Trinity Irish Dance Company
It’s everything you expect, but like nothing you’d imagine. A fusion of Ireland’s vibrant and longstanding dance form and elements of American innovation, Trinity Irish Dance Company (TIDC) dazzles audiences with its hard-driving percussive power, lightning-fast agility, and aerial grace. Minutes into watching the awe-inspiring precision of its dancers, TIDC expands whatever notions you may have about Irish dance, revealing its limitless possibilities through a performing arts lens.
About the company
Founded in 1990 as a way to celebrate the pioneering work of Founding Artistic Director Mark Howard, this innovative company is constantly searching for original means of expression while maintaining a high regard for tradition. Howard’s uniquely Irish-American company was the birthplace of progressive Irish dance which opened new avenues of artistic expression that led directly to commercial productions such as Riverdance.
After founding the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance in 1982, Howard’s competitive dancers soon began to win unprecedented world team titles for the United States at the World Championships of Irish Dance. Not content to simply win trophies, Howard ultimately began to venture outside the framework of ethnicity, expanding Trinity’s range and repertoire in a host of imaginative new directions. This led to the founding of the nonprofit TIDC which began providing a unique forum for creativity that ultimately attracted dancers from schools around the world.
By using Irish dance as an instrument and a metaphor, TIDC crossed both cultural and disciplinary boundaries in important ways. Through the years, TIDC has collaborated with many noted contemporary choreographers which have led them to an increased vocabulary of movement. The result is a thoroughly fresh and engaging artistic vision that goes beyond the source without losing touch with its essence.
TIDC has performed to great critical and popular acclaim on stages throughout the world, with sold-out tours in Europe and Asia and appearances in such distinguished venues as Washington’s Kennedy Center, New York’s Joyce and New Victory Theatres, Tokyo’s Orchard Hall, and Los Angeles’s Royce Hall, among many others. TIDC holds a unique place in the dance world, offering both a highly skilled presentation of traditional Irish step dance and a brilliantly engaging interpretation of contemporary world vision.
About founding artistic director/choreographer Mark Howard
For the past 36 years, this Emmy Award-winning choreographer has been striving for and achieving that which is profoundly significant and equally difficult to attain — the transcendence of craft to art and the synthesis of forms to create something that is forward-looking and new.
Born in Yorkshire, England, and raised in Chicago, Howard began his dancing career at age eight. At age 10, he would go on to compete at the World Championships of Irish Dance and feature well at the North American Nationals until his retirement at age 15. He began teaching dance at 17, and at age 19 launched the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance, subsequently leading them to unprecedented World Championship team titles for the United States, the first when he was only 23 years of age. Since its inception, the Trinity Academy has grown from a dozen students practicing in a church basement to one of the largest and most recognized Irish dance programs in the world.
In 1994 and 2001, Howard was named one of Irish American Magazine’s “Top 100 Irish-Americans” for his innovative work in Irish dance. In 1991, his PBS production of Green Fire and Ice aired nationally, and in 2002, PBS began airing One Step Beyond. Howard’s early work found a common rhythm and movement between African and Celtic dance, which was an integral part of the 1993 Emmy Award-winning PBS special World Stage. In 1995, his choreography was presented in the ABC special About Us: The Dignity of Children, hosted by Oprah Winfrey. Howard has done extensive film work for Disney, Touchstone, Universal, and Dream Works, working with the likes of directors Ron Howard (Backdraft) and Sam Mendes (American Beauty). Lara Flynn Boyle (Twin Peaks) and Kate Hudson (Almost Famous) are among the celebrities who have been his students. He also became the personal dance coach for actor Tom Hanks over a two-month period while working on the film Road to Perdition.
Howard continues to choreograph new works as well as expand his independent career to work in theater, television, concert, and film. A cable docuseries and feature film screenplay centered on Trinity are in the works.
“Impossibly complex” - The New York Times
“Irresistible” - Dance Magazine
“TIDC’s work has all the technical wizardry of exceptional Irish step dancing and the artistic depth of contemporary dance. When the two are combined, the art form is phenomenally exciting onstage.” - Maure Aronson, Executive Director of World Music/CRASHarts
- Trinity Irish Dance Company - Official website.