A Gathering Place for Adults Who Love Irish Dance

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Darrah Carr Irish dance group nominated for a Bessie Award - VIDEO

Darrah Carr Dance 
Photo: Lois Greenfield

Irish dance performance group Darrah Carr Dance, and guest choreographer Seán Curran have been nominated for a 2012 New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie Award) for "Outstanding Production of a Work that Pushes the Boundaries of a Traditional or Culturally Specific Form”.

Artistic director Darrah Carr, is thrilled and honored to receive the nomination. Grateful to the Bessie Selection Committee and to Seán Curran, Carr says, “This nomination would not have been possible without the boundless energy of my company members, and the steadfast support of our presenting partners at the Irish Arts Center and at Gotham Arts Exchange.”
 Artistic Director, Darrah Carr  
Photo: Lois Greenfield

Darrah Carr trained in both competitive Irish dance and classical ballet from ages six to sixteen. When she began her training in modern dance, she learned to relax her arms and torso and work with gravity. “I realized that in modern dance, bucking tradition was the traditional way of doing things,” Carr says. “I began to explore how I could reconcile two very differnt types of training to create a distinctive choreographic voice.”

So began “ModERIN”, a play on words that combines contemporary modern dance with “Erin”, an Anglicized word for Ireland. The result is what Darr describes as “a process of fusion, and a tightly woven marriage of modern dance freedom, and Irish dance structure.”

The Darrah Carr Dance group began in New York in 1998. The group performs extensivly, not only in New York, but in such venues as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and The Yard at Martha’s Vineyard, to name a few. Recently the group performed on NBC’s “The Today Show”, with The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, and featured “Dingle Dewali” at Symphony Space, for which they have been nominated for the Bessie Award.

“I source from two genres,” Carr says, “traditional Irish step and contemporary modern dance. Dance in Ireland traditionally happened at a crossroads, a reminder to respect the road that led me to a place of intersecting genres, while simultaneously remaining curious about the path that lies ahead.”

Darrah Carr Dance in "Dingle Diwali" 
Photo: Matthew Murphy
Not only does the Darrah Carr group inspire from the stage, they also seek to spread their dance expertise through a junior troupe, DCWee, and an outreach program that travels the country. Carr says, “I am proud to spread awareness and appreciation for Irish music and dance through our educational and outreach programs." Carr loves doing school assembly performances. Often the children ask imaginative questions such as if leprechauns are real, and whether or not the group has seen one.

Many of the performers and students involved with Darrah Carr Dance, and the outreach program are adult Irish dancers. Carr enjoys teaching adults in a relaxed and low-key atmosphere. “I also find that adult dancers really want to be at class, which makes them really engaged, and eager students.”

Darrah Carr Dance company member Timothy Kochka in "Dingle Diwali" 
Photo: Matthew Murphy
Artistic director Darrah Carr is excited about the paths that Irish dance is headed down. Many dancers who retire from touring with the major shows, such as Riverdance and Lord of the Dance, are still interested in performance opportunitites. “I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some of these dancers,” Carr says. “They have exquisite technique and incredibly open minds.”

The Darrah Carr Dance group will be dancing their annual New York season at the Irish Arts Center November 16-18th. For more information go to www.irishartscenter.org.

You can find out more about Darrah Carr Dance, the DCWee junior troupe, and outreach programs at www.darrahcarrdance.com.

Darrah Carr Dance -VIDEO

Readers: Are you an adult Irish dancer, competitive or not, with a story to share? Would you like to inspire others to feel your passion for Irish dancing and culture? Do you have a question about Irish dancing? Please comment in the box below for replies and contact information!

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