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A Very Irish Christmas

Presented by Trinity Irish Dance Company

Sat Dec 9 | 3PM

Event details

The unique power and grace of Trinity Irish Dance Company comes to The Soraya with an exclusive holiday performance from Mark Howard’s award-winning Chicago company. “Sophisticated and commanding” (Los Angeles Times) and “impossibly complex” (New York Times), TIDC is the birthplace of progressive Irish Dance, an innovative movement genre that “ushered in a new era for Irish step dance” (Chicago Tribune). Experience the uncanny precision and levity of this charismatic holiday performance.

Sat Dec 9 | 3PM

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A Very Irish Christmas

Presented by Trinity Irish Dance Company

Sat Dec 9 | 3PM



Chelsea Hoy

Associate Artistic Director / Choreographer / Dancer

At 26, Denver-born Hoy has already become a major player in the performing arts world. Generous, rebellious, creative and complex, her choreographic influence has significantly shaped TIDC’s newest works, from Communion, to Soles and Push. Hoy recently co-choreographed her second piece Home alongside Howard, following their first collaboration An Sorcas (The Circus), which previewed in Japan and had its world premiere at Chicago’s historic Auditorium Theatre in 2019. In the dance studio, Hoy finds the creative process to be a rewarding and therapeutic combination of fluid expression and technical configuration. She is a game changer with a big vision, motivated by the ability this art form has to deeply connect strangers and friends alike. Chelsea grew up dancing competitively for the Wick School of Irish Dance in Denver, Colorado. She joined TIDC in 2014 after she began her studies at Loyola University Chicago. She graduated in 2017 with Bachelors’ degrees in Psychology and Photography. In addition to helping guide the company’s future, she is a professional photographer, dance instructor, and visual artist. Hoy’s love of empowering children through the arts continues to shape TIDC’s outreach programming.  A powerful activist and artist, she has been entrusted with TIDC’s ethos and future.

Francisco Lemus


Francisco is a percussive force with unwavering dedication and lightning fast feet. Reigning from Puebla, Mexico, Fran began tap dancing at age seven and gained interest in Irish dancing after seeing it on YouTube. At the age of 12, he traveled two hours to the nearest lessons, ultimately outpacing the instruction available to him and joining a Texas-based Irish dance school (Inishfree), training himself in Mexico and visiting his teachers in the US a few times a year. He became a groundbreaking Latin American dancer, placing 6th at the World Championships, winning top honors at the US National Championships, and twice becoming the US Southern Regional Champion before succumbing to supposedly career-ending injuries.

Fran dedicated himself fully to rehab and set new goals for the concert stage, but after auditioning and being turned down by multiple commercial Irish dance shows, he had given up on any chance of dancing professionally – and then, after a year of pandemic came the return call from the TIDC. Fran is embarking on his first season as a Trinity Irish Dance Company member, preparing to unleash his power on stages from Chicago to Philadelphia to New York City to Tokyo.


won a solo world championship title during her competitive career, featured in ‘Sparks’

Artistic Associate / Dancer

Ali Doughty grew up in Philadelphia, studying exercise physiology at the University of Dayton while maintaining a rigorous competitive dance career, ultimately leading her to a World Championship solo title in 2014. Upon her graduation, Ali moved to Chicago to join the TIDC movement and begin her evolution to a performing artist while receiving her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at Northwestern University. With a seamless blend of aerial grace and percussive power, Ali connects with audiences on a deep level and is part of a nucleus of company members that are carrying the TIDC legacy to new heights.


Founding Artistic Director / Choreographer

For more than three decades, Howard has been striving for and achieving that which is profoundly significant and equally difficult to attain—the transcendence of craft to art and the synthesis of forms to create something that is forward-looking and new. His work maintains integrity while simultaneously going beyond the framework of ethnicity to carve new traditions.
Born in Yorkshire, England, and raised in Chicago, Howard began his dancing career at the age of eight at the Dennehy School of Irish Dance. He began teaching when he was only 17 years old, and by 20 he had launched the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance, subsequently leading them to unprecedented World Championship team titles for the United States—the first when he was only 25. As a competitive coach and choreographer, he would go on to redefine what was possible for American teams becoming the first to win gold in all categories.
Howard’s pioneering work in the late 80s led to his unique transition from the competitive stage to the performing arts stage and began his gradual evolution from coach to artistic director. By 1990, these formative years led to the creation of a nonprofit forum, Trinity Irish Dance Company (TIDC), to celebrate and further his work. From its inception, TIDC has been met with great critical acclaim at renowned venues across the world.
Howard himself was a regular guest on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson from 1989 until Carson’s retirement in1991, and has accumulated a multitude of national and international television credits including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, CBS This Morning, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Today Show, Live with Regis, Good Morning America, Martha, CONAN, and 1st Look, to name a few. From PBS and Network specials, to extensive film work for Disney, Touchstone, Universal, and Dream Works, Howard has worked with the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Ron Howard, and Sam Mendez. He was the personal dance coach for actors Tom Hanks and Daniel Craig while working on the film Road to Perdition.
Howard continues to choreograph new works, as well as expand his independent career to work in theater, television, concert, and film. The feature film screenplay SOLES, which focuses on Howard and Trinity, is currently in the works. Howard’s work in the arts has led to numerous Choreographer’s Fellowships awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Howard has been named three times as one of Irish American Magazine’s “Top 100 Irish-Americans,” and he was honored by iBAM! in 2011 and in 2015 by Chicago’s Lawyers For the Creative Arts for his outstanding contribution to the performing arts.


(Fiddle and bódhran)

is a two-time All-Ireland fiddle champion, bódhran player, and dancer from NYC. He won the Mid-Atlantic Fleadh Cheoil 7 years in a row on bodhrán and the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil twice on fiddle. Jake has performed and taught at various venues including the Irish Arts Center, BB King’s, Gracie Mansion, and Carnegie Hall. Jake recently moved to Chicago. His debut solo album, Firewood, was released in 2018. Currently a member of the band Runa, Jake received his M.A. in composition from the Aaron Copland School of Music.



Steven is a Chicago-based freelance musician and music instructor with a strong passion for playing and teaching music. A proficient drummer and percussionist, he is also well-versed in guitar, bass guitar, and keyboards. Growing up in Portland, OR, Steven studied at the University of Oregon and received a B.A. in Drums Set and Percussion performance from Columbia College Chicago. While there, he spent three years studying privately with Chicago-based musician Tom Hipskind, who is currently one of the most sought-after drummers in Chicago. Rutledge has worked with several premiere Chicago acts including Woo Park, Nasty Snacks, North By North, Hanna Ashbrook, and is currently the Percussionist for Chicago acts such as STREGA, Uma Bloo, and Ari Lindo. He joined the TIDC band in 2018 for his first tour of Japan and is in the midst of his fourth touring season.


Guitar, vocals and composer

Brendan is a singer-songwriter originally from Killarney, Ireland who moved to the United States in the late 90′s. Since then, he has become a veteran of New York City’s songwriter scene and has released two albums that have garnered praise from critics and press around the world. Irish music magazine HotPress rated his last release Be Here Still an 8 1/2 out of 10 and XM Radio’s Mike Morrone called it one of his ‘favorite records of the year.’ O’Shea’s songs can also be heard in such films as Ron Howard’s Academy Award nominated film Backdraft and the wildly successful Karen Gehres documentary Begging Naked. In addition to headlining his own shows in both the United States and Europe, O’Shea has embarked on two tours of Japan in collaboration with the Trinity Irish Dance Company as well as sharing stages with his contemporaries The Frames, The Swell Season, Cowboy Junkies, 10,000 Maniacs, Elliott Smith, and Interpol to name a few. In 2007 O’Shea became a founding member of Fairplay Collective, a unique endeavor in which songwriters come together to support and promote each other’s individual projects as independent artists. In 2008, O’Shea and friends began hosting a successful Sunday night concert series in NYC’s East Village called the Scratcher Sessions which features musicians from around the world. With or without a guitar in hand, O’Shea excels at drawing people in. O’Shea’s latest album “Midatlantic Ghost,” a beautiful acoustic record with songs of leaving and song of love, is available on iTunes. Visit for more info.


Guitar and vocals

is a Chicago-based musician who began playing guitar at 8 years old. He has since grown as a multi-instrumentalist trained in piano, drums, accordion, fiddle and more. Devlin has been a collaborator with varied musical acts across the country and is currently playing with the Chicago band Rookie. Dedicated to community and culture, Devlin is a founding member of the Treehouse Collective, which owns one of the most prestigious recording studios in Chicago. Devlin is working on opening “The Workshop”: an accessible studio for Chicago artists in need of a space to create. Devlin took his first trip to Japan with the company in 2016, and is incredibly honored to share his talents with TIDC on international stages.

“Where women make the form their own” – The Boston Globe

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