“March Madness” – An Irish Dancer’s Perspective

Niche Activity Draws Mainstream Attention Around St. Patrick’s Day

March is a particularly busy month for students at the Teelin School of Irish Dance. Although classes follow a typical school year schedule, and various Irish dance competitions are scheduled year round, March brings increased requests for performances, as well as participation in mainstream public events such as the Baltimore St Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 13. Simultaneously, several Teelin students are preparing to compete in the World Irish Dancing Championships being held March 20-27 in Glasgow, Scotland.

“This is my favorite month of the year!” boasts Maureen Berry, Owner/Director of the Teelin School of Irish Dance. “Sure, we’re very busy, but we’re doing what we love to do.”

school logo for pagesTeelin School is co-owned by Berry’s sister, Kathleen Young, who serves as Business Manager and is an Irish dance teacher. Young adds, “An Irish dance school is not your typical dance studio. This is a niche activity, and students either love it, or they soon realize that it’s not their thing. Because of that, we are fortunate to have a close-knit community of dancers and families who share a common interest in their passion for Irish dance, Irish music, and Irish culture.”

Berry and Young, along with a third sister, Eileen Narvell, who is also involved with Teelin School as an event organizer, are the daughters of Irish immigrants Brigid and the late Michael Berry of Bridgewater, NJ. Irish dance and Irish music have been an integral part of the Berry sisters’ lives since childhood, and all three have felt inspired to share this experience with others through the Teelin School. The school is named after Brigid’s hometown of Teelin, Co. Donegal.

The Teelin School of Irish Dance is comprised of approximately 250 students hailing from seven Maryland counties. Training focuses on a solid foundation in traditional Irish step dancing, with the opportunity to explore challenging choreography developed with innovative style. Director Maureen Berry has been named the 2015 Outstanding Artist by the Howard County Arts Council, and was also the top recipient of the 2009 Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) Individual Artist Award for Dance Choreography.

company logo performance pgsUpon achieving an advanced level of proficiency, a subset of students from the Teelin School choose to audition for the Teelin Irish Dance Company, which is an
elite team of approximately 45 dancers who stage performances, big and small, throughout central Maryland on a regular basis. This year, the Teelin Irish Dance Company is being presented in a feature-length show called Celtic Storm on Saturday, March 5th, 7:00pm at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick. Celtic Storm accentuates the energy of Irish dance with cutting-edge choreography, and celebrates Irish culture with locally renowned musicians, just in time for St Patrick’s Day. Additional theater performances include two shows at the Carroll County Arts Center on March 12, and a performance with the Columbia Orchestra on March 19. Further information about these events and the many additional March performances at various venues may be found online at http://teelin.com/TIDC/.

knotSeparate and apart from the multiple performance opportunities at Teelin, many students also choose to participate in competitions, which are governed by the international Irish Dancing Commission. Competitions are held locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Through a rigorous qualifying process, some top-level dancers are eligible to participate in the World Irish Dancing Championships, which are typically held the week before Easter.

Nine students from Teelin School of Irish Dance will be traveling to Glasgow, Scotland, in late March to compete at the World Irish Dancing Championships: Emma Donahoe of Woodstock, age 11, in 5th grade at Waverly Elementary School; Isabella Pelura of Millersville, age 11, in 6th grade at Monsignor Slade Catholic School; Katie Miskelly of Kingsville, age 14, a 9th grade home school student; Alyssa Savard of Bowie, age 14, in 9th grade at St Vincent Pallotti High School; Gaby Stratmann of Ellicott City, age 15, in 10th grade at River Hill High School; Emily Galoppo of Odenton, age 15, in 10th grade at Mount De Sales Academy; Saoirse DeBoy of Mt. Airy, age 16, in 11th grade at Mount De Sales Academy; Jade Shields of Clarksville, age 17, in 12th grade at River Hill High School; and Katie Ortel of Glenwood, age 18, in 12th grade at Mount De Sales Academy.

The Teelin Irish Dance Company is performing in more than a dozen different locations throughout the month of March, and their performance schedule may be found at http://teelin.com/TIDC/performance-schedule/.

Teelin Irish Dancer Crowned 2015 North American Champion

First Place Winner – Saoirse DeBoy, Age 16

The North American Irish Dance Championships (NAIDC) held in Providence, RI, July 1-5, 2015, showcased over 2000 competitors from the United States, Canada and Mexico, each vying for top recognition as “National Champion” in their age group. Saoirse DeBoy of Mt. Airy, age 16, a student of the Teelin School of Irish Dance in Columbia, Maryland, and a rising 11th grader at Mount De Sales Academy in Catonsville, earned that title by winning first place last month in the solo championships for girls age 15-16. The competition was also open to competitors from abroad, and included some dancers from the countries of Ireland, England, Scotland and Australia, to name a few.

“Saoirse is the first student from Teelin School to earn this title, we are all very excited!” boasts Maureen Berry, Owner/Director of the Teelin School of Irish Dance. “I am very proud of each of my dancers – they are hard workers and passionate dancers, and we’ve had a very good run at the competitions this year.”

Saoirse DeBoy, 2015 NAIDC Champion
Saoirse DeBoy with her teachers – Maureen Berry, TCRG; Shawn Stratmann, TMRF; Gayle Shields, TMRF.
Photo credit: Shamrock Photography. To request press images, contact info@teelin.com.

The international Irish Dancing Commission based in Dublin, Ireland governs the competitions which are held locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. In December 2015, four students from Teelin School won first place in their age group at the Southern U.S. Regional Championships – Saoirse DeBoy; Gaby Stratmann, age 15, of Ellicott City; Isabella Pelura, age 11, of Millersville; and Colleen Bartel, age 8, of Severna Park. At the North American Championships this July (also referred to as the National Championships), six Teelin School students earned high placements in their solo championship age group and qualified for the World Championships, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland March 20-29, 2016 – DeBoy (1st place in Girls 15-16); Stratmann (4th place in Girls 14-15); Pelura (4th place in Girls 10-11); Ellie King of Arnold (6th place in Girls 14-15); Jade Shields of Clarksville (19th place in Girls 16-17); and Katie Ortel of Glenwood (22nd place in Girls 16-17).

The Teelin School of Irish Dance is comprised of approximately 250 students hailing from seven Maryland counties, and is co-owned by Berry’s sister, Kathleen Young, who serves as Business Manager. Training focuses on a solid foundation in traditional Irish step dancing, with the opportunity to explore challenging choreography developed with innovative style. Upon achieving an advanced level of proficiency, a subset of students from the Teelin School choose to audition for the Teelin Irish Dance Company, which is an elite team of approximately 45 dancers who stage performances, big and small, throughout central Maryland on a regular basis.

Known for performing traditional steps with innovative style, the Teelin Irish Dance Company is being featured on Saturday, March 5th, 2016, at 7:00pm at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick, with the debut of “Celtic Storm”, an original new dance show. Many of the top competitors from Teelin School will be performing in this show, alongside a talented cast of dancers and musicians. Ticket information is available at http://www.weinbergcenter.org.

Download this press release:  .docx  |  .pdf

“March Madness” – An Irish Dancer’s Perspective

Niche Activity Draws Mainstream Attention Around St. Patrick’s Day

March is a particularly busy month for students at the Teelin School of Irish Dance. Although classes follow a typical school year schedule, and various Irish dance competitions are scheduled year round, March brings increased requests for performances, as well as participation in mainstream public events such as the Baltimore St Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 15. Simultaneously, several Teelin students are preparing to compete in the World Irish Dancing Championships being held March 29 through April 5 in Montreal, Canada, only the third time that this event has been hosted in North America in its 45-year history.

“This is my favorite month of the year!” boasts Maureen Berry, Owner/Director of the Teelin School of Irish Dance. “Sure, we’re very busy, but we’re doing what we love to do.”

school logo for pagesTeelin School is co-owned by Berry’s sister, Kathleen Young, who serves as Business Manager and is an Irish dance teacher. Young adds, “An Irish dance school is not your typical dance studio. This is a niche activity, and students either love it, or they soon realize that it’s not their thing. Because of that, we are fortunate to have a close-knit community of dancers and families who share a common interest in their passion for Irish dance, Irish music, and Irish culture.”

Berry and Young, along with a third sister, Eileen Narvell, who is also involved with Teelin School as a substitute teacher and event organizer, are the daughters of Irish immigrants Brigid and Michael Berry of Bridgewater, NJ. Irish dance and Irish music have been an integral part of the Berry sisters’ lives since childhood, and all three have felt inspired to share this experience with others through the Teelin School. The school is named after Brigid’s hometown of Teelin, Co. Donegal.

The Teelin School of Irish Dance is comprised of approximately 250 students hailing from seven Maryland counties. Training focuses on a solid foundation in traditional Irish step dancing, with the opportunity to explore challenging choreography developed with innovative style. Director Maureen Berry was awarded top recipient of the 2009 Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) Individual Artist Award for Dance Choreography.

company logo performance pgsUpon achieving an advanced level of proficiency, a subset of students from the Teelin School choose to audition for the Teelin Irish Dance Company, which is an elite team of approximately 45 dancers who stage performances, big and small, throughout central Maryland on a regular basis. Known for performing traditional steps with innovative style, the Teelin Irish Dance Company will present a feature-length showcase on Saturday, March 7th, 7:00pm at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick, comprised of energetic numbers deemed audience favorites from the past decade. Additional theater performances include two shows at the Carroll County Arts Center on March 14, and two shows at Charlestown Retirement Community on March 21. Further information about these events and the many additional March performances at various venues may be found online at http://teelin.com/TIDC/.

knotSeparate and apart from the multiple performance opportunities at Teelin, many students also choose to participate in competitions, which are governed by the international Irish Dancing Commission. Competitions are held locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Through a rigorous qualifying process, some top-level dancers are eligible to participate in the World Irish Dancing Championships, which are typically held the week before Easter.

Twelve students from Teelin School of Irish Dance will be traveling to Montreal, Canada, this spring to compete at the World Irish Dancing Championships: Isabella Pelura of Millersville, age 10, in 5th grade at Monsignor Slade Catholic School; Kayleigh Donnelly of Ellicott City, age 11, in 6th grade at Mayfield Woods Middle School; Abigail Miller of Catonsville, age 13, in 7th grade at Lamb of God School; Gaby Stratmann of Ellicott City, age 14, in 9th grade at Mount De Sales Academy; Emily Galoppo of Odenton, age 14, in 9th grade at Mount De Sales Academy; Ellie King of Arnold, age 15, in 9th grade at McDonogh School; Saoirse DeBoy of Mt. Airy, age 15, in 10th grade at Mount De Sales Academy; Rachel Steeley of Woodstock, age 16, in 11th grade at Glenelg Country School; Jade Shields of Clarksville, age 16, in 11th grade at River Hill High School; Katie Ortel of Glenwood, age 17, in 11th grade at Mount De Sales Academy; Amanda Golebiowski of Ellicott City, age 19, a student at University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and Ben Koolbeck of Woodstock, age 21, a student at Howard Community College.

The Teelin Irish Dance Company is performing in more than a dozen different locations throughout the month of March, and their performance schedule may be found at http://teelin.com/TIDC/performance-schedule/.