Dancers give traditional Irish steps a new twist

Lightning-fast footwork, Celtic music and colorful costumes � that's what you can expect to see from the Trinity Irish Dance Company when the troupe performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Lied Center.

The two-hour program is expected to include "Johnny," "Blackthorn," "Step About," "Just Shannon," "Treble Jig" and "Celt Thunder," all choreographed by founder and artistic director Mark Howard; "Curran Event," by Sean Curran in collaboration with the company's dancers; and "The Mollies," by Howard and Brian Jeffery.





What: Trinity Irish Dance Company.When: 8 p.m. Saturday.Where: Lied Center.Ticket prices: From $17 to $40.Tickets available at: Lied Center Box Office, 864-ARTS; Murphy Hall Box Office, 864-3982; Student Union Activities Box Office, 864-3477; KU Medical Center Bookstore; Ticketmaster outlets, (816) 931-3330 and (785) 234-4545; and online at TICKETS.COM.

The performance will feature 16 dancers between the ages of 18 and 24.

Three musicians will provide music for the production; recorded music also will be used.

Howard says his company was the first to do "progressive" Irish dance, freeing it from the rigid-torso line dancing of the past. The dance style includes dramatic choreography, expressive upper-body articulation and quick footwork.

Traditional Irish dancing is tightly choreographed, and all attention is directed to the speed and accuracy of footwork, the spacing of the ensemble and the precision of the dancers' movements.

Dances are performed in hard shoes called jig shoes or in soft shoes called ghillies, with steps set to traditional reels or hornpipes.

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Two dancers from the Trinity Irish Dance Company perform a soft-shoe routine. The troupe will perform Saturday night at the Lied Center.

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