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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

In ‘Atlantic Steps,’ showcasing an old form of Irish dance

Sean-nós is a dance traditionally done to the music of the moment.

An international touring adaptation of the popular Irish show “Fuaim Chonamara,” “Atlantic Steps” is the brainchild of its charismatic 27-year-old star, Brian Cunningham, whose Connemara family of young dancers has been on the forefront of the sean-nós revival. Compared with the more regimented steps and stylized upper body of Irish step dance, sean-nós is more casual, loose-limbed, and spur-of-the-moment, playing off the energy, mood, and rhythms of the music while creating a vibrant rhythmic tapestry in the footwork. The influence of sean-nós (which literally means “old style” and is pronounced “shawn NOss”) can be seen in American forms such as clogging, jazz tap, and soft shoe.

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