Artist Lineup

Paul Keating

PAUL KEATING is our set dance and ceili dance caller and instructor. Born in New York City to parents who had emigrated from County Clare, Ireland, and the youngest of their eight children, Paul discovered a lifelong passion for dance after realizing he would never be a musician. "My mother was a genteel, old-style set dancer who used to describe ceili dancing as 'all that hopping and jumping.' Both my parents were good set dancers, and I watched them. But first I learned ceili dancing, which was popular around New York, at the Irish Arts Center in Manhattan, and eventually I got my certification to teach it," the 60-year-old said. "Later I focused heavily on set dancing, my parents' preference, which seemed more earthy and primal to me. I knew this was my métier, my heritage, and I went into it full bore. In 1984 I attended Willie Week to learn the sets, and I came back to New York and taught a set-dancing class at the Irish Arts Center." For ten years, Paul was the director of the infamous Catskills Irish Arts Week, a week dedicated to workshops, concerts and sessions in the Catskill Mountains where Paul brings the brightest lights in the tradition together. Mr. Keating is also the public-relations officer for the North American Province of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, the largest Irish musicians' association in the world; a weekly columnist on traditional music and dance for the Irish Voice newspaper; and the father of three teenagers he's raising with his wife, Deirdre, an accomplished Irish harper.