Ms. Shannon (Shannon Dunne)
Dance Master, Tradition Bearer
For Shannon's full bio/website go to http://shannondunne.com
Irish traditional music plays a paramount role in Shannon’s life as both a robust dancer and an unostentatious musician. Her studies on button accordion with famed box player Billy McComiskey and on concertina with Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin and Alex Boatright have given her further knowledge about Ireland’s dance music, which fuels the spirit of sean-nós dancing.
This interpretative dance form from western Co. Galway closely mimics the music, and the worth of a dancer like Shannon is in her ability to convey this connection—and convey she does. Her work with master dancers such as Róisín Ní Mhainín, Pádraig Ó hOibicín, Gearóid and Patrick Devane, to name but a few, has given her intimate access to this tight-knit dance community and has afforded her a place among the top sean-nós dancers in North America.
Shannon Dunne’s talents and abilities have been recognized by many an art-based organization including the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has also worked alongside cultural community organizations such as the O’Neill-Malcom Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann as a dance director and works continuously to positively shape the future of Irish dance in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Her collaborative nature has seen her dance on stages across the globe with groups such as the Mick Moloney's Celitc Appalachia, Kitchen Quartet, Christylez Bacon's Washington Sound Museum, as well as record with musicians such as DC-based ensemble Lilt. Her choreography has been featured at the DC Christmas Revels and performed by various companies in the U.S. including the Kieran Jordan Dancers, the Maldon Meehan Dancers and the Teelin Irish Dance Company. Shannon Dunne is a performer of extraordinary integrity and merit with many years of experience behind her and an ever-brightening future ahead.
Ms. Marsha (Marsha Searle)
Marsha Searle grew up studying ballet and Scottish Highland dancing. She studied at Brigham Young University earning BFA degrees in both Composite Dance and History, focusing on World Dance and Modern. During her time at BYU Marsha performed with the International Folk Dance ensemble for 4 years, touring the United States, British Isles, Canada, and Belgium and performing in the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Olympics. Shortly after moving to Maryland in 2004 she became a principal dancer with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble. She has been dancing professionally with Footworks for 13 years and is currently one of Footworks’ codirectors, their school show director, company manager, and rehearsal captain. Marsha also dances with the Celtic band IONA.