13th Annual
Irish Dance Festival

Admission: FREE

Photo credit: Darial Sneed

13th Annual
Irish Dance Festival

Sunday, May 4 | 1 pm - 7 pm

*Festival goes on rain or shine. Rain plan: Festival will take place on the basketball courts under the overpass.

Riverside Park South 
Pier I at 
W 68th Street 

Kick up your heels and celebrate the start of summer with a day-long Irish Dance Festival. Hundreds of the best Irish dancers gather on the Hudson to showcase the heart-stopping expressiveness and distinctive style of traditional Irish dance.

Led by festival artistic director Niall O’Leary TCRG, ADCRG, there are tons of opportunities to join in—the whole family can enjoy dance classes, musical sessions, Irish language classes, singing circles, face-painting and one large dance céilí to top off the early summer evening.


Live music throughout the day by Isaac Alderson, Marta Cook, Tony DeMarco,
Chris McLoughlin, Leah Rankin

1:30pm Niall O'Leary School of Irish Dance    Performance
2:00pm Ceili Dancing!
Learn a few traditional steps!             
Everyone out on the dance floor
All ages, group dancing   

Cuthbert “Tura” Arutura
Sean-Nós Dance

2:40pm   Leah Rankin                     
Cello Solo
2:45pm   Percussive Dance Jam                  
All styles of percussive dance welcome! All ages, group dancing led by Leah Rankin

Performance / Participation

3:00pm Niall O’Leary Fun Dance
Learn a few traditional steps!

Julia O’Rourke, star of JIG, the Irish Dancing Movie and Melanie Valdez from Doherty-Petri School
Newly-crowned World Champions just back from the Worlds in London 2014

3:55pm Cuthbert “Tura” Arutura
Sean-Nós Dance
4:00pm Donny Golden Dancers Performance

Percussive Dance Jam
led by Andrew Vickers
All styles of percussive dance welcome!

4:40pm Niall O’Leary Irish Dance Troupe            Performance

Donny Golden Fun Dance
Everyone out on the dance floor! All ages, group dancing

5:35pm Darrah Carr Dance  Performance
5:55pm Cuthbert “Tura” Arutura
Irish Rap
6:00pm Percussive Dance Jam                  
led by Cuthbert “Tura” Arutura
All styles of percussive dance welcome!

Evening End Céilí for All!
Everyone out on the floor for some fun and easy group dances
Music by Tony DeMarco and Marta Cook


DANCE, MUSIC & LANGUAGE TENT                                      

1:15pm  Traditional Irish Music Session – All Welcome!
with the Irish Arts Center Céilí Band, led by Elsa Regan

Fun Dance for children with Andrew Vickers
Music by Isaac Anderson

3:00pm  Irish Language Conversation Circle
with Caoimthe Nic Giollarnaith
4:00pm Fun Dance for children with Cuthbert “Tura” Arutura  
4:25pm   Irish Traditional Song Circle with Louise Kitt  


1:00pm-5:00pm Children’s Face Painting
1:00pm-1:45pm Gaelic Kids (Irish language learning games for children) with Caoimthe Nic Giollarnaith
2:00pm-4:00pm Arts & Crafts for Kids  
3:00pm-4:30pm Hero’s Journey Obstacle Course (just beyond the tent)

Please note: all schedules subject to change

Supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, Culture Ireland, Bank of America, the George E. and Annette Cross Murphy Fund, and generous individual donors.

Facebook Twitter You Tube Foursquare



1 Train to 66th St.

Walk west on 66th St. to the end of the block (past ABC). At the end of the block make a right onto Freedom Place? Walk up the block and make a left onto 68th St. Walk past the large high-rise apartment buildings to the Riverside Park South entrance. You will be able to see most of the park from this entrance.

A, B, C & D Trains to 59th St. Columbus Circle.

Transfer to the 1 and follow the above directions.

2 & 3 Trains to 72nd St.

Walk west on 72nd St. and make a left onto West End Ave. Walk down (south) to 69th or 70th streets. Turn right and walk over to Freedom Place. Make a left onto Freedom Place and a right onto 68th St. (You may be able to take 70th St, straight to Riverside Blvd.)

4, 5, 6, 7, E & F Trains must transfer to the above trains and follow the appropriate directions.


Use the West End Ave and Broadway lines and follow the above the directions.

Cross-town buses: M72 headed west. The bus will stop at Freedom Place & 68th St. This stop is a block away from the park.

Performer Biographies

Isaac Alderson was born in Chicago in 1983, and lived there until the age of 18. He first discovered Irish traditional music at the age of 12, and there was no turning back. He spent his teenage years studying the flute and whistle with Laurence Nugent, and the uilleann pipes with Al Purcell, Patrick Cannady, and Kieran O'Hare.

At 18, Isaac moved to New York in order to dive into the city's phenomenal Irish music scene. He began playing gigs here, and quickly became a well-established professional performer. In 2002, he won the All-Ireland Senior Championships on all three of his main instruments, which encouraged him to continue to pursue music as a full-time career.

After finishing college, Isaac toured for two years with Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul. He left the band in 2008 and began playing with other artists such as James Riley, Johnny Cuomo, Jameson's Revenge, Gráinne Murphy, and many others. He now performs full-time with The Yanks, Comas, Celtic Crossroads, Ensemble Galilei, and The Bronx Boys.

Cuthbert Arutura “TURA”
Born in Zimbabwe, Tura moved to Northern Ireland when he was 19 years old. His practice combines traditional African music and dance and urban street traditions. With dedicated study Tura has in recent years become an accomplished Sean Nós (traditional Irish) dancer and Irish language and culture aficionado. The combination of these three traditions – African, urban street, and Irish – is both powerful and empowering.

Primarily a dancer, choreographer and musician, Tura has expanded into production, music composition, journalism and screen-writing. He is an activist voice for the preservation of cultures and is renowned in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for teaching creativity
and diversity to young people. His dance, music, and movement company Artfrique Creative has produced numerous performances, workshops and educational programs for nearly 20 years.

Darrah Carr Dance is a Bessie Award nominated professional Irish dance company that specializes in ModERIN: a unique blend of traditional Irish step and contemporary modern dance. The company blends Irish music, step dance footwork, and spatial patterns to create high-energy, rhythmically based work that is accessible to a broad audience.  Darrah Carr Dance recently celebrated its 15th Anniversary during the company’s annual Fall season at the Irish Arts Center.  Additional performance highlights include: a guest appearance with The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall; a featured spot on NBC’s “The Today Show;” and The Yeats Project at the Irish Repertory Theater.  For more information on the company, please visit: www.darrahcarrdance.com.

Marta Cook is a composer and performer based in New York City. Her work expands the sound palette and technical language of plucked strings to translate inspiration from older fiddling, piping and singing traditions in solo and collaborative interdisciplinary work. A traditional musician from a young age, she learned much of her music in Chicago and is well-known as an accompanist with an interest in developing the harp as a rhythm instrument. Trained at the University of Chicago and Chicago College of Performing Arts, in recent years Marta has contributed to albums by Of Montreal and Yo-Yo Ma and traveled widely throughout Europe and North America. Highlights include the 11th World Harp Congress (Vancouver), Espace Culturel Bertin Poirée (Paris,)  L'Arc Scène Nationale (Bourgogne,) New York Live Arts (Manhattan,) Spoleto Festival USA (Charleston), Pritzker Pavilion (Chicago), The Irish Centre (Leeds, UK), New York University, Evergreen State College (WA,) the University of Oregon (Eugene,) Sacred Heart University (CT,) and countless harp festivals. 

Chris McLoughlin comes from a family of Irish dancers and musicians. His mother, Patsy McLoughlin, runs the McLoughlin School of Irish dance; his father is a singer. His mother taught him how to dance. Tragically, his dancing career was short lived, due to very turned in feet. He learned to play music from Maureen Glynn Connolly, who also encouraged him to play for the dance competitions. Chris is an 8 time All Ireland accordion medalist. He has played several times at the World Championships; he has played at the North American Nationals for the past 22 years, and he has also played extensively throughout Canada, Ireland, Great Britain, Scotland, Australia, & New Zealand. He has performed at venues including Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Shea Stadium, Citifield, and Madison Square Garden.

Leah Rankin is a cellist and champion Irish step dancer from the Woodgate School of Irish Dance in Buffalo, NY. She attended the University of Rochester where she studied cello performance and ethnomusicology at the Eastman School of Music. In Rochester she performed as part of the Meliora String Quartet for visitors to the University such as Colon Powell, Stephen Chu, Anderson Cooper, and Bill Nye. In 2010 she performed with University of Rochester Chamber Orchestra as the winner of the UR Concerto Competition. Leah founded the UR Celtic club in 2006 to teach Irish dance, music and culture to university students and the club continues to perform in Rochester in cooperation with the Dunleavy School of Irish Dance. Leah went on to receive a master’s degree in Arts Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in Syracuse, NY and currently works in New York City as a Public Relations Associate at Carnegie Hall. She is an active member of the NYC Irish music scene, and has performed with musicians such as Joanie Madden, Cillian Vallely, Brian Conway, Patrick Mangan, Brian Fleming, and more. She studied traditional cello with Natalie Haas and has toured to Ireland as part of the Rochester chapter of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. Leah is also a licensed Zumba instructor, currently teaching classes in Astoria, Queens.

Tony DeMarco is an Irish fiddler and has been performing and teaching Irish fiddle music for more than 30 years. He is now one of leading living exponents of the New York/Sligo fiddle style. The late Paddy Reynolds, Andy McGann and Martin Wynne were very influential on Tony’s playing, as was the music of New York/Sligo fiddlers of the generation prior, including Michael Coleman, James Morrison, Paddy Killoran, and James “Lad” O’Beirne. Tony’s album The Sligo Indians, released in 2008 on the Smithsonian Folkways label, is tribute to this style and the musicians that shaped his music. His landmark The Apple in Winter album with Brian Conway, now available on Compass Records, is a highly regarded example of the old Sligo-style twin fiddle music from New York. Tony’s popular A Trip to Sligo tutorial, co-authored with Miles Krassen, is scheduled to be re-issued soon.
Tony’s fiddling has been featured in music programs at New York University organized by Mick Moloney, as well as the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick headed by Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin. Tony has performed and recorded with many traditional and modern players and bands, including The Flying Cloud, Black 47, Celtic Thunder, Wishbone Ash, and the Kips Bay Ceili Band, and has appeared on various compilations on Rounder Records. Tony has performed at Boston College Fiddle Festival, the Chicago Folk Fest, Sligo Live Fest, Return to Camden Fest and Ennis Trad Fest, to name a few.

NIALL O'LEARY, TCRG, ADCRG, is a former All-Ireland and World Champion. His teachers included Kevin Massey, proclaimed by Michael Flatley to be the greatest Irish dancer ever, and Rory O'Connor, the first man to do Irish dancing on the radio. O'Leary qualified as an Irish dance instructor in 1994. In 1996, he put together and choreographed the first-ever multi-national team to compete in the World Irish Dance Championships, including dancers from Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Belgium, Australia, Botswana, the US and Ireland. Niall O'Leary performs regularly as a solo artist, in duet with Darrah Carr, and with various acts such as Natalie MacMaster, Cherish The Ladies, The Prodigals, The Andy Cooney Band, and Mick Moloney’s Green Fields of America. He conducts occasional workshops and master classes around the US , Ireland , Mexico , Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and Cuba. He has released an instructional video on Irish step dancing entitled Cuts from the Kitchen. He is the founding chairman of Úll Mór CCE, the Manhattan branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, a feis musician playing accordion and keyboards, and also practices as an architect. O'Leary was honored in 2004 by Irish America Magazine as one of the Top 100 Irish-Americans of the Year. 212 726 1602 |  ireland@nialloleary.com | www.nialloleary.com

NIALL O'LEARY IRISH DANCE TROUPE is a professional Irish dance company performing at festivals, showcases, weddings, corporate events, and concerts. The Troupe has toured the US and Japan , performing in such prestigious venues as Osaka Festival Hall. In December 2001 and March 2002 the Troupe toured the US with The Three Irish Tenors. The Troupe performed a free open-air concert every summer in New York at the Union Square Summer in the Square concert series for many years. They also performed at the Wintergarden at the World Financial Center three times in recent years. They have also performed for DKNY and danced on NY1 and Fox 5. The dancers in the Troupe are from Ireland and across the US but now all live in New York . Together they blend their influences and experiences to create an exciting Irish dance show, combining traditional forms with new choreography. The dancers in the performance at the Festival this year are Niall O’Leary, Darrah Carr, Caitlin McNeill, Andrew Vickers, Rosemary Cooper and Jake James. 212 726 1602 |  ireland@nialloleary.com | www.nialloleary.com

NIALL O'LEARY SCHOOL OF IRISH DANCE was founded in Dublin , Ireland , in 1995, and was established in New York in 1996. Classes in solo dancing, céilí dancing and dance drama for children and adults are held in Manhattan , Queens, Staten Island and Hastings-on-Hudson , as well as the Florida Panhandle and Cancun, Mexico. Manhattan venues include the Irish Arts Center and five other locations, making this the largest Irish dance school in the city. Classes are taught by Niall O’Leary TCRG ADCRG, Louise Corrigan TCRG, and Clare Duignan TCRG. The school has been featured on NBC-TV, FOX-5, CBS Radio, The New York TimesThe Daily NewsThe Irish EmigrantHome and Away, various Queens papers and Fuji-TV ( Japan ), and for the last three four has taken part in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade on 5th Avenue. 212 726 1602ireland@nialloleary.com | www.nialloleary.com

Andrew Vickers holds a Masters Degree with first class honors in Traditional Irish Dance Performance from University of Limerick and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. Andrew began Irish Dancing at the age of 9 gaining the titles of Great Britain and Connaught Champion as well as placing 4th at the World Championships. His professional career has spanned the past 15 years performing internationally on some of the most prestigious stages as principal dancer for shows such as To Dance on the Moon, Dance of Desire, Magic of the Dance and more. Credited with choreography for certain pieces in these productions and new Cork based production Pulses of Tradition Andrew has also been invited to perform as a soloist with world class acts such as Frankie Gavin & DeDannan, Seamus Begley, Teada, Buille,  and The Dubai Philharmonic Orchestra amongst others. His New York debut was a collaboration with Dance Theatre of Ireland and Soul Steps for the production: Every Little Step The Rhythm of Hope. This piece combined Irish Dance, African American Stepping and contemporary dance with personal tales of hope and perseverance premiering at the Joyce SoHo in 2011 . Andrew has recently moved to the NYC area and looks forward to sharing his style of percussive Irish dance with people throughout America.


“the advanced Irish technique of Andrew Vickers strikes sparks during his call and

response........” (New York Times).


Photo Credit Darial Sneed


Box office phone 866-811-4111
Administrative office phone 212-757-3318 fax 212-247-0930
553 West 51st Street, New York, NY 10019 | DIRECTIONS
General information info@irishartscenter.org
Office hours Monday-Friday 10 AM – 6 PM

Irish Arts Center programs, are made possible, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Irish Arts Center programs, are made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Irish Arts Center programs are supported, in part, by Culture Ireland, the agency for the promotion of Irish arts worldwide.

Irish Arts Center programs are supported, in part, by government partners including the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; Culture Ireland, the agency for the promotion of Irish arts worldwide; the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Consulate of Ireland in New York; the Northern Ireland Bureau; British Council Northern Ireland; the Arts Council of Northern Ireland; The American Ireland Fund; Howard Gilman Foundation; Tourism Ireland; Bloomberg Philanthropies; and thousands of generous donors like you.

© 2017 Irish Arts Center