With boundless enthusiasm, Máire Clerkin burst onto the stage for her one-woman show “The Bad Arm: Confessions of a Dodgy Irish Dancer”, during the New York International Fringe Festival recently.
Performing to a packed theater, Clerkin displayed her ability to combine her talent for Irish dancing with acting. Throughout the 60-minute show, the veteran Irish dancer presented a lively and provocative account of how her interest was first stirred by her mother Shelia, a hardworking Irish immigrant who ran her own Irish dancing school in London.
Born to Irish parents and growing up in North London, Clerkin paints a vibrant picture of immigrant family life in the 1970s, where all her siblings got involved in Irish dance from a young age. “My brother was paid five shillings to dance,” she told a captivated audience.
Dance is a main feature of the show, in which Clerkin displays her agility through tapping and kicking her way throughout the show. Now based in LA, she expertly uses her dance moves to illustrate her coming of age tale, or as she describes herself the “underbelly of Irish dancing”.
Clamoring for her mother’s attention from a young age, to finally passing her dancing adjudicator exams with the Irish Dancing Commission in Dublin, Clerkin’s show strips bare the competitive nature of the dancing world in her refreshingly honest show.
While her flair for dramatics draws the audience in from the outset, her antidotes about love, failings and success, prompt several outbursts of laughter from the audience.
Directed by Dan O’Connor, the combination of dance moves, a slide show of images and atmospheric music, combined with Clerkin’s flair for performance result in an entertaining show with a difference.
For more information check out Máire Clerkin’s website
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