Purpose

Whatever the level or ability, we encourage all students to develop their own Irish dancing skills and learn to work with others. For many people, the skills taught in Irish dance go beyond dancing and have proven to be invaluable many years later.

Performances 

Our students perform all over the region, dancing at numerous events from the Charlotte Hornets Halftime Show to Holy Angels specialized care to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The Walsh Kelley dancers have even performed on stage with musical greats The Chieftains and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. Performing is a great way for us to share the Irish culture and spirit.

Competition

The school hosts three open dance competitions. Students can attend these competitions as well as travel to other regional, national or international events.

The Walsh Kelley School dancers have successfully claimed titles in both solo and team events at many of these competitions. Walsh Kelley students have qualified and competed at the World Irish Dancing Championships.

The Walsh Kelley School is attended by more than 180 dancers in Charlotte, Greensboro and Wilmington, North Carolina locations with class times for beginners through championship level.

Meet the teachers.

Caitlin O'Neill, TCRG   |   Áine Walsh Kelley, TCRG   |   Colleen King, TCRG

Áine Walsh Kelley, TCRG

A native of Cork, Ireland, Áine comes from a dancing family. She began dancing at the age of three with her sisters and mother. Áine trained and competed under the late Peggy McTeggart, winning numerous awards throughout Ireland. In 1994, she relocated to Charlotte, NC. In 1998 after earning her TCRG, Áine founded the Walsh Kelley School of Irish Dancing. She is certified by the Irish Dancing Teacher's Association of North America, as well as, An Coimisun le Rince Gaelacha of Dublin, Ireland. Áine proudly serves as recording secretary of IDTANA - Southern Region.

Colleen King, TCRG

Colleen started Irish dancing at the age of seven in Seattle, Washington.  She competed in many local, regional and national competitions, as well as, danced for the Chieftans, De Dannan, and Sharon Shannon. Colleen moved to North Carolina in 1999 and started dancing with Walsh Kelley School. In 2002, she won the senior ladies Oireachtas championship title and qualified for the world championships in Killarney, Ireland.  In 2013, Colleen passed her TCRG. She lives and teaches in Greensboro, North Carolina.

CAITLIN O'NEILL, TCRG

Caitlin grew up Rochester, NY where she began Irish dancing at the age of five. She has competed at multiple All-Ireland and World Championships in both solo and team competitions in addition to many local, regional, and national competitions. After taking a break from dancing for college, Caitlin achieved two top five finishes at the Southern Region Oireachtas. She moved to Charlotte, NC in 2014 and passed her TCRG later that year.

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Frequently Asked Questions


At what age can my child begin taking Irish dance classes?
We recommend that your child be at least 4 years of age to attend classes.  

Does your studio offer classes year round?
Our studio holds classes from September through June. We also offer camps and workshop to our students in the summer.

What fees are associated with taking Irish dance classes?
We charge a reasonable monthly tuition, which is due the first of each month.  In addition, there is a registration fee that you pay when you join, and then, annually.

What is the length of the classes?
Level 1 (beginner) classes are 45 minutes long. All other levels are usually one hour in length.

How are classes organized?
Classes are grouped by ability.
Level 1  (Beginner) 
Level 2  (Advanced Beginner) 
Level 3  (Novice) 
Level 4  (Prizewinner) 
Level 5  (Championship) 

What should my child wear to class?
Class attire is athletic. Students must wear a t-shirt, athletic shorts or leggings (no jeans or overalls), and Irish dancing shoes, sneakers, ballet or gymnastic shoes. Hair should be pulled back and jewelry removed.

Where can I buy dance shoes?
We have a limited supply of used dance shoes available for sale at our studio. If we don’t have your child’s size in a used pair, we can direct you to a website where you can order the shoes online. Your child is not required to purchase Irish dance shoes in order to take dance classes.

Does my child need an Irish dance costume?
Many children take Irish dancing as a recreational activity. Should your child choose to perform or compete, a beginner costume would be required. Performances and competitions are not mandatory, although they are encouraged. Once a student moves beyond Beginner level, a school dress may be purchased if desired. Both the beginner costume and the school dress are available through the school.