Kieran Jordan, based in Boston, is an Irish dance performer, teacher, director and choreographer, and owner of the Kieran Jordan Dance Studio. With a professional freelance career spanning more than 15 years, Kieran is best known for her original stage productions and recordings, and her innovative teaching programs that have brought sean-nós and old-style Irish step dance to students and audiences internationally.
Kieran was born in Philadelphia in an Irish American family, and she started Irish step dancing when she was just five years old. A life-long passion for music and movement, and a pursuit of health, wholeness, and joyful self-expression have guided her highly-individual career in Irish dance.
“One of America’s premier dancers and instructors” (Irish Echo), Kieran has been recognized as a leading artist and contributor in her field. She was the recipient of a 2008 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship and a 2010 Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant. She has a Master’s Degree in Contemporary Dance from the University of Limerick, Ireland, and a B.A. from Boston College in English and Irish Studies. She also holds the TCRG certification for teaching Irish Dance.
With a style described as “playfully theatrical” (The Boston Globe) and “wonderfully expressive” (The Living Tradition), Kieran has toured as a featured solo dancer for more than two decades, collaborating with some of today’s finest traditional musicians. Her performances reflect her life in dance — drawing from the rhythmic precision and elegance of Irish step dance, the full-body freedom of contemporary modern dance, and the fluid musicality of sean-nós dance.
Kieran has performed in concerts throughout North America and Europe, working closely with musicians including Laura Risk and Paddy League, Laurel Martin and Mark Roberts, Seán Clohessy, Sean McComiskey, Cleek Schrey, Hanneke Cassel, Matt and Shannon Heaton, and the group Childsplay — combining her “fanciful footwork and improvisational flair” (The Boston Globe) with a warm and uplifting presence on stage.
Kieran’s choreography is “firmly rooted in Irish tradition, yet full of modern energy… infused with adventure, confidence, and a mischievous wink, ensuring the long-term survival of this ancient form” (Susan Gedutis Lindsay, author of See You at the Hall.) As one of the first to craft solo improvised sean-nósdancing into a form for small ensembles on stage, Kieran’s work “eschews the spectacle of many large-scale productions” (The Boston Globe), highlighting the intimacy and immediacy of live Irish music and dance.
Kieran choreographed the WGBH theater production A Christmas Celtic Sojourn from 2004-2011, creating and directing dances for performers including Kevin Doyle, Nic Gareiss, Maldon Meehan and Ronan Regan, Mats Melin, Caitlín Nic Gabhann, Aidan Vaughan, Nicholas Yenson, herself and others, to the music of Liz Carroll, Danú, Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, Solas and more.
From 2012-2014, she wrote, directed, choreographed, and performed for the US touring show Atlantic Steps, produced by Oisín Mac Diarmada and sean-nós dancer Brian Cunningham. She has also choreographed for A St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn, The Christmas Revels, Dancing at Lughnasa, Childsplay, and The Sole Mates, a five-piece ensemble she brought together for a tour of Germany in 2011.
With her own company, Kieran Jordan Dance, she has been active for more than a decade, training dancers in her distinctive style, often merging “undulating, languid modern dance with upright Irish step dancing” (Boston Herald). Her evening-length productions include The Living Landscape (2013 and 2014) and Little Gifts(2016), which both feature live music and original set designs painted by her husband, artist Vincent Crotty. In 2017, she created five new pieces for Kieran Jordan Dance, set to the 17th century Irish harp music of Turlough O’Carolan, arranged and played live by Symphony Nova, a Boston-based chamber orchestra.
photo credit: Kelly Sullivan Lorenz