Surrey’s Skinner in Steps of Freedom documentary
Dr Jonathan Skinner of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (SHTM) features in Steps of Freedom, an entertaining dance documentary.
New Reader in the Anthropology of Events Dr Jonathan Skinner of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (SHTM) features in Steps of Freedom, an entertaining dance documentary that tells the extraordinary story of how Irish dance developed over centuries to a form that has taken the world by storm. The RTE/BBC/PBS collaborative documentary was first aired on RTE last month and will be broadcast on BBC and PBS this year as a detailed account of the history of Irish dancing, cultural influences on its origins and evolution, and its place as a vehicle for resistance.
Featuring an academic from Surrey’s SHTM department of events shows just how wide the subject area is: the management, regulation and interpretation of this art form is directly linked to the recent Celtic regeneration and the new Gaelic renaissance.
It features breath-taking performances by some of the greatest dancers of our age as well as archival material showcasing Riverdance, Lord of the Dance star Michael Flatley and Irish dance master Jean Butler. Their work is contextualised within a dramatic story of religious influence, evolutionary adaptation and cultural fusion, mass migration, and revolution.
Dr Skinner is a social anthropologist and trained dancer working in the interdisciplinary field of events. He co-edits the award-winning book series Dance and Performance Studies (Berghahn Books) and has written one monograph and over 60 articles and book chapters and edited 11 volumes and 6 special issues.
Here are some useful links for more information on Steps of Freedom:
- Plot summary: Steps of Freedom (2021) - Plot Summary - IMDb
- Next film screening (Jan 2022): Irish Film Institute - IFI & Tradfest: STEPS OF FREEDOM
- RTE film review: Steps Of Freedom - how Irish dance became a global phenomenon (rte.ie)
- Irish Times film review: Irish dancing? It’s all about one-upmanship, says Jean Butler (irishtimes.com)
- Skinner homepage: Dr Jonathan Skinner | University of Surrey.