Blas for dancers is a two week intensive dance camp in Irish step dancing including traditional and sean nós dancing along with related traditions like that of the Cape Breton step dancing tradition. Blas dance students gain an appreciation of both competition and show styles of step dancing, through numerous practical dance skill classes, classes in choreography and special workshops in traditional sets amongst many others. Emphasis is also placed on gaining an understanding of the development of step dance over its history. Therefore, while the majority of classes will be practical in nature, these will be supplemented by workshops and talks illustrating the development of some of the forms taught in class. Classes on group & social dances are offered to all Blas students throughout the 2 weeks of the programme.
Blas gives access to some of the most prominent names within the Irish dance world as tutors at the school. It features classes with some of Irelands most renowned dance teachers who have successful track records training pupils to the highest dance titles and for entry in dance show troupes. The dance programme at Blas has open access to all where the class sizes are deliberately small to facilitate the greatest access to these tutors and teachers. True to its name, Blas gives its’ students a taste of different styles with most students having more than two different masterclass tutors per week. This means Blas teachers rotate every day or two days, giving students the chance to work with different masters of the tradition.
Blas, as hosted by the Irish World Academy, also taps into the established dance expertise of the year round courses (BA Irish Music and Dance, MA Contemporary Dance Performance, MA Irish Traditional Dance Performance) where technique, choreography, academic study and body awareness in dance are paramount.
An emphasis is also placed on understanding step dancing and other traditional dance forms within the wider tradition of music, song and dance within Ireland. These traditions have become separated to some extent in recent times but have a shared history and development. To truly understand and perform one aspect to the best ability, an appreciation of all the traditions as a whole is necessary. With this in mind, Blas dance students interact and take shared classes with Blas music and song students, giving dancers a greater understanding of the music and musicians that they dance to, and importantly, vice versa.
What to expect in a masterclass
Individual masterclasses focus on different aspects of the dance with some classes teaching new repertoire through fixed step routines, others will take your existing repertoire and critique this as to where improvements in technique can be made, while further classes will focus on the choreography of new material in consultation between teacher and students. Masterclasses often run concurrently with classes given by local dancers and teachers giving further opportunity to learn new steps and technique and allowing time spent with masterclass tutors to be as individual as possible.
Classes are taught within the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance rooms at the university. The numerous dance studios have sprung floors, marley and full length mirrors to create the best learning environment.
Please note that permission to use any video recording equipment during class is solely at the tutor’s discretion and should not be assumed.