09 Aug 2022

Longford dancers set for Fleadh main stage

Irish Dancers

Ally Cornyn (Age 14) and Grace Cornyn (Age 12) from Ballymahon, Co. Longford. (Carson Academy of Irish Dance)

Longford dancers will take to stages in professional cutting edge dance troupe this weekend as the world's largest annual celebration of Irish music, language, song and dance takes place just across the county bounds.


“We're very excited to be bringing an international troupe of 40 dancers to the Fleadh Cheoil in Mullingar in August, 25 are Irish and the remainder are from overseas,” Chris Nash of dance ensemble Fusion Fighters tells the Leader ahead of their visit to the Midlands celebration of all things traditional.

Fusion Fighters have over 300,000 followers across social media channels and pride themselves in there 'creativity and inclusivity' that brings a cast that include a variety of ages, nationalities and levels to share the combined passion for Irish dance and performance.

Among the cast of Fusion Fighters to perform on the main stage at the gig rig and Fleadh TV will be Longford dancers Eva Kelly, Grace Cornyn and Ally Cornyn. The girls participated in a live performance last Saturday with the group on RTE1's for 'Up For The Match'.

“We have dancers from all over Ireland,” Chris told the Leader, “Our performance style of dance is little bit different, it is more casual. Less rigid in the arms. There is a fusion of different dance style element in the performance, hence the name.”

The presentation of the Fusion Fighters performances are renowned for the uniqueness in approach to choreography, inclusion of stunning imagery and the collaboration of both modern and traditional Irish music. Fusion Fighters has now completed many professional tours across Europe.

The development of traditional dance since the Revolution of Riverdance has been a phenomenon. Contemporary performers like Prodijig, Rhythm of the Dance or The Gardiner Brothers join Fusion Fighters at the forefront of contemporary Irish dance: “We are more experimental with different types of music, different technology, and different influences. Obviously we are still anchored in traditional Irish music,” Chris says.

One of the Fusion Fighters dances in Mullingar this weekend is Ballymahon's Eva Kelly (Age 14), a pupil in the Doolen Cullen School of Irish Dance. Eva told how she got involved with the dance ensemble's Fleadh performance: “I decided to join Fusion Fighters when my mum showed me an advertisement for it online, I have always wanted the opportunity to perform Irish dance in a non competitive setting.

“Being from Ballymahon and the Fleadh taking place in Mullingar I decided to sign up. My favourite part about performing Irish dance is seeing the audience faces light up when the music begins and the dancers take the stage. I am most looking forward to taking part in street performances and also performing on stage alongside amazing dancers that I get to share this experience with!” Eva said.

Ally Cornyn (Age 14) and Grace Cornyn (Age 12) are both from Ballymahon and dance with the Carson Academy of Irish Dance: “We are both delighted to be taking part in the Fleadh in Mullingar this year with Irish dance group Fusion Fighters as we will get the chance to meet others with the same interests and love of Irish dance,” Ally said.

Ally enjoyed last week's TV show: “We had the amazing opportunity to perform on RTE’s up for the match last Saturday with Fusion Fighters. The excitement is building and cannot wait to perform on the Fleadh's Gig Rig on the Main Stage with the assembled International Cast of over 40 dancers. After moving from New York just over a year ago to live in Ireland, we are delighted to take part and dance for the huge crowds attending the Fleadh.”

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