A MUSICAL LIFE
At the New Century, we believe that traditional music and dancing are a strong foundation for a rich intellectual and creative life. The areas we train—musicianship, technique, music theory, history, and repertoire—translate well into baroque and classical music, but they are uniquely suited for taking part in the lively cultural network that spans the Irish diaspora. A good Irish musician or dancer can trade on his skills almost anywhere in the world, and always has an introduction in a local traditional music community.
We teach Irish traditional music out of an amalgamated Clare, East Galway, and Limerick style that emigrated to Maryland in the 1970s via New York. Our local style is moderately paced and carefully ornamented. In our community are top-shelf players and teachers on the fiddle, flute, uilleann pipes, button accordion, concertina, tenor banjo, mandolin, piano, guitar, bouzouki, harp, and bodhrán. Between Annapolis, Baltimore, and Washington, DC, we also have several expert traditional singers. Our students have the opportunity to learn from any of these musicians.
We teach Irish dancing out of a mostly Munster tradition that originated with dancing masters in the late 18th or early 19th century. Our students learn steps and figures as well as technique and stagecraft. Our focus is on turning out students who know Irish traditional music well and can put forward beautiful steps in an elegant, metrical style with clean technique.