Our Steps Foundation

Our Steps Foundation, founded by Jean Butler, is a non-profit organization that creates and produces artistic and academic projects that inspire and expand the way we think about the history, practice and performance of Irish dance. Our Steps Foundation legitimizes Irish dance as a source of inspiration, research and creativity, connecting the form to the greater dance landscape. Our Steps Foundation is generously supported by Eileen Murray in honor of her mother, Bridget H. Murray, a champion of Irish music and dance and with support from Glucksman Ireland House, NYU. 

About Us



Artist and Executive Director

Find out more



Find out more



Find out more


Artist and Executive Director

Jean Butler, dancer, choreographer and academic, is a leading figure in the world of Irish dance performance. Best known for originating the female principle roles and co- choreographing Riverdance and Dancing on Dangerous Ground, since 2005 she has been working in a contemporary context. 

Her work has been commissioned and presented by The Abbey Theatre, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Danspace Project, Dance Limerick, Dublin Dance Festival, Jacob’s Pillow, Irish Arts Center, The Kennedy Center, Movement Research, Project Arts Center, The Joyce, and Seamus Heaney Homeplace. 

Butler recently taught at the prestigious Princeton Atelier and completed a Fellowship in Creative Practice from University College Dublin. Butler holds position of Assistant Professor of Irish Studies at Glucksman Ireland House, NYU. 

In 2018 Butler founded Our Steps Foundation and partnered with the New York Public Library of Performing Arts Jerome Robbins Dance Division to create Our Steps, Our Story: An Irish Dance Legacy, the first Irish dance archive dedicated to the solo steps of An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha. Her current project, The Stepping Fields, an intergenerational performance installation, will premier in Dublin in 2021. 

Butler’s work bridges the gap between a culturally specific practice and a contemporary approach to dance making and thinking. She is committed to idiosyncratic exploration within traditional form and is dedicated to expanding the canon and perception of Irish dance performance.



Padraig Heneghan: Producer

Cori Olinghouse: Archivist and Curator-in-Residence, Oral History Project Designer

Siobhan Burke: Project Writer-in-Residence and Oral History Collector

Kristyn Fontanella: Collaborator, Performer, and Oral History Collector

Anna McDunn: Arts Administration

Aisling Cantillion: Project Management and Artist Liaison 

Megan Stahl: Director of Photograpy

Rachael Kuecher: Production Assistant 

Chris Smith: Sound Recordist

Caitlin Clarke: Dancer and Researcher

Xavier Dzielski: Our Steps Foundation Researcher

Bianca Paige Smith: Our Steps Foundation Researcher


2019 Dancers


Cian Maguire, Noel Spillane and Caitlin Ward

2019 Master Teachers


Vivienne Bergin, Siobhan Gorman, John Jennings, Patsy McLoughlin, Anna O'Sullivan, Ellen Riordan, Mary Lou Schade, and Theresa Wall

2018 Dancers


Ryan Broesler, Ai Lin Doody, Fiona Griffith-Benson, Luke Griffith-Benson, Simone Loysen, Cian Maguire, Declan Meagher, and Caitlin Ward

2018 Master Teachers


Kevin Broesler, Cara Butler, Gail Casey, Thomas Cashin, Elizabeth Cass, Joan Cass,  Joanie Cass,  Steven Billy Furlong, Gallagher, Donny Golden, Mary Healy,  Winnie Horan, John Jenningns, Eugene O'Brien, and Fr. Sean Ogle


Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and improve conditions. Your generous donation will fund our mission.

Our Steps Foundation

P.O. Box 416

Garden City, Ny


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