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Kevin Doyle

June 10, 1951

Culture
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Kevin Doyle, Washington, D.C., 2014, photograph by Alan Govenar
Kevin Doyle, Rosslyn, VA, 2014, photograph by Alan Govenar
Kevin Doyle showing off his childhood uniform at the 2014 National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., photograph by Michael G. Stewart
Kevin Doyle's childhood uniform, 2014 National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., photograph by Michael G. Stewart
Kevin Doyle performing at the 2014 National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., photograph by Michael G. Stewart
Kevin Doyle performing at the 2014 National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., photograph by Michael G. Stewart
Kevin Doyle and his daughter and sister performing at the 2014 National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., photograph by Michael G. Stewart
Kevin Doyle, Washington, D.C., 2014, photograph by Alan Govenar

When Kevin Doyle was growing up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, his mother, Margaret Taylor Doyle, taught him and his sister Maureen the intricate, “close-to-the ground” dance style of her native County Roscommon, Ireland. Doyle began dancing competitively at an early age and soon won championships at home and abroad. Twice, viewers voted him the winner in competition on Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour, a precursor of shows such as American Idol. He studied several styles of Irish dancing from teachers, some of whom journeyed from Boston for Sunday afternoon sessions. He also studied tap dancing with Theresa Landry, who, at 93, accompanied Doyle to Washington, D.C., in September 2014 to accept the National Heritage Fellowship.

While raising his family, Doyle cut back on his dancing to some extent. That changed somewhat when the grocery store he managed went out of business in 1995. Doyle then worked for seventeen years as a bus driver for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, a job with more flexible hours. Taking early retirement allowed him to devote full time to his passion. He has choreographed, directed and performed in Brian O’Donovan’s Christmas Celtic Sojourn. Doyle also passes along his knowledge to students, including his daughter Shannon, who became an Irish dance instructor. He has served as a master teacher in the Rhode Island Arts Council Folk/Traditional Apprenticeship Program and the Southern New England Apprenticeship Program. In 2011, he received the Fellowship in Folk Arts from the Rhode Island Arts Council.

Doyle is a member of the Atlantic Steps dance troupe. A skilled percussionist, he also plays hand drums and dances with two bands, Atwater-Donnelly and Pendragon.

Bibliography
Auclair, Liz. “Art talk with Irish step dancer Kevin Doyle.” National Endowment for the Arts: Art Works Blog, July 2, 2014. http://arts.gov/art-works/2014/art-talk-irish-step-dancer-kevin-doyle
Kevin Doyle’s website, http://www.kevindoyledance.com/
National Endowment for the Arts. “NEA National Heritage Fellowships: Kevin Doyle.” http://arts.gov/honors/heritage/fellows/kevin-doyle
Reed, Josephine. “A Conversation With Irish Step Dancer Kevin Doyle.” Art Works Podcast, September 11, 2014. https://beta.prx.org/stories/129475
Smith, Andy. “Irish step dancer from Barrington receives National Heritage Fellowship.” The Providence Journal, June 26, 2014. http://www.kevindoyledance.com/2014-06-26-article.htm

Discography
Atwater-Donnelly. Each Other’s Story. CD, 2011. http://www.atwater-donnelly.com/onlinestore.htm#Weaver
________. The Weaver’s Bonny. CD, 2009. http://www.atwater-donnelly.com/onlinestore.htm#Weaver
________. The Halfway Ground. CD, 2007. http://www.atwater-donnelly.com/onlinestore.htm#Weaver
Pendragon. Live at Blackstone River Theatre. RiverFolk Productions CD, 2014.
________. Still Standing. RiverFolk Productions CD, 2008.
________. Artistic License. RiverFolk Productions CD, 2005.
________. Finding Our Way Home. RiverFolk Productions CD, 2001.
________. Beyond Borders … A Celtic Journey. RiverFolk Productions CD, 1998.

Videography
Doyle, Kevin, and Aidan Vaughan. Secrets of the Sole: Irish Dance Steps & Stories with Kieran Jordan, DVD, 2008. http://kieranjordan.com/secretsofthesole.php

Watch

Kevin Doyle interviewed by Nicholas R. Spitzer and performing step dancing and tap dancing, 2014 National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., courtesy National Endowment for the Arts

Listen

Kevin Doyle talks about his childhood and how he got into into Irish step dancing, interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2014

Kevin Doyle talks about how his mother taught him by lilting the songs, interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2014

Kevin Doyle answers the question 'How often would you do your step dancing?' Interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2014

Kevin Doyle answers the question 'As a child, what kind of shoes did you wear for step dancing?' Interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2014

Kevin Doyle talks about the work he's done in his life, and how it impacted his step dancing, interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2014

Kevin Doyle answers the question 'What kind of music do you play?' Interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2014

Kevin Doyle answers the question 'What do you think is the importance of Irish step dancing for the Irish community?' Interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2014

Kevin Doyle talks about the impact Michael Flatley had on Irish step dancing, interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2014

Kevin Doyle answers the question 'In what ways has Irish step dance evolved and changed in America, and how is this style received in Ireland?' Interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2014

Kevin Doyle answers the question 'What keeps you going?' Interview by Alan Govenar, Washington, D.C., 2014