Dance the Tune
Michigan-born dancer, musician, and dance researcher Nic Gareiss has been described by the Irish Times as “the human epitome of the unbearable lightness of being,” and “the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene” by the Boston Herald. His choreographic work re-imagines movement as a musical activity, recasting dance as medium that appeals to both eyes and ears. Gareiss draws from many percussive dance traditions to weave together a dance technique facilitating his love of improvisation, traditional footwork vocabulary, and musical collaboration. He has performed with many of the luminaries of contemporary traditional music and dance, including The Chieftains, The Gloaming, Darol Anger, Dervish, Buille, Liz Carroll, Genticorum, Bill Frisell, Step Afrika!, Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, Rhythm in Shoes, Bruce Molsky, Alasdair Fraser, and Martin Hayes.
In 2011 Gareiss was commissioned by the Cork Opera House to create and perform two new solo percussive dance pieces to celebrate the 75th birthday of composer Steve Reich. In 2013, he served as community liaison for the Wheatland Music Organization's 40th Anniversary production Carry it on..., supervising a cast of 70 non-professional dancers from the state of Michigan. He received a Traditional Arts Commission from the Irish Arts Council to create a new duo fiddle and dance work with Caoimhín Ó Raghalliah. The resulting piece, MICE WILL PLAY had a sell-out run at the Project Arts Centre during the 2013 Dublin Fringe Festival.
Gareiss has concertized in Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Scotland, England, Canada, and New Zealand and continues to tour and teach internationally, working with dance communities and presenting solo percussive dance choreography.
Nic holds degrees in anthropology and music from Central Michigan University and an MA in ethnochoreology at the University of Limerick.
Originally from the state of Washington, Scotty Leach has spent the last four years in West Virginia, studying old-time music with the Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. Possessing an astonishing ability to rapidly pick up tunes and seamlessly slip into many genres of fiddle music, Scotty’s skillset has expanded through his time with the Ensemble. “He brings a special sort of energy to every room he enters,” recalls E. Miller, director of the Appalachian Ensemble String Band. “He really focuses and pays attention to the little details within the dance, fusing it with his music.” Scotty recently graduated from Davis & Elkins College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy & Religion and Computer Science.