Kevin Doyle

Preferred Name
Kevin Doyle

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.

He taught Irish step dancing in the Southern New England Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, Year 13, 2010-2011


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