National Folk Theatre of Ireland Training Academy
Centuries ago in Ireland, dancing teachers would tour the land, teaching people the steps involved in jigs, reels, and hornpipes. They would pass on these traditions by dancing beside their students, step by rhythmic step.
Now, thanks to the internet, you can learn from today’s dance masters in your own home.
Siamsa Tíre, the National Folk Theatre of Ireland, has a series of on-demand dancing workshops called ‘Sharing the Tradition’. Available as and when you want them, they are taught by Jonathan Kelliher, the Artistic Director of Siamsa Tíre and a traditional Irish Munnix Dance Master.
Jonathan dances in a unique way known as the Munnix style. This style originated in North Kerry in the early 1700s. It has since been passed down through the generations by dance masters like Jonathan.
He is looking forward to passing it on to even more people through these on-demand workshops. “Part of our core mission here at Siamsa Tíre is to explore and share our traditional arts,” he says. “The pandemic meant we had to look at how we could continue to do this with restrictions in place. We decided to use technology to share our dance traditions with all those interested in conserving and developing our traditional and folk arts, no matter where they are.”
Dancing experience is an advantage for these workshops, but not required. Jonathan teaches the basic steps and shows exactly how they are woven together into a dance. He also tells the story of Munnix dancing and how it has survived to the present day.
The classes are open to anyone over the age of 16 and can be enjoyed at your leisure from 20th May at a time that suits you. The fee for this series of four workshops is €50 or $61.00.