Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dance Flurry

 I have always done well at Dance festivals. Other artists are often surprised when I tell them this. But really it makes a lot of sense. Dancers in general are well educated, but people who do cultural dance are educated specifically about the importance of cultural heritage. These kind of people are far more likely to appreciate my work than your average shopper! Also as dancers they love to dress in unusual hand-made clothes, and wear unusual hand-made jewellery!

I often meet dancers I know from other shows, like NEFFA or the Catskills Irish Arts Week. I even saw someone from Augusta Irish week in West Virginia - which goes to show how far a truly dedicated dancer will go!

One of the things I love about the kind of odd quirky shows that I do is that I have such a good time. Back in the day (many years ago now) when I used to do craft shows I used to hate them. Long hours and too many people that I had nothing in common with! Who cared only about what was in fashion, and whether or not the brooch they bought from me would match their shoes!At dance festivals I have interesting conversations with people who also care about folklore and myth and who understand the importance of stories!

The Dance Flurry was I think the biggest and most eclectic dance festival I had ever been to. One of the things I love about serious dance festivals is that there is never any recorded music, or silly costumes. All of the dancing is done to live music - there were literally hundreds of really fine musicians at the Flurry - playing all kinds of instruments and types of music ranging from Balkan and Klezmer to blues and even disco! These are not show dances for tourists - but a vibrant part of a living culture.

The festival not only has dance - but also performance music, sing and storytelling - all with deeply cultural themes.  I found out about this festival through my good friend, storyteller Bairbre McCarthy. Bairbre very kindly included me in her "Irish stories and Song" performance - and I enjoyed the nice mix of songs stories and tunes.  It reminded me that I need to spend more time on song. My life has been so busy lately that singing is falling by the wayside... I will have to do something to change that

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