Choreographer Ellen Sinopoli, storyteller Bairbre McCarthy and ESDC dancers take families on a fantastical journey as they weave stories, song and dance to follow the footprints of the Celts from Central Europe to Scotland, Wales & Ireland and then across the Atlantic to Appalachia. See and hear the Myth of the Seal People, the Legend of theSwans, the Adventures of Jack (beyond the beanstalk), the Tale of Norouas, the Northwest Wind, the fable of Dagda’s Magical Harp and the hilarious yarn of how Marika Got Her Story. These are stories of a very special people that bring laughter, thrills, sadness and silliness to touch your hearts.

photo credit, Timothy Raab

Bairbre McCarthy is a seanchaí/master storyteller who continues the oral tradition of the Celts. A native of County Clare, and graduate of University College Galway, she is noted for her deep knowledge of Irish mythology, folklore and language. She is the founder and director of the children’s program at Catskills Irish Arts Week, in East Durham NY, an annual event devoted to the Irish Traditional Arts.

Bairbre’s books are published by Mercier Press, Cork, Ireland and include: Favourite Irish Legends, (dual – language book and CD) 1997, Irish Leprechaun Stories, 1998, The Adventures of Cúchulainn, 2000, The Keeper of the Crock of Gold, 2008. The Irish Prime Minister brought an edition of this last book to the White House on St. Patrick’s Day, as a gift for President Obama’s daughters. Bairbre has produced the CD Introduction to the Irish Language:Easy Irish Lessons for Beginners. She is a NYS certified teacher of English, French and Gifted students and has taught Irish Language at Adirondack Community College in Glens Falls, NY and at Skidmore College, in Saratoga Springs, NY.












Origin: Slovakia

How Marika Got Her Story - A young child loves to roam and visit many homes but she is never invited in because she has no story to tell. She enters a magical house and, while asleep, is accosted by five people with a coffin. They try to get the child to carry it, dig a hole for it and get into it, but she is able to escape. Now, she is always invited into people's homes because she has such a wonderful story to tell.

Origin: Breton

Norouas, the Northwest Wind - A farmer’s flax crop is blown away by Norouas. She goes to get it back and, one by one, she is given a magic tablecloth that provides a feast, a donkey that makes gold and a cudgel to fight off enemies. With each gift Norouas first provides the magical spell and then takes it away. Angry, the farmer travels through caves, fights ferocious storms and climbs mountains to demand the magic be returned to her. In the end she receives the magical tablecloth, donkey and cudgel and live happily ever after.

Origin: Scotland, Ireland, Wales

Selchie  - Loosely based on the ancient Celtic myth of the seal people, the selchies shed their skins and live among the humans as friends and family for many years. If they happen upon their seal skins, they are called back to sea to live out their days with their seal family.

Origin: Scotland, Ireland, Wales

Dadga's Harp - Owned by a king, a magical harp is stolen by the enemy. He is able to use the harp to cast spells making the enemy weep, laugh, and dance until they are exhausted and fall asleep so that he is able to get the magical harp back.

Origin: Scotland, Ireland, Wales

The Children of Lir - The evil stepmother puts a spell on the King’s four children, turning them into swans for 900 years. However, she does allow them to keep their human voices for song. The spell can only be broken if the Man from the North and the Woman from the South join, which the wild swans make happen by creating a giant arc in the sky.

Origin: Appalachia

Jack Killed Seven with a Whack - Jack protects her king by killing seven yellow jackets. The king is impressed and asks Jack goes after a boar, bear and unicorn to chase them off.

Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company performances are made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State's 62 counties.


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