Keepers of the Steps: Celebrating 150 years of Irish Dance in SF Bay Area (Jan. 14-30)
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United Irish Cultural Center | 2700 45th Ave, San Francisco, CA
Submitted by the Event Organizer
Celebrating 150 years of Irish Dance in the SF Bay Area! Don’t miss this special exhibit exploring the roots, rhythms, and rituals.
There most certainly was green among the gold in the hills of California in the mid-1800s. The prospect of striking it rich during the Gold Rush was the hook needed to drive people to the west coast of a young nation—including the Irish! With their hopes of fortune, they brought their culture too. The centuries-old oral traditions of Irish music and dance made their way to California and took root in growing communities.
Irish dancing is a centuries-old tradition that continues to capture the hearts of dancers and onlookers alike. Long before gold was found in the hills of California—a couple of centuries to be precise—the Dancing Masters of Ireland were promoting the rich tradition of Irish Dance by traveling around Ireland, teaching their steps, and sharing their stories. This critical piece of our Irish heritage and history has evolved over the years into local dance schools in various regions around Ireland—and eventually around the world. Casual dance-offs or competitions at the crossroads of Ireland in the days of yore gave way to feisanna (Irish dance competitions). The entertainment industry has broadened the reach of the art form through massive stage shows like Riverdance and Lord of the Dance as well as through film and music.
Our special exhibit aims to explore the people, places, and things that have sustained Irish dancing in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are ever grateful to the modern Dancing Masters who brought Irish Dancing to San Francisco and the Bay Area more than 150 years ago and created a rich legacy that thrives today through dance classes, competition, and cultural opportunities. To all the dancers who share in the joy of Irish Dancing, know that you are part of a long and storied tradition. And not unlike those Dancing Masters in 16th century Ireland you, along with your dance teacher, are the “Keepers of the Steps.”
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