Top Irish dancing troupe coming to CSB for Jan. 26 performance

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January 3, 2019

By Kathryn Sohm '21

dancers in the dark

Trinity Irish Dance Company
Photo by Paul Marshall

dancers in the air

Photo by Lois Greenfield

Ireland has exported many great artists to the world – singers (Bono and Niall Horan) and actors (Colin Farrell and Evanna Lynch), to name just a few.

Lately, there’s something else that has caught the public’s interest – traditional Irish dancing.

One of the best practitioners of Irish dancing will be on display to local fans of the genre - the rhythm and soul of Trinity Irish Dance Company (TIDC).

TIDC, which combines Ireland’s traditional dance form and modern American innovation, performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, at Escher Auditorium, Benedicta Arts Center, College of Saint Benedict. The event is part of the Fine Arts Series at CSB and Saint John’s University.

Combining the heart and tempo of classic Irish dancing with the inspiration and ingenuity of contemporary dance, TIDC delights audiences with its passion and fast-paced routines. With their use of the Irish hard shoe, the dancers themselves become part of the music, making the experience even more breathtaking for viewers.

The company was started in 1990 by choreographer and artistic director Mark Howard, who accomplished more by age 18 than most do by 50.

Howard was born in Yorkshire, England, and raised in Chicago. Since he started dancing at age 8, he has become critically acclaimed and competed in the World Championships of Irish Dance at age 10. After his retirement at 15, he began teaching at 17, and opened The Trinity Academy of Irish Dance in 1982 at 19.

The innovative group changed traditional Irish dance into a modern Irish-American spectacular that has paved the way for commercial productions such as “Riverdance.”

Howard’s dancers quickly started winning unprecedented world team titles for the United States at the World Championships of Irish Dance. TIDC was founded as a nonprofit as Howard realized he wanted to expand their range and repertoire. This attracted dancers from schools all over the world.

TIDC uses Irish dance both as an instrument and a metaphor, as well as crosses cultural and disciplinary boundaries through their dance. Since its start, TIDC has collaborated with several contemporary choreographers, helping the dancers to grow in form and movement.

“The result is a thoroughly fresh and engaging artistic vision that goes beyond the source without losing touch with its essence,” the group’s website says.

The group has performed on several renowned stages throughout the world, including sold-out tours in Europe and Asia, and esteemed venues such as Washington, D.C.’s, Kennedy Center, New York’s Joyce and New Victory Theaters, Tokyo’s Orchard Hall and Los Angeles’s Royce Hall. TIDC’s special mix of traditional Irish dance with contemporary moves has solidified its significance in the dance world.

Tickets for the performance are $32 for adults, $29 for seniors, $25 for CSB/SJU faculty and staff, $15 for youths and students and $10 for CSB/SJU students.

For tickets, call the Benedicta Arts Center Box Office at 320-363-5777 or order online.

A pre-performance Irish Pub Dinner is from 5:30-7 p.m. in the President’s Dining Room, Gorecki Dining and Conference Center, CSB. The price is $18 per person and can be ordered online, and will feature a traditional Irish meal of banger and mash, roasted root vegetables, beer cheese soup and Irish soda bread.

There will also be an Irish Dance Workshop for beginners from 10-11 a.m. Jan. 26 at Alumnae Hall, Haehn Campus Center, CSB. Learn Irish-influenced dance choreography from members of TIDC. No experience is necessary, but is recommended for ages 10 and up.

This workshop is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required due to space. Register online or by calling the Box Office at 320-363-5777. Participants should plan to wear gym shoes and comfortable clothing.

Trinity Irish Dance Company is sponsored in part by Bernick’s and St. Cloud Orthopedics.

The activity is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.