Atlantic Steps dance troupe performs March 15

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and get your feet moving when the Irish dance troupe Atlantic Steps takes the stage at Northeast State on March 15.

Atlantic Steps takes the stage of the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts Theater on the College’s main campus, adjacent to Tri-Cities Regional Airport.  The show begins at 7 p.m. and doors open at 6:30 p.m.  Tickets are $15 for reserved seating and $12 for students and seniors. Book your tickets online now at

A Master Class with the cast of Atlantic Steps is being offered for $10.00 at 4 p.m. the day of the show. There are only 25 openings for this class. Participants should have some dance experience. Reserve your space online at or call the office of Cultural Arts at 423.392.8414.

Atlantic Steps lighting up the stage.
Atlantic Steps lighting up the stage.

The performance is sponsored by the City of Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts and, in part, by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission.  Special guest Fire in the Kitchen will open the show.  Playing together since 2002, Fire in the Kitchen specializes in presenting lively Appalachian and Celtic music to audiences.

Atlantic Steps is the inspiring epic story of Ireland’s oldest dance form, portrayed through the music, song, dance and Atlantic-Ocean-inspired energy of the Connemara region. Centered on the joyful sean-nós (pronounced shawn-nos) style dance of extraordinary Irish dancer Brian Cunningham, the show continues to move festival and theatre audiences to their feet.

Atlantic Steps performs March 15 at the WRCPA.
Atlantic Steps performs March 15 at the WRCPA.

Having performed alongside Irish greats including Dé Danann, The Chieftains, Sharon Shannon, Altan, Dervish & Téada, Cunningham brought his dancing talents to headline the high-profile Volvo Ocean Race spectacular in Galway during 2009.  When 20,000 people danced the night away at Galway’s docklands within striking distance of the Atlantic Ocean, he was convinced of the worldwide potential of the sean-nós (also known as old style) dance, handed down from his grandparents as a tradition from the days of house dances.

One of many forms of Irish dance, sean-nós dance is an informal and spontaneous art form, traditionally performed solo. Unlike the better known Irish step-dancing (Riverdance), sean-nós dance is characterized by its “low to the ground” footwork, free movement of the arms, and improvisation. Creating a percussive music of its own, sean-nós can be seen in such American forms as clogging, hoofing, and soft shoe tap dancing.

Brian Cunningham dancing up a storm.
Brian Cunningham dancing up a storm.

Cunningham leads a formidable cast of dancers and musicians including Jordan, one of Irish-America’s hottest talents who began dancing at age five, and has been a major figure in the sean-nós revival in the States. The musicians include some of Ireland’s top traditional artists including the great Séamus Begley of County Kerry on accordion and Oisín Mac Diarmada of the group Téada, one of Ireland’s premiere fiddlers today.

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