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, bodhrán, and céili drums. 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.
At the New Century, we believe that excellence can be measured objectively in terms of technical skill, stylistic achievement, well-roundedness, and good character. We believe that every student is unique, and will excel in his or her own way if given the right opportunities. We prepare our students for a musical life, and hope that they will seize the opportunity to become artists and tradition bearers in their own right.
Our classes fall into three semesters: Winter/Spring, Summer, and Autumn spanning January to June, June to August, and September to December, respectively, with several-weeks break for August vacations and Christmas. See the New Century Calendar for the current dates. Private lessons do not follow semesters or take "breaks".
We offer group make-up classes for scheduled student absences. Each semester contains a proportaional number of make-up sessions per class: four in winter/spring, one in summer, and two in autumn. These classes will be scheduled at the discretion of the instructor. Snow cancellations will be addressed individually.
New Century classes at the Severna Park Community Center (SPCC) follow SPCC's snow closure policy. If SPCC is open, we will hold classes. Cancellation of private lessons due to blizzards, penguin uprisings, and the unyielding malice of snow queens is at the discretion of the instructor.
SPECIAL WORKSHOPS & MASTER CLASSES
The New Century holds special workshops and master classes with local and visiting artists. These are valuable opportunities for our students to learn repertoire and style from master artists other than their teachers, and to gain exposure to a range of perspectives on music and dancing.
One-on-one lessons separate from or in addition to the scheduled dance classes are available.
We accept payment for classes in cash or checks, or on cards via the New Century Irish-Arts Store.
We recommend basic clogging oxfords for our kids classes. These shoes come in children's sizes, and there is a supply of lightly used shoes in circulation locally. Adults can wear any leather-soled shoe or taps. After a time, students in the intermediate class will be expected to move into a tap shoe for performance.
For class: We recommend wearing comfortable clothes. Many students and instructors wear workout clothes; others wear jeans. Wet/dry/hazmat suits are not appropriate.
For Performance: We require students to observe a dress code for class performances, but we are strictly committed to freedom of expression within that model. Past dress codes have stated, for instance, "a nice shirt in a shade of blue with black pants or black skirt". In our opinion, most important consideration in dressing for traditional arts performance is to, without pretense of grandeur, pay homage to the art form and the people who wrought it.
Autumn Semester | 22 September to 15 December 2017 (except 24 November) | Severna Park Community Center
Christmas from Ireland in Maryland | December 10th and 17th, 2017 | Severna Park Community Center, Holy Grounds
Winter/Spring Semester | 12 January to 8 June 2018 (except 30 April) | Severna Park Community Center
5th Annual Sean-Nós Competition | June 2018 | McGinty's Public House, Silver Spring, MD
Musical Arts and Dance Week | July 2018 | Bethesda, Maryland