When Kieran Jordan '96 slipped on her first pair of Irish step shoes at the age of five, she never envisioned a dancing career—it was only years later at 26 that she decided to make the professional leap. "So I left my job and just dove in," she says.
Now appearing regularly at dance festivals on both sides of the Atlantic, Jordan won a 2008 Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and cofounded the studio, Boston Percussive Dance. She also serves as the dance director of Boston's annual "A Christmas Celtic Sojourn" performance, and this March embarked on her "Irish Heartbeat Tour" of Germany as a solo dancer.
Jordan's craft was, in part, influenced by her time at Boston College, where she was co-president of the Irish Society and continued to perfect her Irish dance. "I went to BC with the Irish Studies Program in mind," she says, "and the music programs in particular were very influential." She eventually spent a year abroad at University College Cork in Ireland, where she immersed herself in Irish music and dance. "It was a life-changing experience that was closely linked to BC," says Jordan.
Below, Jordan provides more insights on her life and BC:
What is the most satisfying moment in your professional life?
Performing in venues that I used to visit as a child.
In your personal life?
My marriage to my husband, Vincent.
What is your best BC memory?
My Arts and Sciences Honors Program course with Fr. Howard. He gave us the true Jesuit experience—a passionate curiosity for life and a love of learning in the liberal arts. We used to leave the class in Gasson and head over to Lyons Hall for breakfast, continuing our debates about the Iliad or St. Augustine.
What is your next goal?
To continue to grow in my dance.
What is one thing everyone should do while at BC?
Study at Bapst Library—both inside and outside on the lawn.
How have you changed since graduation?
Many changes! I was an English major at BC, and I assumed I would follow a career path in journalism or academics.
Why did you decide to attend BC?
The A&S Honors Program and the Irish Studies Program.
What is the secret to success?
I try to listen to the "still small voice within" and let that guide my work.
Where is your favorite spot on the Heights?
Bapst Library or St. Mary's Chapel. I also love the basement of McElroy. I produced my own Irish music radio program at WZBC, so I spent a lot of early Sunday mornings there.
What would you do if you were BC president for a day?
Have one day per month of silence for reading, meditation, and contemplation.
What was your first job?
I always did a lot of babysitting, and I was a summer nanny for my BC English professor and thesis advisor, Suzanne Matson.
I also had an amazing freelance writing job during my senior year at BC. I wrote Irish music and dance reviews for the Boston Irish Reporter. That eventually turned into a full-time job as arts editor! The paper's publisher, Ed Forry, is a BC alumnus [Class of 1969] and was one of the original founders of WVBC, the precursor to WZBC.
Where did you live freshman year?
In Gonzaga Hall, on the "International Floor."
How do you relax?Walking in the woods or gardening.
What was your favorite BC class?
Freshman and sophomore year courses in the A&S Honors Program. I also took a wonderful class called "Introduction to Irish Traditional Music," and that definitely lit a fire in me and pulled me toward my Irish dance career.
What do you look forward to each day?
Physical activity—the expressive body in motion. I love what I do as a dance teacher, performer, and choreographer.
What was your favorite BC activity?
Watching the Boston Marathon from Comm. Ave. on a sunny day.
What is something your friends don’t know about you?
I would love to be an R&B or Motown backup singer.
How much can you sing of the BC fight song?
For Boston, For Boston, we sing thy proud refrain . . . (Is that right?)
Who would play you in the film version of your life?
Hmmm. Someone small but feisty. Ellen Page from Juno.
What was the best meal at the BC dining hall?
I was a carbaholic in those years, so definitely the pizza.