UCD students are being encouraged to apply for five new scholarships in Irish Dancing. The places are part of the university’s new Irish Dancing Ensemble, created to promote the national art of Irish dance. Those picked will receive a financial stipend, and the chance to perform in Ireland and abroad.

The ensemble will be directed and trained by Jean Butler, UCD’S Dance Artist in Residence in the School of English, Drama, and Film.  As the original female lead and co-choreographer of Riverdance from 1994 to 1997, she is a veteran in the art of Irish dance. Butler plans to host informal dance lecture demonstrations of her personal research, including conversational lectures as UCD’s Dance Artist in Residence.

Professor Danielle Clarke, Head of the UCD School of English, Drama and Film at UCD, says of Butler’s appointment: “We are thrilled that someone of Jean Butler’s talent and international reputation will be working with students and faculty in the School.  Her appointment will help us fulfil our ambition of bringing creative and critical practice into productive dialogue, as well as showcasing our strengths in the area of performance.” Eilis O’ Brien, UCD Director of Communications, furthered: ‘adding Irish Dance to our performance repertoire was a very natural step for us as we knew we were missing this element of our cultural heritage.’

Applications are open to the UCD student body and can be made through the scholarships tab on SISweb. Applicants are asked about their dancing experience, why they would like to part of the dance ensemble and their learning goals, as well as being required to upload a two-minute clip of their dancing. Applications close on midnight October 1st, with the second stage involving an audition, an interview regarding experience and ambitions in more detail, and a group workshop in the second week of October.

Aisling Dowd – News Writer