A cool post-modern, post-Riverdance, YouTube video has gone viral for a pair of traditional Irish dancers gone rogue. “Look Ma, No Feet! - Irish HAND Dancing,” types one online fan of the quirky 2:20 minute video clip featuring the hands, arms, and off-beat (and on-the-beat) talents of dancers Suzanne Cleary and Peter Harding, alumni of Riverdance and creators of their own original take on Irish stepping, the multimedia enhanced Up & Over It!.
Cleary and Harding first met on the Irish dance competition circuit where they jigged their way to a slew of championship titles, earning them a four-year tour with Riverdance, followed by a stint as dancers and artistic directors for the touring Magic of the Dance. The pair began stretching the boundaries of Irish dance, absorbing the influences of other dance styles and blending in multimedia innovations that would culminate in Up & Over It!.
Here’s how a couple of reviewers took to the duo’s take on Irish dance:
“Just as shows such as Riverdance sought to release Irish dancing from the steely grip of the competitive circuit, this entertaining hour seeks to liberate the form yet further.”
The List, Kelly Apter, August 2009
“Billed as Irish dance for the post-pop generation, this is both a paean to and a deconstruction of the form…the pratfalls, physical comedy and character-based humour of this performance create a highly engaging show for a very enthusiastic audience. Marrying the genres of dance and character-comedy, the piece is a great success at every level.”
The Stage, William McEvoy, August 2009
Here’s the clip that’s spreading the latest strain of the Irish creative virus, set to the tune “Americano:”
Not surprisingly the pair has a strong social media presence with a popular YouTube site (http://www.youtube.com/upandoverit), an active Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/upandoverit?ref=ts ) with 2,132 fans (make that 2,133 as I just clicked “like”) and a website (http://www.upandoverit.com).
There are no US dates for Up & Over It! at the moment, but Cleary and Harding will be creating work specifically for online distribution over the coming months, and hope to announce US dates next year. With the spread of their viral video, they may want to make the trip even sooner.
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