Stepping to the fore: The promotion of Irish dance in Australia | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Performance and Ireland
  • ISSN: 2044-3714
  • E-ISSN: 2044-3722

Abstract

This article contributes to scant literature on Irish dance praxis in Australia by demonstrating how the confluence of global and local factors have permitted Irish dance in Australia to step to the fore. Irish step dance is a globally recognizable genre that has dispersed through, first, the migration of Irish people throughout the world and, more recently, through itinerant theatrical troupes. In Australia, a significant node of the Irish diaspora, Irish step dance has managed to achieve unusual prominence in a dance landscape that has traditionally been dominated by genres from within the Western concert dance canon. Drawing on both extant literature and ethnographic data, this article examines three threads from the narrative of Irish dance in Australia. First, the general choreographic landscape of the nation is described, showing that the preferences of Australian dance audiences have been shaped to privilege styles that are popular onstage and on-screen, with the resulting marginalization of culturally-specific genera. Second, localized effects of the global contagion instigated by the development of the stage show are explored. Here, the domains of aesthetics and decisive marketing strategies are discussed, showing how engagement with Australian audiences was achieved. Finally, the article introduces an idiosyncratic localized influence, the children’s musical group The Wiggles, which was conceived independently but which also promoted interest and enthusiasm for Irish dance in Australia by engaging with young children and presenting propriety of Irish dance as available to all, regardless of cultural ancestry.

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2020-12-01
2024-02-21
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): aesthetics; Australia; dance; diaspora; marketing; Riverdance
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