Getting into the Irish groove: dancing in Boston Irish music sessions
Jones, Samantha Christine
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Irish music sessions are informal performance spaces meant for musicians to create music for listening. The repertoire of this music tradition, however, is composed of dance music. In Boston, there is a group of Irish dancers who attend music sessions, seeking out live music performance with which they can dance. In these live performances, musicians and dancers have the opportunity to create collaborative and mutually meaningful performances. In my research, I explore the nature of collaborative performance between musicians and dancers in Boston Irish music sessions through an investigation of social relationships, participatory expectations, and performance elements like tempo, instrumentation, rhythm and dance style. Dancers are performing an improvisatory genre of Irish dance known as sean nos as a method of achieving successful collaborative performances with live musicians. The success of a music session is measured by the musicians' likelihood and ability to experience groove. A successful collaboration between music and dancers is measured against this same experiential goal. In some circumstances, the experience of groove leads to the experience of flow.
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