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12 March 2008 PR 08/30

Dancers costume delight thanks to student designs

St Patrick’s Day will see a local Irish dance group performing in spectacular brand new costumes after a special project which saw them join forces with Loughborough University and Charnwood Borough Council.

The group – Keating School of Irish Dance – are regulars at a variety of events across Charnwood. They promote Irish culture through their performances involving traditional music and dance. In order to enhance the quality and scope of their community activities the group decided to launch a project – ‘Celtic Roots’ - to provide new costumes.

An initial grant from Charnwood Borough Council enabled the Group to approach Loughborough University’s School of Art and Design to begin work on designs for the costumes with printed textile students.

Forty second year printed textile students, under the leadership of Tina Frank, Programme Coordinator, Printed Textiles, were asked to come up with a new and innovative design for their uniforms which reflected the diversity of culture and environment of the local area. To select the winning design the Irish dancers were invited to the University where they were presented with the students’ designs. The dancers were faced with a difficult task of choosing a winner, with many wonderful designs to choose from.

Winning designer was Laura Blount who said: “I wanted to use inspiring images which linked to the Charnwood area so I focused on wild, beautiful and powerful environments and animals like deer and Bradgate Park, which I felt mirrored the nature of dance.”

Traditional Irish dancing dresses are expensive and beyond the reach of many families. In order to keep dancing accessible to all and the cost down the group have been busy fund raising to provide the costumes.

The new costumes will be unveiled for the first time when the group perform at Radio Leicester’s

Celtic Fringe evening, at the Charnwood Bowls Club on Friday 14th March.

Siobhain Clarke of the Keating School of Dance comments: ‘We are thrilled with the outcome of this project. Irish Dancing increases the confidence of our girls and keeps them fit and healthy. At the same time we are keeping Irish traditions alive and now we will have fabulous brand new costumes which will provide a tremendous boost to our performances.”


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Notes for editors:

  1. An early preview of the costumes is available for invited guests at Trinity Methodist Church. The performance starts at 6pm. The media are invited to attend this event for photographs/interviews.
  2. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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