Darrah Carr Dance to Premiere CELTIC JAZZ TRYST at Irish Arts Center
Like the company's successful engagement at the Center last year, Celtic Jazz Tryst-a playful fusion of swing dance, tap rhythms and Irish dance steps-is a collaboration with jazz vocalist Tara O'Grady and her Black Velvet Band, who perform live with the dancers. The program includes a new work by Carr, Heartsong; a new piece by guest choreographer Seán Curran, On the Six; and a favorite from last season, Stepsong.
Performances will take place November 18 & 19 at 8pm, and November 20 at 3pm. The company will also give performances for kids and their families November 19 & 20 at 11am. Tickets are $25 (general) and $35 (premium); $15 for the family shows; and $20 (general) and $28 (premium) for Irish Arts Center members. $50 VIP tickets for November 18 include admission to a post-performance opening night celebration. They are available for purchase 866.811.4111 and www.irishartscenter.org.
Celtic Jazz Tryst pairs choreography in Carr's trademark style, ModERIN, with Tara O'Grady's original songs and unique renditions of Irish standards, which draw upon Celtic, folk, funk, blues, jazz and swing music. As a special highlight of the program, guest choreographer Seán Curran evokes the romance and charm of the Big Band Era with his playful On the Six, a whimsical fusion of swing dance rhythms and Irish dance steps.
In addition to the company's dancers, the new work, Heartsong, features performers including Trent Kowalik, the original lead in Billy Elliot on Broadway, and the youngest-ever Tony Award-winner; Timothy Kochka, two-time World Irish Dancing Champion and a seven-year member of the cast of Riverdance; and Mary Kate Sheehan, of "So You Think You Can Dance" fame.
The seeds for Celtic Jazz Tryst were planted in 2015, when Carr contributed percussive footwork to a track on O'Grady's fourth album, Irish Bayou, which combined numerous genres-jazz, blues, zydeco, folk and funk-in original songs inspired by the Crescent City. Meanwhile, this season marks Darrah Carr Dance's seventh collaboration with Curran. Curran and Carr first worked together fifteen years ago, when Carr assisted Curran on the choreography for the Tony Award-winning Broadway production of James Joyce's The Dead. The 2012 premiere of their collaboration Dingle Diwali, a virtuosic display of powerful percussion set to the rhythmically complex vocalizations of British-Indian singer Sheila Chandra, garnered a Bessie Award nomination.
The companion programming for Celtic Jazz Tryst includes a talk-back with Darrah Carr and Tara O'Grady after the November 19 performance, and a pre-show conversation with Darrah Carr Dance starting at 2:30pm on November 20.
Since 1998, Darrah Carr Dance has created a unique blend of traditional Irish step and contemporary modern dance. The company incorporates Irish music, step dance footwork, and spatial patterns within contemporary choreography, and presents a bold new twist on conventional Irish dance. Artistic Director Darrah Carr calls her style ModERIN: a playful combination of the words modern (dance) and ERIN (an Irish American reference to Ireland).
In commemoration of the company's 15th Anniversary season in 2013, Macater Press published ModERIN: Contemporary Irish Dance Works - Darrah Carr Dance. This artist's catalogue documents the company's lasting impact on the field of Irish dance, and features stunning images and in-depth descriptions of their major repertory works.
Recent Darrah Carr Dance performance highlights include a return appearance on NBC's "The Today Show," a performance with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, a benefit performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Victory Dance at The New Victory Theater, The Yeats Project at the Irish Repertory Theatre, and performances at The Duke Theater on 42nd Street, the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn festival, Inside/Out at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, MASS MoCA, The Yard at Martha's Vineyard and The Bank of Ireland Arts Center in Dublin. www.darrahcarrdance.com
Named one of the "Top 40 Under 40" by The Irish Echo, one of the "Top 100 Irish Americans of the Year" by Irish America Magazine, and one of the "Most Influential Women of 2010" by The Irish Voice, Darrah Carr has been active for twenty years in both the Irish and modern dance communities as a choreographer, dancer, educator, and writer. In addition to her work as the Artistic Director of Darrah Carr Dance, Carr and her Irish step dance partner, Niall O'Leary, have performed their duet act in a variety of locations, from Disney World to the Osaka Festival Hall in Japan. They are featured dancers in Absolutely Irish!, a PBS documentary directed by Academy Award-winner Paul Wagner, with a cast of traditional Irish musicians led by Dr. Mick Moloney.
Carr teaches in the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College and is associated with Hofstra University's Dance program, as well as Mason Gross Arts Online at Rutgers University. She has been a Guest Artist at Manhattanville College, Adelphi University and Queensbourough Community College. Carr is a respected dance scholar and has presented research papers at the Congress on Research in Dance, the World Dance Alliance, Dance Research Forum Ireland, the Popular Culture Association, and New York University's Percussive Dance Symposium. Carr is a frequent contributor to Dance Magazine, Dance Studio Life, Dancer and The Dance Insider. She also contributed a chapter to Close to the Floor: Irish Dance from the Boreen to Broadway, published by Macater Press. www.darrahcarrdance.com
Darrah Carr holds an MFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wesleyan University. She is currently a doctoral candidate, pursuing a PhD in Dance through Texas Woman's University.
Raised on Irish traditional music, as well as the sounds of Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong, Peggy Lee, Glenn Miller, Hank Williams, Louis Prima, Patsy Cline, Nat King Cole, Nina Simone, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, Tara O'Grady spent every summer on her grandparents' farm in Donegal, Ireland, where she listened to her granny Nora singing in her kitchen. O'Grady's soulful voice has been compared to that of legends such as Billie Holiday, Doris Day and Aretha Franklin. This New York native with Irish roots combines Celtic, folk, funk, blues, swing and especially jazz in her unique style. Awarded Irish Voice's "Most Influential Woman 2010" by Ireland's Prime Minister, the singer-songwriter has released four albums: Black Irish (2010), Good Things Come to Those Who Wait (2011), A Celt in the Cotton Club (2013) and Irish Bayou (2015). Her recording of the famous song "Danny Boy" recently ranked #6 among the bestselling blues songs in the UK, due to her appearance in an award-winning BBC documentary, Danny Boy - The Ballad that Bewitched the World, along with actor Gabriel Byrne, filmmaker Jim Sheridan, and musicians Judy Collins, Joe Jackson and Rosanne Cash. The film was nominated for Best Documentary at the 2014 Irish Film & Television Awards. www.taraogradymusic.com
Seán Curran, Artistic Director of the Seán Curran Company, began his dance training with traditional Irish step dancing as a young boy in Boston, Massachusetts. He went on to make his mark on the dance world as a leading dancer with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. He received a Bessie Award for his performance in Secret Pastures.
A graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Curran is currently Chair of the Department of Dance. He was in the original cast of the Off-Broadway show Stomp. Curran's work has appeared in James Joyce's The Dead, for Playwrights Horizons, and in The Rivals, at Lincoln Center Theater. He recently made his Metropolitan Opera debut choreographing Romeo and Juliette. He has created works for Trinity Irish Dance Company, ABT's Studio Company, Denmark's Upper Cut Company, Sweden's Skänes Dance Theater, Irish Modern Dance Theatre, Ririe Woodbury Dance Theater and Dance Alloy. www.seancurrancompany.com
Founded in 1972, Irish Arts Center is a New York-based arts and cultural center dedicated to projecting a dynamic image of Ireland and Irish America for the 21st century, building community with artists and audiences of all backgrounds, forging and strengthening cross-cultural partnerships, and preserving the evolving stories and traditions of Irish culture for generations to come. Our multi-disciplinary programming is centered around three core areas: Performance - including live music, dance, theatre, film, literature, and the humanities; Exhibition - including visual arts presentations and cultural exhibitions that tell the evolving Irish story; and Education - with dozens of classes per week in Irish language, history, music, and dance.
Located in New York City, a global capital of arts and culture, Irish Arts Center serves as a dynamic platform for top emerging and established artists. Irish Arts Center is currently developing plans to construct a new facility to serve our multi-disciplinary program and will be the strongest possible gateway for artists to reach into our cultural community and nourish their work, to connect with our partner institutions who help them innovate, and to become visible in the New York City media market which enhances their ability to achieve U.S and further international success.
The New Irish Arts Center will contain a purpose-built, state-of-the-art contemporary performance space for music, dance and theatre seating up to 160; industry-standard back of house and support facilities to allow artists to achieve their vision; a second, intimate performance space - the renovated historic Irish Arts Center theatre - optimized for live music, literature, film, talks, large classes and special events; classrooms and studio space for community education programs in Irish music, dance, language, history, and the humanities, and for master classes and workshops by visiting and resident artists; technology capability to project the Irish Arts Center experience on the digital platform; an avenue-facing café lobby to engage with the neighborhood and provide a social setting for conversation and interaction between artists and audiences; a beautiful new courtyard entrance on 51st Street where the historic Irish Arts Center building and the new facility meet.