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date: 17 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the shifting dynamics of practice and transmission in sean nós dancing, an Irish solo, percussive, and semi-improvisatory dance form. This dance form extended its contexts of practice in the 1970s from rural, informal, and intimate gatherings in Conamara in the west of Ireland, to a national staged competitive event, the Oireachtas, considered to be the primary national competition for sean nós dancers. The chapter argues that competition culture influenced the transmission and practice of the dance form and the ethno-aesthetic embodied in its practice. With live television broadcasts of the competition from the first decade of the 2000s, an increased interest in sean nós dancing in Ireland and further afield followed, and concerns around issues of performance, identity, place, and authenticity arose.

Keywords: sean nós, dance, Conamara, Ireland, competition, Oireachtas, performance, authenticity

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