An unlikely fusion of Irish dance and hip-hop music is flying high on the internet as a young dreadlocked African-American dancer blends her passions in viral videos of herself in quarantine.
With fast-paced steps, hops and kicks on TikTok, college student Morgan Bullock, 21, has captured more than 1 million views and the hearts of fans worldwide.
“It was really unexpected and it happened really fast," Bullock said in an interview on Sunday in an old power plant in Richmond, Virginia, where the sounds of her footwork echoed off the walls.
Bullock has been dancing since she was 3 and began Irish dance training at age 10. She placed 43rd in 2019 at the World Irish Dance Championships, which have been put on hold during the pandemic.
As Bullock’s videos went viral, she faced questions about whether this style of dance is appropriate for her.
“I haven’t really had to constantly think about my race as an Irish dancer," she said. “Initially, my mom, my parents had reservations just because it was something that we had never heard of and it’s not very typical for someone who looks like me to want to do Irish dancing."
But after years of competing with Irish dancers across the globe, she rejects the criticism of cultural appropriation.
“You wouldn’t tell an English girl she can’t do ballet just because she’s not French," she said.
“It’s just a form of dance. And I think because Irish dance is a dance form that was born out of oppression, it’s such an amazing thing that it is something that people can enjoy all over the world without, you know, shame from the Irish dance community."