Stripping down to essentials: Breandán de Gallaí and NOCTÚ

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How It’s New York:  In New York, you stay put, people come to you!  So that this fascinating choreographer and co, participating in the 1st Irish Festival.  And camping out in a mansion in Teaneck, NJ (but they have power).
How It’s Irish:  Choreographer Breandán De Gallaí is Irish, his first language is Gaelic, and he was the lead in Riverdance for years.  Like Maire Clerkin, he believes Irish dance can do more than it’s been asked to so far…

I had a fabulous argument with choreographer Breandán De Gallaí on Wednesday night at Irish Repertory Theatre’s party for Noctú.  I think I won it, I’m not sure!  I was already interested in the show but I’m even more interested in a former Riverdance lead who loves proxemics and French philosophy (me, I loathe Pierre Bourdieu, but I love loathing him).

I will see and review the show and possibly get the very entertaining Breandan on the podcast, but meanwhile, here’s the intro to Robert Johnson’s lovely piece for the Star-Ledger:

Irish maverick goes bare: De Gallai pushes boundaries with ‘Noctu’

Published: Friday, September 02, 2011, 9:55 AM     Updated: Friday, September 02, 2011, 11:51 AM
Noctu10.jpgDeclan English

NEW YORK—A man whose native tongue is Gaelic, and who has made step dancing his profession, would seem to have his Irish credentials in order. Yet Breandán de Gallaí, choreographer of the Irish dance show “Noctú,” which makes its debut this week at the Irish Repertory Theatre, says that growing up in dance he felt like an outsider.
“I felt extremely marginalized being an Irish dancer,” de Gallaí confesses. “Although I come from Ireland, you know, guys don’t dance. It’s the same, I suppose, all over the world. You’re always kind of set apart. And I was quite shy as a child.”
This sensitive young man also had a streak of originality that did not endear him to the judges monitoring the orthodoxy of Irish dance competitions. Although de Gallaí was a virtuoso who eventually triumphed at the All Ireland Irish Dancing Championships, his long hair and flashy leg beats raised disapproving eyebrows. “It didn’t always pay off,” he admits. “In a tradition like Irish dancing, you need to push the boundaries so that you’re noticed. But you definitely don’t want them to think you’re a loose cannon.”

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Copyright 2011 New York Irish Arts