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Jean Butler Critical Correspondence Interview

Jean Butler in Conversation with Jen Rosenblit

Jean Butler, who is renowned for her work as a practitioner of Irish dance, talks with choreographer Jen Rosenblit about DAY, the evening-length solo that she commissioned choreographer Tere O’Connor to create for her. DAY’s New York premiere will take place at Danspace Project on November 11-13, 2010.

Jen Rosenblit: I’m here with Jean Butler, talking about Jean’s experience as an artist/performer leading up to the New York City premiere of DAY, choreographed by Tere O’Connor. Jean, just to give a little background information, please talk about your training in terms of how you understand the body. How you came to dancing and where are you at now?

Jean Butler: I’m going to be 40 next March, and I started dancing when I was three. My mom put me in ballet and tap, which I did not like very much. My mom is Irish, and she eventually found an Irish Dancing class. She thought it would be a great way to keep her culture in our family. There was something immediate about Irish dancing that I loved, probably in the informality compared to the ballet class. I think it had a lot to do with the teacher, Donny Golden, who I still consider my teacher today.

Irish dancing is a cultural art form that exists within a competitive world. It’s related to ballet in the way it’s taught. It’s a formal technique. It’s codified. There’s a correct way of doing things, and there’s an incorrect way of doing things. As a result of the competitive aspect of Irish dancing, there’s less consideration for process.

Read the full interview here.

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