of the Irish Ballet School in Belfast and of the Irish Ballet Company, which made its debut in 1951 during the Festival of Britain in the Empire Theatre, Belfast. In 1953, at the request of CEMA, Mulholland devised and produced the first Irish folk ballet, Cuchulain. A further group of ballets was sponsored by CEMA, including The Piper, The Dream of Angus Óg and Follow Me Down to Carlow. Other works in her extensive choreography, strongly influenced by Irish legends and folklore, include The Mother of Oisín, The Black Rogue, the Oul' Lammas Fair in 1900, The Children of Lír, Phil the Fluter's Ball and The Hound of Culann. Mulholland's choreographies were not ballet in the classical sense but a form of folk ballet - Irish mythology interpreted by Irish dancers to Irish music and song. Patricia Mulholland is regarded as one of the most influential figures of twentieth-century Irish traditional dancing and the founder of Festival Dance, a specialised form of Irish dancing which focuses on the individuality of each dancer's style, thus breaking away from the more rigid and formulaic 'Feis' style.

Content & Structure

Scope and Content: Mainly photocopies of programmes and press cuttings, photographs and stage sets donated by Thomas Graham and Joyce Ann MacCafferty to illustrate Patricia Mulholland's career as a dancer and choreographer and the activities of her Irish Ballet Company.

Conditions of Access & Use

Access: Please contact us in advance to make an appointment to see this collection.
Finding Aid: Descriptive list (click on link below)

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