One of Dance Magazine's 2019 "25 to Watch," dancer and dance researcher Nic Gareiss has been hailed by the New York Times for his "dexterous melding of Irish and Appalachian dance" and called "the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene” by the Boston Herald. He re-imagines movement as a musical practice, recasting dance as medium that appeals to both eyes and ears. Originally from Michigan, Gareiss draws from many percussive dance traditions, weaving together a dance technique facilitating his love of improvisation, traditional dance footwork vocabulary, and musical collaboration. He has concertized in fifteen countries for over ten years with many of the luminaries of traditional music including Phil Wiggins, Frankie Gavin, Bill Frisell, Darol Anger, Bruce Molsky, Genticorum, Liz Carroll, Martin Hayes, The Gloaming, and The Chieftains. Nic holds degrees in Anthropology and Music from Central Michigan University and a MA in Ethnochoreology from the University of Limerick. His MA thesis based upon ethnographic work with LGTBQ competitive step dancers was the first piece of scholarship to query the experience of sexual minorities in Irish dance. Other publications include an essay in Queer Dance: Meanings and Makings edited by Clare Croft on Oxford University Press. Gareiss is currently First Footing artist-in-residence at the University of Edinburgh Moray House School of Education, the School of Scottish Studies, and the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland.