Three Ducks and a Goose: A New Set Dance in the Traditional Old Style
In November, 2012 Irish fiddle player and composer, Brendan Tonra, originally from Gowlan, County Mayo, released a children's book called Three Ducks and a Goose: An Irish Tale and Tune. With illustrations by Kendra D’Angora, Tonra's story recounts a childhood memory of watching the ducks and geese splash around the family farmyard in Ireland. The book includes an audio recording of Tonra’s fiddle composition by the same name, which is structured like a set dance in jig time. Helen Kisiel, the project’s co-producer and Tonra’s long-time piano accompanist, invited Kieran to add foot percussion to “Three Ducks and a Goose." Kieran choreographed a new set dance to accompany the tune, using her feet to mimic the ducks and goose, while drawing on old style step dancing footwork to create an original dance in the genre of the centuries old “traditional sets.” Kieran’s dancing can be heard on the CD, along with a children's chorus singing the lyrics to “Three Ducks and a Goose,” and the distinctive playing of Brendan Tonra on fiddle and Helen Kisiel on piano.
Watch the YouTube video of Brendan, Helen and Kieran performing “Three Ducks and a Goose” in Helen’s home.
Kieran joins Atlantic Steps as Co-Director/Choreographer
Kieran joins Atlantic Steps as Co-Director/Choreographer for its US debut in 2012-2013. Atlantic Steps is the story of sean-nós dance — one of Ireland’s oldest dance forms — portrayed through music, song, dance, and the Atlantic Ocean inspired energy of the Connamara region. Centered around the joyful dance and unbridled enthusiasm of Connamara dancer Brian Cunningham, the show continues to move festival and theatre audiences to their feet, bringing sean-nós dance to the world stage. For tour dates and more information, visit Atlantic Steps.
Photos by Kevin Littlefield; Set designs by Vincent Crotty
2011 CD Release by Triptych: Laura Risk, Kieran Jordan, Paddy League
The long-awaited debut album from Triptych is now available! With a mix of songs and tunes from the Irish, Scottish and French-Canadian traditions, plus some originals, this CD showcases the fluid, improvisational energy of the trio.
The Boston Irish Reporter writes: “There is something innately refreshing about Triptych…. Whereas the trend in Irish/Celtic music is often ‘more is more,’ Triptych opts for a stripped-down sound of fiddle, guitar, and percussive dance—or, if you will, fiddle, guitar and feet—casting the basic components of melody and rhythm into sharp relief.
League’s inventive accompaniment, on bodhran and snare drum as well as guitar, bears the influence of jazz, Latin and world music, while Jordan’s command of improvisational sean-nós, Cape Breton step, and other dance styles makes for a solid complement—she’s a living musical instrument in and of herself. And Risk is such a strong, expressive player that she keeps the melody squarely in the forefront.”
Read more, and enjoy audio and video samples at Triptych. Purchase the recording on CD Baby and Band Camp. Find us on Facebook.
Teaching News: Kieran Joins BC Faculty and Wins MCC Teaching Grant
In September 2010, Kieran joined the Irish Studies Program at Boston College as part-time faculty. She is delighted to be back at her alma mater, teaching Traditional Irish Dance for undergraduates. Her course includes dance technique and repertoire, as well as Irish dance history, presented through video viewings, readings, and discussions.
Kieran Jordan and fiddler/dancer Emerald Rae were awarded a 2010 Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The grant supports one year of lessons and mentoring, for Emerald to study Kieran’s specific approach to “old style” Irish dance. Their work will culminate with a joint performance/demonstration.
Kieran Releases Musical Feet! Sean-nós Dance Instructional DVD
In Musical Feet!, Kieran teaches the basic footwork of sean-nós (“old style”) Irish step dance, breaking down steps into simple movements that anyone can do at their own pace. She has created a true progression of steps, from the most basic walking steps to the more intricate shuffling patterns. This comprehensive learning program is designed for beginners of all ages, and for anyone who wants to learn more about sean-nós Irish dance. Whether you are presently enrolled in a class or learning Irish dance for the first time, you will appreciate the clear intelligent teaching, the warm spirit, and Kieran’s life-long passion for Irish dance.
Musical Feet! is available for purchase online.
Feis America puts Kieran and her Boston classes in the news
It is a chilly November evening in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but in Kieran Jordan’s newly-opened Boston Percussive Dance studio, jackets and boots have been cast aside and are now lining the side wall, rejected in favor of Irish hard sole dance shoes. Jordan leads her large group of dancers in a step to add to one of their routines; together, they jump up and click their heels to the left and then do the same on the right. As Jordan performs the step, she lifts her slender arms into the air, bent at the elbow like a Greek Zeibekiko dancer, and makes a silly face in the mirror. It’s not what most people expect when they think of Advanced Irish Dance, but that happens to be the exact title of Jordan’s dance class. read more
Kieran Receives Golden Bridges Award
Kieran has been named an honoree for the second annual Golden Bridges Awards, hosted by the Irish Echo and the Boston Irish Reporter newspapers. The award ceremony will take place in the Boston World Trade Centre on Thursday, October 8, 2009. Other honorees include:
Chief Honoree and Guest Speaker: Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts Timothy Murray State Senate President Therese Murray
Bridget Shaheen, Lazarus House Ministries
Robert Sheridan, President Savings Bank Life Insurance
Bjarni Thorvardarson, CEO Hibernia Atlantic
John Drew, President World Trade Center, Boston
William J. Reilly, Jr.
Kieran releases her first DVD
“Secrets of the Sole,” released in 2008, features the “old style” step dancing of Kevin Doyle and Aidan Vaughan. “Kevin and Aidan have each been my teacher, collaborator, and dance partner in recent years,” Kieran explains. “I wanted to make a video that would celebrate their particular dance styles, capture their live performance energy, and tell the history of Irish dance through their individual stories.” This documentary and performance video will appeal to all ages, and to anyone who enjoys the remarkable traditions of Irish music and dance.
Kieran receives State Art Award
Kieran has been named a 2008 “Artist Fellow” by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, in the category of Traditional Arts. Artist Fellowships provide assistance to individual artists “to recognize excellence and creative ability and to support further development of their talents.” This year, 39 fellowships were awarded from a pool of 1,800 applicants. Kieran was recognized for her performance and teaching work in traditional and sean-nós Irish dance. “Dance as a solo career requires soul-searching and risk-taking,” says Kieran. “This is an honor for me – an nod of affirmation that I really appreciate.” For more information, visit Massachusetts Cultural Council.
“A Christmas Celtic Sojourn, Live” DVD Release
Kieran is a featured performer in “A Christmas Celtic Sojourn, Live” a high-definition video from the 2006 production of “A Christmas Celtic Sojourn.” Hosted by Brian O’Donovan of WGBH radio, the performance includes music by the Karan Casey Band, Robbie O’Connell Band, Mulcahy Family, Navan, and the O’Donovan Family. Dancers along with Kieran include the young and spectacular Nicholas Yenson and the wonderful Clare-style sean-nós dancer Aidan Vaughan. To purchase a DVD for $20, please contact Kieran.
In the News
Kieran and her husband Vincent are featured on the cover of the April 2007 Boston Irish Reporter. Read all about it by downloading a pdf version of the two-page article.
University of Limerick
In June, 2005, Kieran completed a Master’s Degree in Contemporary Dance Performance at the University of Limerick in Ireland. Her studies included contemporary dance technique, choreography, Body-Mind Centering, ballet, and yoga. She also studied sean-nós (“old-style”) Irish dance, particularly the West Clare battering style of dancer Aidan Vaughan.
Kieran returned to University of Limerick in November, 2005 for the annual Sionna Festival. She participated in “Sean Nós / Nua Nós,” a panel discussion and performance celebrating both tradition and innovation in Irish dance choreography. Other dancers included Jean Butler, Colin Dunne, Honor Hurley, and Seosamh Ó Neachtain.