Traveling in Ireland last summer I was struck by the nicely calibrated mix of reserve and friendliness I found in most people. You can see the same union of opposites in Irish step dancing: the upper body and arms are held stiff and straight as pokers while the legs take on a life of their own, the feet pounding or, in soft shoes, flying off the floor as if by magic. Trinity Irish Dance Company artistic director Mark Howard has won plenty of awards for his traditional choreography but has never wanted to stop there. The inspiration for his newest piece, choreographed with company members Deirdre Mahoney and Ashley Purl, was a dream he had that he says mirrored "the core of the Celtic experience." Laced with modern dance that merges into ethnic forms, Out of the Woods is set to live original percussion music that combines the Irish Protestant and Catholic drumming traditions. With as many as 19 dancers onstage at once, it promises moments of both introspection and spectacle. Also new to Chicago is Ashley Roland's Hibernia, an abstract, very modern piece for three dancers. The company's programs, which take place at two venues this weekend, include as well Celtic Thunder, The Dawn, Johnny, Blackthorn, Step About, Treble Jig, Sean Curran's Curran Event, and Jive & Jig. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 312-902-1500. Friday, October 11, 8 PM; Sunday, October 13, 3 PM. $25. Also at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th, 773-445-3838. Saturday, October 12, 7:30 PM. $30; $20 for children 12 and under.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Nan Melville.