Trinity Irish Dance Company preview-Stomping out objectification on The Auditorium Theatre’s landmark stage

Trinity Irish Dance Company; photo by Chelsea Hoy
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Trinity Irish Dance Company (TIDC) returns to the Auditorium Theatre’s landmark stage, at 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive, Chicago on Saturday, February 29, 2020, to launch the world premiere of three works.

American Traffic is a piece co-commissioned by the Auditorium and choreographed by tap dancer/MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Michelle Dorrance and tap dancer/ choreographer Melinda Sullivan. “We are honored to provide commissioning support for innovative works such as American Traffic, and we can’t wait to see the new pieces TIDC brings to our stage in the new year,” said Rich Regan, Auditorium Theatre CEO. American Traffic is a hybrid of Irish step and American tap that celebrates the nuanced differences between the two forms, creating a new percussive language.

“Trinity Irish Dance Company is the cutting edge of Irish dance. They achieve a powerful combination of cultural depth, innovation, and artistry with exceptional technical range,” said Dorrance.

Michelle Dorrance and Melinda Sullivan with Trinity Irish Dance Company; photo by Chelsea Hoy

Home, choreographed by TIDC Founding Artistic Director Mark Howard and Associate Artistic Director Chelsea Hoy, was inspired by the way “home” can be found in unexpected places, bringing musicians and dancers together on stage to engage in a percussive tour-de-force conversation where each dancer brings something to the table

Listen was choreographed by Colin Dunne, an internationally acclaimed dancer known for both Irish step and contemporary movement; the piece is a deconstruction of Irish dance that pays homage to the form’s deep traditions.

In addition to the three world premieres, TIDC will present the Chicago premiere of Goddess, choreographed by longtime TIDC collaborator Seán Curran. Goddess is a hypnotic blend of Irish and Indian movement. TIDC worked with Hema Rajagopalan, artistic director of Chicago’s Natya Dance Theatre, to refine the traditional Indian movements in the piece.

The program also features Howard’s classic pieces Soles, a tribal and timeless rhythmic study; Push, an explosion of hard-driving percussive power that exemplifies the company’s consistent message of female empowerment; and Johnny, one of Howard’s signature works that altered the landscape of Irish dance. A special appearance by Grammy-nominated fiddle player Liz Carroll and original music from Irish-born, New York-based singer/songwriter Brendan O’Shea round out the program.

Trinity Irish Dance Company is the high watermark of the art form; a uniquely Irish American dance legacy that is rooted in tradition, yet forward-looking and ever evolving. Progressive Irish dance is an innovative movement genre which opened new avenues of artistic freedom with a unique blend of uncompromising power and grace.

Chelsea Hoy; photo by Anna Gorman

Interview with TIDC Associate Artistic Director Chelsea Hoy:

This reviewer had the opportunity to interview TIDC Associate Artistic Director Chelsea Hoy, whom Mark Howard says “has been entrusted with TIDC’s ethos and future,” quite a significant position for a 24 year old. However, Hoy has already blazed a noteworthy path for herself in the world of the performing arts. Known for being interpersonally and creatively complex, a rebellious activist and generous with her time and talent, she has a clear artistic and political vision: to empower children through the arts, to to utilize this art form to forge connections, to move women to an upfront position in the dance aesthetic and in the culture.

“The legacy of TIDC has not just shaped the landscape of dance in Chicago; it has altered the trajectory of percussive dance across the country,” said Hoy. “It’s a huge responsibility to push back boundaries in an integrity-filled way; it’s an honor to participate in the future of this endeavor”.

She confided, “This dance company brings together almost everything I love. It embodies visual art and it allows the dancers to stomp out objectification. Through new choreography we have transfigured the nature of older forms in which the percussive power is relegated to the men. Our dances and our ethos are gender-neutral; everybody has the opportunity to be an equally significant participant and to make an equal impact.”

Hoy concluded, “TIDC sends a consistent message of  beauty, pride and strength with a repertory that has elevated the art form for nearly three decades. I’m proud to be a part of it, and I look forward to presenting our stellar program at The Auditorium Theatre on February 29th.

Trinity Irish Dance Company; photo by Lois Greenfield

For more information, visit

Performance Information:

Trinity Irish Dance Company

Saturday, February 29 | 2PM
Saturday, February 29 | 7:30PM

Individual tickets start at $35 and are available online here, by phone at 312.341.2300, or in person at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office (50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive). Tickets are available now as part of the Auditorium Theatre’s two-show “Made in Chicago” Dance Series, which offers a 15% discount and also includes Giordano Dance Chicago. Discounts for groups of 10 or more people are available now. Box Service tickets, which include an open bar and snacks one hour before the show and during intermission, are available for $80 (adults) and $64 (young people under the age of 18) using the code BOXSEAT.

The Auditorium Theatre also offers $15 student rush tickets to full-time college students and $5 tickets to young people ages 13-19 with Urban Gateways’ Teen Arts Passprogram. The Auditorium Theatre’s ADMIT ONE program offers complimentary tickets to Chicago-area community groups.


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