In his Solo Square Dance, Nic Gareiss presents a percussive dance performance that commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Irish Dance Halls Act, which banned citizens from dancing in homes. His 60-minute show features new pieces inspired by this and other such dance bans, including the Elmore City, Oklahoma, dancing ban that inspired the film Footloose and the most recently lifted dancing ban in Pound, Virginia (only lifted in 1999), which required that dancing permits not be granted “to anyone who is not a proper person, nor to a person who is not a person of good moral character.”
Solo Square Dance uses traditional and original step dance movement from Ireland, Canada, and Appalachia to explore the dialectic of public/private life, probing the subversive power of dancing+sounding bodies. The show asks the question: In light of its historic prohibitions, can dance act as a vehicle of liberation and social transformation for our present times?
Originally published at irishstudies.nd.edu.