2006-11-03 / Community

High Praise For Step Dancers

Recording star Andy Cooney has added a new magic touch to his "Classic Irish Christmas" show this year--the Niall O'Leary Irish Dance Troupe of Irish step dancers. And from advance reports on their skills in the New York TIMES this week, their performance should bring down the house on Friday evening, Dec. 1 at St. Anne's McCloskey Auditorium, Dartmouth St. and New Hyde Park Road, Garden City.

Already loaded with talent, the show co-stars Cooney, Noel Ginnity, "Ireland's Funniest Man," a quartet of "Ireland's Finest Musicians" plus Musical Director, Ken San Filippo.

Sponsored by "Msgr. John's Knights" to help fund its high school scholarships and other Knights charitable efforts, it attracted a sell-out crowd of over 750 in 2005 and strong early ticket sales forecast a repeat this year, Concert Chairman "Jay" Lynch reports. Tickets are $25 each and may be ordered by phone: 516-352-2457.

The youthful step-dancers from the Niall O'Leary Irish Dance Troupe are from all parts of the world but now live in New York City. Director Niall O'Leary is a former All-Ireland and World Champion step dancer from Dublin, Ireland and a skilled choreographer. The troupe has a history of competing in Irish step-dancing festivals and in 2001 and 2002 toured America with the famed "Three Irish Tenors."

The TIMES, which had christened Andy Cooney "Irish America's Favorite Son,"ran a feature story on page one of its Arts Section on Tuesday, October 31 reporting on the dancers stellar performance at "Summer in the Square" held annually in New york City's Union Square.

The review noted "A quick look suggests that step-dancers pop up and down, arms rigidly at their sides, feet flying. But there is surprising variety in the Irish folk style particularly in the use of the legs and feet, which are as lusciously ornamental as in any ballet and often also provide the momentum for sudden shifts in direction." The reviewer hailed the "intriguing style and intimacy of the dance forms and the irresistibly lilting music to which they were set.."

This year's show is dedicated to the late Msgr. William F. Costello who passed away suddenly on July 18 while on vacation. He served 54 years in the clergy on Long Island. His first assignment was at St. Joseph's Church in Garden City and his last eight years in "active" retirement at St. Anne's, here. He was renowned for his cheerful demeanor and keen sense of Irish wit and humor.

To order tickets, at $25 each, to Andy Cooney's "Classic Irish Christmas," please call 516-352-2457.

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