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Irish Arts Center Presents ModERIN SWINGS!

Irish Arts Center Presents ModERIN SWINGS!


Darrah Carr, Seán Curran, and Tara O'Grady


Irish Arts Center
553 West 51st Street
New York, NY


Friday, November 13, 2015 - 8:00pm daily through November 14, 2015
Sunday, November 15, 2015 - 3:00pm daily through November 14, 2015
Saturday, November 14, 2015 - 11:00am daily through November 15, 2015



Darrah Carr, Seán Curran, and Tara O'Grady

Irish Arts Center Presents

ModERIN SWINGS! Darrah Carr Dance

with Tara O'Grady & her Black Velvet Band

featuring guest choreographer Seán Curran

Irish Arts Center, 553 West 51st Street, New York City

November 13-15, 2015


Irish Arts Center presents the latest from Darrah Carr Dance - New York City's own Bessie award nominated Irish Dance Company! This season, three celebrated artists - Darrah Carr, Seán Curran, and Tara O'Grady - reimagine Irish music and dance! Performances run from Fri, Nov 13 - Sat, Nov 14 at 8pm, with a matinee on Sun, Nov 15 at 3pm and specially priced Family Shows on Sat, Nov 14 and Sun, Nov 15 at 11am.  Tickets are $35 Premium; $25 General; $15 for the Family Shows; $28 for Premium seats for IAC members; and $20 for General seats for IAC members. 

To purchase, call 866-811-4111 or visit www.irishartscenter.org.

Darrah Carr Dance fuses the company's trademark style of ModERIN with swing music from a bygone era, featuring live accompaniment by jazz vocalist Tara O'Grady and her Black Velvet Band.  Using inspiration from O'Grady's original songs and her unique renditions of Irish standards, Artistic Director Darrah Carr premieres exuberant new works for the cast of champion Irish step dancers. Dubbed a "Celt in the Cotton Club," O'Grady’s rich and soulful voice spans celtic, folk, funk, blues, jazz, and swing genres. Guest choreographer Seán Curran evokes the romance and charm of the Big Band Era with his playful piece On the Six - a whimsical fusion of swing dance rhythms and Irish dance steps.

The seeds for this season were planted last spring, when Carr laid down a percussive footwork track for O'Grady's fourth album Irish Bayou - featuring a gumbo of genres with original songs inspired by the Crescent City, from jazz and blues, to zydeco, folk and funk. Meanwhile, this season marks Curran's sixth partnership with Darrah Carr Dance.  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.  Their 2012 premiere of Dingle Diwali, a virtuosic display of powerful percussion set to the rhythmically complex vocalizations of British-Indian singer Sheila Chandra was nominated for a New York Dance and Performance Award, or a Bessie Award.

Additional highlights of the season include: specially priced Family shows, curated to inspire and ignite children's imaginations; dazzling displays of virtuosic Irish dance featuring live musical accompaniment by Niall O'Leary; a talkback with Artistic Director Darrah Carr, guest artist Tara O'Grady, and guest choreographer Seán Curran following Saturday night’s performance; and a pre-show conversation with Darrah Carr Dance starting at 2:30pm on Sunday.

About Darrah Carr Dance

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). 

“ModERIN is a combination of the best of both traditions, essentially creating a new language of movement from two distinct vocabularies of dance . . .To watch these performances is to see Irish dance in a whole new way . . . a glorious mélange of sound and movement that's breathtaking,”

 - Irish Dancing Magazine

In commemoration of the company's 15th Anniversary season in 2013, Macater Press published ModERIN: Contemporary Irish Dance Works - Darrah Carr Dance.  This impressive 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 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, The Duke Theater on 42nd Street, Celebrate Brooklyn, 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


Artistic Director Darrah Carr

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. 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, Carr has been active for over eighteen 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 ranging 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 the finest 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 has also contributed a chapter to Close to the Floor: Irish Dance from the Boreen to Broadway published by Macater Press. 

“Carr is a smiling, exuberant performer with an open upper body and fast-flying feet straight out of Irish step dancing . . . Her immensely likable and skillful dancers move with a space gobbling buoyancy and openness that looks as if they might take flight,” - The New York Times

Guest Artist Tara O'Grady & her Black Velvet Band 

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, O'Grady spent every summer on her grandparents’ farm in Donegal, Ireland where she listened to her granny Nora singing in her kitchen.  Her soulful voice has been compared to legends from Billie Holiday, to Doris Day, to 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 four CD releases, Black Irish (2010), Good Things Come to Those Who Wait (2011), A Celt in the Cotton Club (2013), and Irish Bayou (2015). O'Grady's recording of the famous song "Danny Boy" was recently ranked #6 in the Best Selling Blues songs in the UK due to her appearance in an award winning BBC documentary film, Danny Boy - The Ballad that Bewitched the World, along with actor Gabriel Byrne, filmmaker Jim Sheridan, musicians Judy Collins, Joe Jackson and Johnny Cash's daughter Rosanne Cash. The film was nominated for Best Documentary at the 2014 Irish Film & Television Awards. www.taraogradymusic.com

"This torchy chanteuse leads one of the most badass old-time swing bands you'll ever hear. One thing that distinguishes her from the legions of come-hither, moldy fig front women is that O'Grady writes her own songs - when she's at the top of her game, which she generally seems to be, they sound like classics from the 1930s. She brings Bessie Smith into this century with lickety-split swing," - New York Music Daily

Guest Choreographer Seán Curran

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 New York Dance & Performance 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 on Broadway in “James Joyce's The Dead” for Playwrights Horizons and “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

"There's no fresher, more invigorating new American dance now than the choreography of Seán Curran," - The Los Angeles Times

Darrah Carr Dance's season is made possible in part by public funds from the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts, and from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.  The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council administers both programs.  The American Ireland Fund also supports Darrah Carr Dance's family show programs.

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