Think you already know what to expect from Irish dancing? What about Irish American dancing? For an example of it, look no further than the Solas An Lae School of American Irish Dance in Red Hook, founded by Deirdre Lowry in 1998. Lowry instructs every class herself, integrating the Irish techniques of dancing with those of ballet and American contemporary jazz dance to create a uniquely Irish American style.
This Saturday, November 3 at 8 p.m., the Solas An Lae Dance Company & Company B will perform new and repertory works choreographed by Lowry and Patrick Brown, the company’s performance and musical director, at the Kaatsbaan International Dance Center in Tivoli.
Solas An Lae (pronounced “sulas en lay”) is Gaelic for “light of day.” The Solas An Lae Dance Company currently consists of ten young dancers from the school. Formed in 2006, the Irish American style of the company has evolved since then through experimentation, as the dancers are trained in Lowry’s improvisational-yet-highly-stylized structure. Previous repertory productions include Incandescence, The Celtic Soul of Van Morrison, A Midwinter Night’s Dream and the latest production, Soul.
Lowry was educated at the Donald Golden School of Irish Dance in New York City, her training part of the An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha of North America in competitive Irish dance. She has danced competitively in regional and national Irish dance competitions and with many prestigious musical groups, and studied ballet and contemporary dance theater and Irish studies at Bard College. Credited with taking the Irish dance form for the first time to such prestigious dance venues as Jacob’s Pillow, the 92nd Street Y, Symphony Space and the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, she was commissioned by John Meeham, director of Vassar Repertory Dance Theater, to choreograph the company finale in 2010 for its annual gala at the Bardavon Opera House in Poughkeepsie.
Patrick Brown, performance and musical director, began collaborating with Lowry and the Solas An Lae program in 2002, conceiving and scoring all of its theatrical productions. Raised in Los Angeles, California in an artistic family, he studied music at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and toured as a professional percussionist and drummer. Today, Brown oversees every aspect of Solas An Lae, from its productions, musical scores, training and choreography to the photography and videography of its rehearsal and performances.
The nonprofit Kaatsbaan (Dutch for “playing field”) International Dance Center was designed to provide national and international dance companies and choreographers with an affordable year-round facility where they can rehearse, perform and showcase new work. The Center includes seven professional dance studios, accommodations for 90 dancers, a lodge, dining hall and conference room complex, a 160-seat studio workshop theater and a 1,200-seat performance theater equipped for video production, a visitors’ center with retail shops and exhibition galleries and a set and costume production facility – all set on a historic 153-acre site that was once home to Eleanor Roosevelt’s grandparents.
The Solas An Lae Dance Company and Company B will perform new and repertory works choreographed by Deirdre Lowry and Patrick Brown on Saturday, November 3 at 8 p.m. at the Kaatsbaan International Dance Center in Tivoli, located at 120 Broadway. Reserved seating costs $20 for adults, $15 for students and $10 for children. Tickets are available at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (845) 481-2223. For more information, visit www.solasanlae.com.