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Dancing her way around the world

CLARE’s very own Aisling Drennan has proven herself to be a real ‘dancing queen’ taking to the stage with the stars of the new international show Women of Ireland.

The show recently launched its national debut at the INEC in Killarney with special guests, the legendary traditional super group Frankie Gavin and De Danann.

Aisling Drennan“I’m really enjoying doing the show, it’s wonderful working with the likes of De Danann, Frankie Gavin, everybody who is involved. It’s a very talented bunch of people and I’m very happy to be a part of it,” said the Lisdoonvarna dancer.

Fresh from a 10-week coast-to-coast concert hall tour of the United States of America with the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra, Women of Ireland and Frankie Gavin and De Dannan perform at Ireland’s National Event Centre until September.

Twenty-seven-year-old Aisling began Irish dancing at age four with Jackie Scanlon in Ennis going on to dance professionally at the young age of 16.

“I started off dancing in my parents’ pub Kincora House in Lisdoonvarna with my two older sisters, one of which ended up dancing with Lord of the Dance,” she recalled.

Aisling herself later began touring with Riverdance – The Show, and she still performs as part of their flying squad team.

A former ballet student, she chose Irish dancing as her future choice of dance to pursue professionally.

“In retrospect, I feel I made the right choice in Irish dance as it has been very self-fulfilling for me. I began touring which opened up a world of opportunity, the highlight of which was touring for several years with Riverdance – The Show,” she said.

Aisling has performed in all continents with highlights including dancing at the Acropolis in Athens, for President Mary MacAleese at The Great Hall of the People in Beijing; for President Putin in the Kremlin, Moscow; for Empress Michiko in Tokyo; the Crowned Prince of Dubai and Comic Relief 2009.

“I’ve been to more than 40 countries and there have just been so many highlights. I kept a diary of everywhere I have been and it’s only when I go through it that I remember a lot of the experiences. I truly appreciate all of the opportunities I have had,” she said.

While she has travelled the world, Aisling is delighted to be back performing on home soil. “I’m very happy to be living back at home; I adore where I grew up and I still think it’s the most beautiful spot in the world living on the edge of the Burren,” she told The Clare Champion. As well as her dancing skills, Aisling is also following in her mother’s footsteps, well-known artist Doreen Drennan. Aisling is currently studying for her BA in Art and Design at GMIT. The talents of the Irish female performers are superbly brought to light on stage by the group Women of Ireland comprising three vocalists, together with an outstanding female instrumentalist and world-class female dancers who complete the group.

De Dannan are led by Frankie Gavin and the launch of this new show celebrates the rebirth of the De Dannan trad group. Frankie Gavin is one of the genuine legends of Irish music.

For many years, De Dannan were the forerunners in the Irish traditional music world but after 33 years, 14 albums and a number of changes in the line-up, the group disbanded in 2003. This summer, Frankie Gavin has unleashed a new De Dannan which in his own words “will reflect a De Dannan of the 21st century”.

He added, “I am also very pleased to be working with the group Women of Ireland and judging by the standing ovations the act received night after night in the States recently, I know it’s going to be a huge talking point in Ireland during the summer.”

The new De Dannan line comprises Frankie Gavin on fiddle, flutes and whistles, Michelle Lally on vocals, Eric Cunningham on percussion, flutes and whistles, Damien Mullane on accordion and Mike Galvin on bouzouki and guitar.

In the recent past, Frankie and his band have played support to The Rolling Stones at Slane Castle, performed at The White House for the President of the United States and performed at the Dubai Irish Festival UAE with the Dubai Philharmonic Orchestra. Future dates are also scheduled for De Dannan at Carnegie Hall in New York, Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi and Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

Tickets are available at the INEC box office on 064 6671555.

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