Centuries ago in Ireland, dancing teachers toured the land, teaching the steps involved in jigs, reels, and hornpipes. They passed on these traditions by dancing alongside their students, step by rhythmic step.
These days, thanks to the internet, you can learn from dance masters in your own home.
Here at Siamsa Tíre, our online ‘Sharing the Tradition’ workshops are aimed at intermediate and advanced dancers who want to learn the unique North Kerry style of ‘Munnix’ style of hard shoe dancing.
These workshops are taught by Jonathan Kelliher, the Artistic Director of Siamsa Tíre and a traditional Irish Munnix Dance Master.
The Munnix style dates back beyond the early 1700s and originated in North Kerry. It was passed on by a travelling dancing master called Jeremiah Molyneax (affectionately known as ‘Munnix’). Born in 1883, he perfected his unique style of dancing in his fathers’ forge and became a Munster champion dancer at 18 years old. He started teaching when he was 20 and stopped at the age of 70. Munnix perfected the fluid movements, timing and steady rhythm, which is what makes this style special. It has since been passed down through the generations by dance masters which now includes Jonathan Kelliher.
Older than the state itself, Munnix dance plays a major role in so many of the productions in The National Folk Theatre repertoire. Growing up and as Jonathan Kelliher developed his training within Siamsa Tíre, he watched recordings of the great North Kerry dancers, Jack Lyons, Phil Cahill, Liam Tarrant, Jerry Nolan, Paddy White, all of whom trained under Munnix. Jonathan grew to love their style, the characters, and their stories. Being from North Kerry himself, he felt connected to them and has a sense of belonging to something special.
In these one-hour-long workshops, Jonathan starts with the basic Munnix steps and shows how they are woven together into a variety of dances, all while telling the story of Munnix dancing and how it has survived to the present day.
Book your place on our next Sharing the Tradition workshop now.
Sharing the Tradition Online Classes for Children
In 2022, Siamsa Tíre plans to bring its training programmes in the traditional arts to children and young people all over Ireland and beyond.
Just as it does in the National Folk Theatre Children Training Academy in Tralee, it will offer classes in traditional Irish music, song, and dance online.
These two-hour-long classes will take place weekly over the course of four weeks. They will be broken up into three 40-minute sessions covering music, song, and dance. We intend to run two series of classes during the spring season and two more in the autumn.