I, Russell Patrick Brown, am a dancer, harper and medium, and my practice researches the seen and unseen through the human body. I have shared my dance, music, mediumship and scholarship throughout North America and Europe, and my original works have been presented at: Mermaid Arts Centre (Wicklow, Ireland), University of Limerick Irish World Academy of Music and Dance (Ireland), MokS (Estonia), Dixon Place (New York City), Lily Dale (New York); Origin Theatre ‘1st Irish’ Theatre Festival/New York Public Library (New York City); Bowery Poetry Club (New York City). I have worked on productions with: the WB Network, The Abbey Theatre, Mabou Mines, Stirling Productions/RTÉ/BBC, The Box NYC, Darrah Carr Dance, MorrisonDance, Surflight Repertory Theatre, Manhattan Repertory Theatre and Periwinkle National Theatre.
My passion for dance was given to me from my mother and father, who were dancers at the East Side and West Side Irish-American Clubs in Cleveland, Ohio. I trained in Irish traditional dance with American Heritage Fellow Donny Golden in New York City. While practicing jigs, hornpipes and reels on the iconically queer Christopher Street Pier, I met Celso Satori LaBeija, of the Royal Iconic House of LaBeija. At this time I began my education in the Old Way and the New Way. Over time, I began to Irish Step & Vogue in the streets, platforms, piers and clubs of New York and Dublin. I have also trained in aerial circus as well as contemporary dance practices with Maureen Fleming, Dr. Finola Cronin and Maria Kerin. My approach to movement empowers dancers to access history, tradition and the past as a means to access, understand and manipulate the seen and unseen. My mission is to awaken the soul of movers and witnesses alike to their own understanding of power and peace.
My love for music began with my father who played the tin whistle and provided for my education in European classical music. The rich living tradition of rock music in Cleveland, the birthplace of Rock’n’Roll, had a tremendous influence upon me as well. My sister and I were subscribing to music industry magazines Rolling Stone and Spin at ten years of age and writing our own songs on piano and guitar throughout our teen years. I create music for movement, with training at the University of Cincinnati and the Baldwin-Wallace University Conservatories of Music, where I specialised in piano improvisation and received a certificate in Dalcroze Eurythmics. My compositions include his original piano and folk harp music, with a fusion of house, Irish traditional and rock music styles.
My devotion to my own spiritual heritage comes from my family of Roma Gypsy, Irish and Eastern European Catholic migrants, who brought with them knowledge of the Tarot, the Saints and Otherworld Communication. I have developed my psychic and mediumistic gifts of communication in Lily Dale, NY and the Arthur-Findlay College of Psychic Science as well as in mentorship with the Rev. Dr. Patricia L. Bell and Mavis Pittilla. I currently serve Spirit through dance and music, as well as public and private mediumship demonstrations and workshops.
My academic training was carried out in a Master of Arts at the New York University Glucksman Ireland House and the Department of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts. My master’s research explored the 18th century Transatlantic Jig dance, focusing on the African diasporic contributions to the form. His doctoral research is carried out under the supervision of Dr. Catherine E. Foley at the University of Limerick Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. In it he employs an Arts Practice research methodology to explore, document and share his mystic approach to Irish traditional dance practice and history.
My activism comes from a family of Mid-Western American tradespeople, who for a century have fought as unionists against capitalism, poverty, mental illness and racial inequality. In New York City, I used my art in conjunction with Muintir Earach na hÉireann and St. Pat’s for All to successfully campaign for Marriage Equality in the United States and the Republic of Ireland, as as for the rights of openly LGBTQI+ people to march in the New York City 5th Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In his home of Dublin, Ireland, as a person living with HIV, he uses his dance to research the contemporary experience of living with HIV.