The University of Wisconsin Press

Dance / Irish Studies / American Studies


Steps in Time
The History of Irish Dance in Chicago
Kathleen M. Flanagan

Irish Dance series

In the melting pot of America, Irish dance came of age in Chicago

In this first detailed history of Irish dance in the Irish diaspora, Kathleen Flanagan gives a fascinating account of the art form in Chicago, the city that is currently one of the global centers for Irish dance practice. From the first appearance of step dancers at Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition to the emergence of world-renowned Chicago performers and choreographers such as Michael Flatley and Mark Howard, she depicts the teachers, schools, and performances that contributed to making Chicago an international center for Irish dance. Flanagan takes the reader on a journey that is distinctly Irish yet unmistakably American. Surrounded by and intersecting with a unique and complex set of cultural and political influences, Irish Americans in Chicago took the lead in innovations within the dance form that eventually led to such groundbreaking productions as “Riverdance” and “Lord of the Dance.”

“Flanagan has constructed one of the few local histories ever written on any form of dance in diaspora. This fusion of the global and the local is of relevance not only to those interested in Irish dance, but also to dance history and performance studies in general.” —Moe Meyer, Series Editor, University of New South Wales, Sydney

“Kathleen Flanagan has long been a teacher and advocate of Irish dance and one of the most important voices to share the history of Chicago’s role in the development of this beautiful art form.” —Mark Howard, founder and director of Trinity Academy of Irish Dance

“Flanagan’s book is meaningful, insightful, and a significant contribution to the field of Irish dance history. No other city, either in Ireland or North America, has been so well documented. It is a valuable resource for dance enthusiasts and researchers alike.”—John Cullinane, retired historian of Irish dance, University of Cork

Kathleen M. Flanagan is associate professor of theater at St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota. She is a teacher of Irish dance certified by Irish Dancing Commission, Dublin.

Irish Dance Series
Moe Meyer, Series Editor

Distributed for Macater Press

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Cover of book has an orange background with a black and white picture of dancers and then a color photo of dancers.

March 2010

LC: 2008931225
174 pp.    6 x 9  
85 b/w photos

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Paper $24.95 t
ISBN 978-0-9814924-1-4
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