Nic Gareiss' dancing incorporates footwork vocabulary from many step dance styles to rhythmically accompany traditional music. Nic has studied a broad variety of percussive movement forms, focusing primarily on the dance traditions associated with North American fiddle tunes. In his teens, Gareiss received dual scholarships from the Wheatland Music Organization and the Augusta Heritage Center to apprentice with the internationally recognized company, Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble. Through high school, Gareiss performed with Footworks, including an ensemble role in "The Crossing," their production with Grammy-winning songwriter Tim O'Brien. During that period, at the tender age of sixteen, he took second place at the 2003 Clifftop Flat-footing contest in the 15-49 age group. From his wide berth of traditional dance experience, Nic has gleaned figurations, motives and shoe sounds from percussive dance traditions worldwide. This becomes most evident when he is performing with a live musician, engaging in a musical dialogue between feet and instrument. Using imitation, ornaments and contrasting rhythmic patterns, Gareiss really is creating music on the floor. With the David Munnelly Band, Nic integrates Irish dance traditions with American tap dance, exploring the reaction of Irish immigrants to the infectious spirit of jazz they encountered in the 1920s as they settled in the United States. Nic has danced at the Milwaukee Irish Festival, Virginia's Wolf Trap Farm Park, the Ann Arbor Ark, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and most recently at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Scotland. He has performed as a featured soloist with Solas, Dervish, Le Vent Du Nord and the Chieftains and has also taught at Alasdair Fraser's Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddle Camp in northern California. In 2007, Nic spent a year studying traditional Irish music and dance performance at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick, Ireland. During that period he studied sean-nós and Cape Breton step dance with Mats Melin as well as Irish dancing and choreography with Orflaif Ni Bhriain, T.C.R.G, A.D.C.R.G. He also had the opportunity to take master classes and workshops from contemporary Irish dancer Colin Dunne, tap dancer Tarik Winston and sean-nós dancer Joe Néachtain.
Central Michigan University; Bachelor of Sciences in Anthropology, Minor in Music; Recipient of CMU Undergraduate Research Presentation Grant to present on American clogging at North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Aberdeen, Scotland, 2010; Collective for Music Research & Cultural Studies Executive Board Member 2009-10; CMU vocal music award 2005-06; CMU Student Research & Creative Endeavors Exhibition, 2010; Recipient of 4 Elyce Fishman Scholarships from Wheatland Music Organization 2001, ‘04, ‘05, ‘07; Performance engagements in France, Belgium, Ireland, Australia, 2005-10; Employee of CMU Public Broadcasting, 4 yrs.
He is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Ethnochoreology, the study of dance in its cultural context, at University of Limerick in Limerick, Ireland.