FERGAL O MURCHU – EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / MUSICIAN
Fergal is a native of north Mayo. Immersed in traditional music from childhood his career has spanned nearly two decades and seen his star rise to the highest points in the traditional music world. Holding the unique distinction of 11 All Ireland first place titles for traditional song,Fergal went on to study music and theatre in conjunction with Siamsa Tire the national folk theatre. On completion of his studies he founded the now internationally acclaimed production of Ragus. This production which is produced and musically directed by him has played in every continent in the world from Cape Town South Africa to Beijing and Tokyo. Key note performances include The Tokyo Opera city, Tokyo Forum Hall, The Olympia Theatre in Paris, and The Luxor Theatre in Rotterdam to mention but a few.
Outside of Fergal’s work with Ragus he has guested with the world famous Chieftains for their tribute concerts to their deceased member Derek Bell, and has performed solo on the Late Late Show with Gay Byrne and Good Morning Australia with Burt Newton. He returned to work and musically direct the National Folk Theatres production of Moriorty and was commissioned by RTE to record Irelands entry to the first ever Eurovision dance contest staged in London’s Albert Hall in 2009. He was also the accordion soloist with Ireland’s National Concert Orchestra for the Irish musical Hay-penny Bridge and was also the soloist in the national concert hall with the National symphony Orchestra to perform Bill Whealen’s Riverdance as part of the Music in the classroom series. He continues to travel and perform internationally with his music and productions constantly in global demand.
MICHAEL RYAN – CHOREOGRAPHER
Michael Ryan is one of the most central figures in the development of Irish dance to its central position on the world stage today. Originally from Cashel in Co.Tipperary he was a key member of the world renowned Bru Boru international show that over the years performed for US president Ronald Regan and played support act to Thriller star Michael Jackson when he performed in Cork in the 1980s. The Ryan school of Irish dancing is known throughout the globe for its exceptional dancers which Michael has produced over the last twenty years. They have worked at the highest level possible in leading roles in shows like Riverdance, Lord of the Dance and Ragus. It was during the Bru Boru years while Michael was still dancing himself that Fergal O Murchu and Michael became aquatinted. That creative partnership 17 years later continues to thrive. Michael is the original cheorgrapher of Ragus since it first hit the stage in 1998 and his innovative and challenging routines represent a constant raising of the bar for the elite dancers lucky enough to be chosen to partake in the Ragus troupe. Michael is the head of Irish dance in the World Academy of Irish music song and dance which runs it programme from the University of Limerick and his workshops in dance are in demand in countries as far away as Russia and Australia.
DONNA DURRACK – LEAD DANCER
Donna hails from the town of Roscrea in Co. Tipperary. Her dancing career began at the tender age of four years for the much acclaimed Doreen Browne and Ann Whealen dance academy. The obvious talent of Donna was clearly evident from her young age and she quickly went on to become consistently one of the top dancers in the province of Munster. Donna was furthered awarded world medals in her various age groups and is regarded by her piers as one of Irish dancings most elegant performers most especially in the light shoe style. Since joining Ragus the show eleven years ago Donna has been one of the shows most consistent performers who’s work ethic and stage presentation single her out as an all time great. As one of the stars of the show Donna is now one of the most senior personnel in the cast holding the post of dance captain and leading lady for the past four years. After such a long career with the show Donna undoubtedly has a unique and unrivalled understanding of what continues to make Ragus the unique product that it is. During her years touring with Ragus she has performed all over the globe including performances with singing star Dolly Parton as well as performances in venues like the Olympia Theatre Paris and the Sydney Opera house. Outside of her stellar career with Ragus Donna was awarded the TCRG teaching qualification for Irish dance teachers in 2011 and further studied courses in stage make up and design for theatre and TV and works as a consultant for the associated industries. Donna also worked as cheorgrapher for west end star Peter Corry while she continues in her capacity as the leading lady of Ragus as it continues to travel the world.
JOHN FITZGERALD – LEAD DANCER
John Fitzgerald is a native of Tralee Co. Kerry. Having spent his childhood years immersed in various forms of dance it was no surprise that a career in dance would be a natural progression for the young child prodigy. John was accepted to work with the National Folk Theatre of Ireland Siamsa Tire from seven years of age where his performances as a child were critically acclaimed world wide. He was also a cast member for the National Folk Theatres production of Moriarty Irish premier in 2010. John went on to become a champion of the world on no fewer than three occasions and has performed as a lead dancer with Ragus for the last two years where his key note performances include The Olympia theatre in Paris and most recently The state visit of Prince Charles to Ireland. Outside of Johns dancing career he graduated with a first class honours degree in physiotherapy from Trinity College Dublin.
EMMA O’SULLIVAN – SEAN–NOS DANCER
Emma hails from Connemara, Co. Galway in the West of Ireland. In 2009, at the age of 24, she won the All-Ireland Sean-Nós Dancing title at Oireachtas na Samhna in Letterkenny. Emma is best known for her successful appearances on the All-Ireland Talent Show which has made her a household name in Ireland and abroad. Her dancing has been described as a breath of fresh air and an experience to be relished. Musicians are impressed with her impeccable timing, her intuitive, innovative style and her skill for dancing to each note that is played. Audiences delight in her charismatic stage presence, her obvious joy and passion for her art form and her ability to capture the heart and soul of the tune with her freestyle footwork and fluid upper body movement. She has danced in the United States, Europe and Asia. She made numerous television and radio appearances both in Ireland and abroad. She has performed with some of the most influential acts in traditional Irish dance music including Sharon Shannon, Martin O’Connor, Lunasa, Teada, Dervish, Dedannan, Altan, Cherish the Ladies, Seamus Begley and Sean Kane to name but a few. Emma is currently performing throughout Ireland and abroad making guest appearances on the festival circuit.