New studio opens to Boston Irish community

By Gianna Barberia, news staff

Whether it’s the luck of the Irish or just good timing, a new Irish step dancing studio held its grand opening celebration Sunday, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Kieran Jordan Dance, located in Hyde Park, bares the name of the Irish step dancing veteran who established it.

The studio opened its doors on Jan. 1, settling in a bit before the official unveiling with 200 people at noon on Sunday. One of the welcoming speeches came from Brian O’Donovan, a radio host and Irish music producer. Irish Consul-General Fionnuala Quinlan officially welcomed the studio to the community.

“[The grand opening] was wonderful. It was so much fun,” Jordan said. “We had live music all day long. My students performed all day, and we had a few welcoming speeches.”

Jordan began Irish step dancing when she was 5 years old, and now has 20 years of experience under her belt. She cites her father’s Irish heritage as the main reason she began the sport.

“My dad listens to Irish music and took me to a St. Patrick’s Day parade,” Jordan said. “The story goes, I saw a group of Irish dancers and begged my parents for lessons.”

Since then, Jordan has been performing as a solo dancer and teaching her own company. The new studio was Jordan’s latest endeavor.

“I’ve been running my own businesses and programs all over Cambridge, but I felt like I needed a stage of my own,” Jordan said.

Vincent Crotty, Jordan’s husband, is an Irish artist who painted the signs for the studio.

“We met in Dorchester in 1997,” Jordan said, “We met through the Irish community here, which is a very rich and vibrant one.”

Although her husband is not a dancer, Jordan has made him one of her students.

“He does set dancing now,” Jordan said. “He’s coming around.”

Jordan emphasized that her studio is an accepting place for dancers of all genders and experience levels, including beginners like her husband.

“My particular focus is non-competitive dancing,” Jordan said. “A lot of Irish dancing today is centered around competitions. I focus more around live music and the social aspects of it.”

Kieran Jordan Dance teaches three style of Irish dance: Step, set and Sean-nós. The latter is Jordan’s speciality, and she said she was the first person in New England to teach it.

“I am excited that there is going to be an expansion of the Irish dance community in Boston,” said Ana Gallotto, a third-year physical therapy major and hard shoe Irish dancer for NU Dance Company (NUDANCO). “A new Irish dance school will give more people the opportunity to spread the Irish culture and become a part of such a great tradition.”

Gallotto, who has been Irish step dancing since she was 2 years old, came in 12th place at the Irish Dancing World Championships. She said Irish step dancing is special because it has allowed her to travel around the world and have many unique experiences.

“I have gotten to travel to Europe multiple times, I have danced at the World Series with the Dropkick Murphys and I have made friends from all over the world,” Gallotto said. “The Irish dancing community is such a great community to be a part of, and I encourage everyone to try it out.”

Emily Durfee, a second-year physical therapy major, also performs hard shoe Irish dance with NUDANCO. She’s been dancing since she was 6 years old, even though she is only one-sixteenth Irish.

“My dad says that I saw Riverdance on TV when I was little and wanted to dance like they did,” Durfee said. “But I remember watching an episode of ‘The Wiggles’ that had Irish dancers perform in it, which is the story I stick to. I love that Irish dance is different and athletic and beautiful and cultural.”

Cultural is exactly what Jordan wants her new studio to be. In addition to dance classes and performances, she plans to bring in lectures, demonstrations of historic dance footage and art exhibits, including her husband’s art.

Jordan said while she is particularly passionate about Irish dance and music, her new studio space is useful for many genres and will be a space to promote wellness and inspiration for all.

Although Jordan has danced professionally for two decades, traveled around the world for dance and now opened up her own studio, she said her biggest professional achievement thus far was creating a community around Irish dance and music.

“My teaching mission has been making [Irish step dancing] available for teens and adults,” she said. “But the community that I built around me and being able to step back at the grand opening and see the friendships that people developed through taking my classes […] you go into this very focused on the thing itself, which is dance. It’s my passion, and I have a lot of drive and artistic ideas. You don’t go into it thinking about the community, but it’s most gratifying part.”

Photo by Dylan Shen

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