site builder

Artist Biography

As a National Heritage Fellow, Kevin Doyle has stepped from the American Capitol in Washington, D.C., onto an international stage of festival performances, guest artist residencies, and production development. The list of recent engagements includes the White House St. Patrick's Day 2015 Celebration; Willie Clancy Week Summer School in Milltown Malbay, County Clare, Ireland; An Ri Ra Festival in Butte, Montana; WGBH St. Patrick's Day Celtic Sojourn with Brian O'Donovan; and repeated sold out performances of Kevin's original production Roscommon Soles, a show originally created for presentation at the United States Library of Congress.

With more than five decades of Irish step dance under his feet, Rhode Island born Kevin Doyle is a son of County Roscommon through his mother Margaret Taylor Doyle. He is a grandson of County Longford through his father John, whose Irish parents came to live in Providence's Fox Point in the early 1900s.  

Mrs. Doyle's memories were never far from her village of Boho in Castlerea when she taught 8 year old Kevin and his 6 year old sister Maureen their first Irish dance steps. She lilted old tunes like "McLeod's Reel," as she recalled her own mother's instruction. These steps would become an Irish regional legacy conveyed to her children in 1950s Providence. 

Kevin Doyle

Though Kevin's Irish dance journey began one step at a time by the kitchen sink, he progressed to highly regarded local and regional instructors of the 1960s. He studied at the Pat Fallon School of Irish Dance, with visiting Boston instructors Steve Carney and Mary Sullivan. Kevin would find his way to the City of Pawtucket, where industry had drawn sons and daughters of Erin since the 1820s. Here, Kevin studied at the McCorry School of Dance, learning steps traceable to the old dance masters of Ireland.

Young Doyle the dancer competed successfully in many East Coast feis (competitions). He earned U.S. Irish Dance Champion honors and expanded his repertoire to include American tap, inspired by Fox Point famous son George M. Cohan. At age ten, Kevin began study at Pawtucket's famous Theresa Landry School of Dancing. Landry, who studied with the notable Stanley Brown in Boston in the early 1950s and who also acquired jazz flavored dance routines from a New York trainer of the Rockettes, is a significant influence on Doyle.

The athleticism of his steps brought early acclaim to Doyle. He twice won the votes of America's audience for his performances on Ted Mack and the Original Amateur Hour, a precursor to today's American Idol and America's Got Talent. Numerous awards have followed, including ensemble honors shared with Rhode Island Celtic music performers Pendragon and folk performers Atwater~Donnelly. Doyle's regional and national work in choreography, direction, and dance includes Brian O'Donovan's Christmas & St. Patrick's Day Celtic Sojourn, and Doyle's collaboration with Boston-based dancer/choreographer Kieran Jordan

In September 2014, Kevin was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor conferred upon a traditional artist in the United States. In the thirty year history of the Award, Kevin is only the third Irish step dancer to be so honored. His predecessors are Chicago's Michael Flatley and New York's Donny Golden. The impact of the Fellowship brought Kevin invitations to perform at the White House, in Ireland at the prestigious Willie Clancy Summer School, and at festivals in the United States. Doyle continues to perform and create new choreography. His dance, story, and music production Roscommon Soles is the most recent creative project and collaboration.

Beyond his love of Irish dance, there is no greater love in Doyle's life than his family. Kevin credits his wife Donna and his children, his parents, brothers, and sister… along with family still in Ireland, as the inspiration for his journey through dance, one step at a time.