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2022 Registration


Jackie O’Riley: Biography and Class Description


Jackie O'Riley

Jackie O’Riley is one of the foremost traditional Irish dancers in New England. A teacher and performer of old-style step dancing and sean-nós dancing, her dancing has a light and fluid touch, underscored by strong rhythm, and an infectious joy for sharing this living tradition.  Jackie performs at festivals and venues throughout the country and is a member of the touring sean-nós dance show Atlantic Steps.  She was recently featured on Irish television’s TG4 coverage of the 2014 sean-nós  dancing Oireachtas.   Jackie has shared the stage and collaborated with performers including Kevin Doyle, Kieran Jordan, Brian Cunningham, Nic Gareiss, Seamus Begley, Matt Cranitch,  Oisín  Mac Diarmada, and many others.   She has studied with dance masters including Patrick O’Dea, Peggy McTeggart, and Aidan Vaughn.  Jackie directs and teaches a non-competitive Irish dance program for children based in Boston, now in its fifth year.


“Sean-nós” (old-style) is an improvised, low-to-the-ground, percussive form of Irish dance.  Originating in Connemara in the west of Ireland, it’s one of Ireland’s oldest and most joyful dance forms!  In sean-nós, the dancer interprets the music with their feet, and there is room for each dancer to be an individual.  In this beginner level, we’ll start to build a repertoire of steps, and work on improvising with these steps.  
For footwear, leather-soled shoes, with a medium heel (~1 in.) are best.
For those with prior experience in sean-nós dance, or those with extensive experience in other percussive dance forms, we’ll work on more challenging steps and “grooves”.  We’ll also learn how to create variations on favorite steps, and increase our improvisation skills.  This will be challenging and fun!