A file image of Breandan de Gallaí
Breandan de Gallaí will head up its Blas International Summer School at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in University of Limerick Picture: Maurice Gunning
Friday, March 10, 2023

The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at University of Limerick has announced that former principal dancer of Riverdance Dr Breandan de Gallaí will head up its Blas International Summer School.

Irish World Academy director Professor Helen Phelan has announced the appointment of Dr de Gallaí as the new Director of the 27th Blas International Summer School of Irish Traditional Music and Dance which will take place from June 19 to 30.

A choreographer, dancer, and dance scholar, Dr de Gallaí is currently the Course Director of the BA Irish Dance and the MA Irish Traditional Dance Performance programme at the Irish World Academy.

Professor Helen Phelan, Director of the Irish World Academy said, “I am delighted with Breandán's plans for this important role. Previous directors of Blas have all put their unique stamp on the summer school, and Breandán's vision marries his deep knowledge of traditional music and dance, with his interest in the contemporisation of Irish artistic practices.”

Dr de Gallaí is artist director of Ériu, a company he established in 2010 with which he explores the poetic potential of the Irish dance form. He has created several internationally acclaimed works, most notably The Village, Walls Talk, Salómae, Aon, Lïnger, Rite of Spring and Noċtú. He completed a performance-based doctorate in 2013, the first of its kind in the world. He earned an MA in Ethnochoreology in 2009 and holds a B.Sc.(Hons) in Physics. He has held several positions at the Irish World Academy including External Examiner of the MA Irish Dance Performance and the Course Director of the PhD Arts Practice.

Dr de Gallaí said: “I am delighted and honoured to be appointed to this important position. Whilst the Blas will be the enriching and enjoyable summer school it has always been, providing world-class teaching and performances, my team and I have exciting plans and cannot wait to welcome this year’s cohort of musicians and dancers to the Irish World Academy.”

Blas is now firmly established as one of Ireland’s most prestigious summer schools and has developed a reputation for its quality and innovation. The school provides students (aged 16 and over) from around the world with access to the expertise of some of Ireland’s finest musicians, singers, and dancers, which in previous years has included Dónal Lunny, Paul Brady, Zoe Conway, Siobhán Peoples, Martin Hayes, and many more.

In addition to expert tuition and masterclasses, the two-week programme includes a range of activities such as lectures and public seminars, Irish language classes, daily lunchtime concerts featuring Blas tutors, nightly sessions, evening concerts, céilithe, fieldtrips and above all, the unique opportunity to share tunes with some of Ireland’s leading traditional musicians.

The programme is also worth three academic credits or six ECTS credits towards an undergraduate degree, which makes Blas unique within the world of traditional music summer schools in that the study of Irish traditional music, song and dance can count as a modular component of a university degree.

For more see www.blas.ie.