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Life-changing Opportunities at the Riverdance Trinity College International Summer School

Posted on 02 August 2016

Ireland’s leading university, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin joined forces this summer for the second consecutive year with internationally acclaimed Riverdance to host the Riverdance Trinity College International Summer School.  The innovative summer school, which takes place in The Lir National Academy of Dramatic Art at Trinity, facilitates the fusion of the top names in Irish culture and higher education in an international context.  Of huge significance to those undertaking the course, the programme also offers participants the unparalleled opportunity to be selected to join Riverdance itself. 

Following completion of the Riverdance Trinity College International Summer School programme last year, Irish dancer Ciara Callaghan-Ryan, was one of four successful graduates to be chosen to perform with Riverdance.   As a result of undertaking the intensive week-long programme, Ciara from Tipperary and three additional Irish dance students from the US, were selected to join Riverdance and have since toured globally with the world-renowned show. 
Ciara, ranked as one of the top ten Irish Dancers in the world for five years running, was asked to join the Riverdance troupe immediately after completion of the course.  ‘This is a dream come true for me – a life-changing opportunity.  I’m now in my dream job and I have to pinch myself every so often’, said Ciara.  ‘All I ever wanted to do was dance with Riverdance.  We have a saying here that timing is everything.   Attending the summer programme at Trinity last year meant I was in the right place at the right time … and I’m now where I want to be’.  For the past year, Ciara has toured with Riverdance in Ireland, the UK and Germany.  She is now back in Ireland to take this year’s cohort of students through their paces.  When speaking about the summer school programme, Ciara explained, ‘you’re with instructors all week.  They get to know your personality and passion, not only if you’re a good dancer, but also a team player’.  She adds, ‘it was one of the best experiences of my life and to actually be called out to perform with Riverdance was amazing’. 

Participants of the summer school, ranging in age from 12 to 35 have come to Trinity from all over the world to learn the art of Irish dance from special guest tutors and lead dancers of Riverdance itself.   This year’s programme welcomed students from across the globe, including dancers from Australia, Canada, Japan, Russia, China, South Africa and the US.   Students undertake an intensive week-long programme of performance, dance and choreography in an Irish cultural context.  

Speaking at the launch of the summer school, Vice President for Global Relations Professor Juliette Hussey welcomed students saying, “we are delighted to be a partner with Riverdance, another world-leading Irish institution, in bringing you here to Dublin, one of Europe’s most vibrant cities, to participate in an experience which I know will change your lives.  Global citizenship is an ambition we have for all of our graduates here at Trinity. Coming from many different countries and cultures, to partake in Riverdance’s unique expression of Irish culture makes all of you global citizens”.

The summer school at Trinity allows students to gain an insight into the award-winning Riverdance, which has wowed millions across the globe and contributed to the re-shaping of Irish cultural heritage.  The programme’s seminars and workshops provide the theatrical, historical, social and cultural contexts of Riverdance, from its emergence from the Eurovision Song Contest where it was first performed in 1994 to its global success. Composed by Bill Whelan, produced by Moya Doherty and directed by John McColgan, Riverdance returns home to Dublin to celebrate its 21st birthday this summer. Riverdance will run at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin from 14 June – 4 September 2016. 

Based in Trinity’s 400 year old historic campus, the summer school provides students not only with a deep understanding of Riverdance - one of Ireland’s great success stories and cultural milestones - but also of the university itself and its centuries-long association with culture and the creative arts.