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Special Collections & Archives: National Dance Archive of Ireland


Housed at the Glucksman Library, the National Dance Archive of Ireland (NDAI) collects, preserves, and provides access to collections pertaining to dance in Ireland. Genres represented in the archive include traditional Irish, social, contemporary, ballet, popular, folk, urban, and world dance.

The NDAI's distinct primary sources offer immense scope for research. They contain a wealth of untapped material of great range and depth for exploration in the discipline, for example, sole extant recordings which provide the only tangible traces of historic dance works. Comprising over seventy-five collections, the NDAI is an invaluable resource for dancers, choreographers, students, historians, and all those who have an academic, professional, or vocational interest in the evolution of dance in Ireland.

Below you will find an outline of just some of the research possibilities within the collections. All materials are made available for consultation in the Special Collections Reading Room, located on Floor 2 of the Glucksman Library.

For a full list of the NDAI collections, click here.


If you are interested in ballet companies currently active in Ireland, take a look at Ballet Ireland, Chrysalis Dance Company, Cork City Ballet and Irish National Youth Ballet Company.

If you are interested in the life and careers of individual ballet dancers, both professional and amateur, then take a look at Barbara Clarke, Patricia Crosbie, Rosemary Dalton, Cliodna O'Riordan and Domy Reiter-Soffer.

If you are interested in the early history of ballet in Ireland, the following collections are worth your attention: Dr Ruth Fleischmann, Ann Gallagher, Catherine Gyll, Irish National Ballet, Joan Denise Moriarty, Victoria O'Brien, Gerard O'Meara and Sara Payne.

For a fusion of ballet and contemporary dance, explore Chrysalis Dance Company and Fiona Quilligan.

For ballet costume and set designs, take a look at the wonderful drawings by Rosemary Cockayne.

Contemporary Dance

If you are interested in contemporary dance companies, take a look at CoisCéim Dance Theatre, Croi Glan Integrated Dance Company, Daghdha Dance Company, Dance Theatre of Ireland, Dublin Contemporary Dance Theatre, Fitzgerald & Stapleton, Irish Modern Dance TheatreJane Kellaghan (CruX Dance Theatre), Junk Ensemble, Maiden Voyage, Mariam Ribón (Dublin Youth Dance Company),  )+(=O, Myriad Dance, Night Star Dance Company, Ponydance Theatre Company, Rex Levitates, Shakram Dance Company and This Torsion.

If you are interested in individual dancers and choreographers, explore the collections of Olive Beecher, Adrienne Brown, Joan Davis, Marguerite Donlon, Jane Kellaghan, Katarína Mojžišová, Fearghus Ó Conchúir, Liv O'Donoghue, Fiona Quilligan and Catherine Young.

If you are interested in exploring the early history of contemporary dance in Ireland, go straight to Joan Davis, Dublin Contemporary Dance Theatre,      Daghdha Dance Company and Catherine Gyll.

Irish Traditional Dance

If you are interested in Irish Traditional Dancing, explore the collections of Terry and Nancy Bowler, City of Dublin Irish Dance Championships, Comhdháil na Múinteoirí le Rincí Gaelacha, Siân Ferguson, Dr Catherine Foley, Michael Meehan, Mary Mulcahy, Pat Murray, Nan Quinn, Joe and Siobhán O’Donovan, Maura Rothery and Brenda Springer.

If you are interested in theatre dance and tap dance which draws inspiration from Irish Dancing, take a look at Roisín CahalanJames Devine, Marie Duffy and Patricia Mulholland.

Irish dancing costumes from different periods are contained in the collections of Roisín Cahalan, Patricia Durcan, Patricia Mulholland  and the Wolahan Family.


Popular Dance and Folk Dance

Barbara Clarke dedicated her spare time to dance and gained countrywide publicity through her appearances in RTE's popular programme, Shall We Dance?  You can access her collection here.

Joyce Richardson trained in Spain with great flamenco stars such as Maria Maya,   Belen Maya, Javier la Torre, Esperanza Linares and Ana Salazar.  She began teaching  flamenco in 2005 and in the same year founded her Dublin-based company, Aires Flamencos.  You can access her collection here.

The superbly choreographed work of Norman Maen is perhaps best remembered from  the primetime television series This is Tom Jones (1969-1971) which gained him an Emmy for outstanding achievement in choreography in 1970.  He arranged dance  routines for stars like Liza Minnelli, Julie Andrews and Juliet Prowse, and was the  creator of a number of dance routines for the Muppet Show, including the unforgettable Swine Lake sequence featuring Rudolf Nureyev and Miss Piggy.  Maen's other notable contributions to the world of entertainment include several years as director of the Royal Variety Performance, choreographic work created for musical theatre in Dublin and the West End, and choreography for the musical The Young Ladies of Rochefort (1967), starring Gene Kelly and Catherine Deneuve.  You can access his collection here.

'Stories from the Archive' Podcast Series

Inspired by the holdings of the National Dance Archive of Ireland, the Podcast series 'Conversations from the Archive' contains a growing collection of interviews that have been initiated and recorded by Dr Catherine Foley, Director of the NDAI, in an effort to add to the existing primary source material available to researchers in Irish dance.

Michael Blair

Brian Bunting

Patricia Crosbie

Marguerite Donlon

John Scott

Jonathan Kelliher

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