In less than a decade George Hook has become an instantly recognisable face in Irish media. His meteoric rise at a time of life when he himself suggests, that "he should be consulting an undertaker" has rarely been equalled in broadcasting history in Ireland.His work as a rugby analyst with RTE Sport and writing for the Sunday Independent has made him a national figure.
Despite being an unknown quantity as a radio broadcaster and entering the highly competitive current affairs market with Newstalk106 George Hook quickly established a substantial niche in the JNLR ratings.
In 2005 the publication of his biography "Time Added On"; two appearances on "The Late, Late Show; and his quest for Golden Eagles on RTE's "Wild Trials" have further increased his public profile. He is recognised as a name that can deliver an audience whether as a speaker after dinner or conference chairman. His appearance on the "The Restaurant" generated the highest ratings ever for an episode in that series.
He is perfectly placed to make the transition from local to national broadcasting because of that level of public awareness and four years apprenticeship in local radio has made a polished performer using his unique style of personal involvement with the audience.
Jean Butler, a native of New York, and pupil of renowned teacher, Donny Golden, has been dancing professionally for the past twenty years. Early professional engagements included touring with Irish American folk bands such as 'Green Fields of America' and 'Cherish the Ladies.' At the age of 17 Jean began a successful solo career with the Chieftains and has toured extensively throughout America, Canada, Europe and Japan. During this time she completed a BA degree in Theatre Studies from the University of Birmingham.
Best known for her work in Riverdance - The Show, Jean toured with the company as principle female lead for three years. Her choreography can still be seen in the two companies currently performing in territories around the globe. During this time she also had the privilege of dancing for President Clinton at the Kennedy Honour Awards in 1996 and was honoured by Irish America Magazine as one of the 'Top 100 Irish Americans'. After leaving Riverdance Jean went on to produce, choreograph, and star in 'Dancing on Dangerous Ground' with fellow Riverdance partner Colin Dunne. In April 1999 she was awarded the prestigious Irish Post Award for her 'outstanding contribution to Irish Dance.'
During 2003-2005, Jean took up the position of Artist in Residence at the Irish World Music Centre at the University of Limerick where she also completing a Masters in Contemporary Dance with first class honours. Her film credits include, 'The Brylcreem Boys', 'Goldfish Memory', 'The Revenger's Tragedy' and Old Friends. Jean was appointed Good Will Ambassador for the Forgotten Children in 2003 and is dedicated to spreading awareness of the injustices and plight of the Rwandan people. Last year Jean completed a definitive Irish Dance DVD entitled 'Jean Butler's Irish Dance Masterclass' and is presently working on a commissioned solo show for the Project Art Centre in Dublin.
Colin Dunne began his training in traditional Irish dance at the age of three in Birmingham, England. At the age of nine he won his first of nine World titles. He retired from competitive step dance at the age of 22 and became a Chartered Accountant, but resigned from that career the day he qualified to go on tour with The Chieftains. He has danced professionally ever since.
Choreography and performance credits include Riverdance - The Show, Dancing on Dangerous Ground (also co-produced) The Yellow Room (Daghdha Dance Company/Yoshiko Chuma and The Bull (Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre for DTF 2005). He has also choreographed for The Abbey Theatre (The Shaughraun 2004). As a soloist he has worked with Frankie Gavin, De Danann, Stephan Grappelli, the Irish Chamber Orchestra and John Malkovich, and has given performances at Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, The Royal Albert Hall and Carnegie Hall. Special TV performances include The Royal Command Performance (1995 and 1999), The Grammies (1997), the Kennedy Honours (1996). In 2004 he taught 6 Birmingham based coach drivers how to dance in 3 weeks for the Grenada TV series of For One Night Only.
In the last two years he has given master classes in the USA, China, Vienna, Zurich, Berlin, Munich and Moscow. He is currently based at the IWMC at University of Limerick where he completed a Masters in Contemporary Dance performance in 2002.