March

Alumna Teaches the Art of Irish Dancing

Beth Anne McFadden ’06, far right, with her Irish dance students.

News Story: March 17, 2015

With St. Patrick’s Day right in the middle of the month, there is no better time than March to learn about the art of Irish dancing! Beth Anne McFadden ’06 is a fourth-generation Irish native of Long Island who danced competitively from ages 9 to 20. When she was 17, she danced in the World Irish Dance Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, and when she was 24, she became the owner of Vermont’s only certified Irish dance school: The McFadden Academy of Irish Dance.

Irish dancing, rich in tradition and ethnicity, is a form of cultural dance that originated in Ireland many years ago. Dancers perform intricate movements with their feet while holding their upper bodies straight and tall. Many people today have been introduced to Irish dance through stage productions such as Riverdance or Lord of the Dance.

Beth Anne has been involved in Irish dancing since 1993. During her dancing career she attended many regional, national and world competitions, sometimes ranking among the top dancers in the Mid-Atlantic Region. After graduating from Sacred Heart, she was offered an opportunity to return to Irish dance as a teacher with a school in Long Island, N.Y. She spent two years instructing and, during that time, passed her TCRG examination, a three-day exam in Dublin required to become a certified instructor.

In 2008, Beth Anne relocated to Burlington, Vt., and opened the McFadden Academy of Irish Dance. Since its inception, the Academy has grown from 20 to more than 100 members in just under four years, and is open to beginners as young as four years old. The McFadden Academy of Irish Dance is the only school in Vermont that is certified through An Coimisiun Le Rince Gaelacha. The school has seen tremendous success and offers classes in both Williston and Middlebury.

Every year, students from the Academy compete at the New England Oireachtas, a regional competition held in Providence, R.I. Several students have also qualified to dance at the national level and this past year, the school sent its first dancer to the World Championships. The McFadden dancers have also performed at numerous events around the region, including Burlington’s First Night, Marketfest, Middlebury’s got Talent and the Quechee Balloon Festival. This time of year is especially busy for the dancers.

“Irish dance has been my passion for many years, and I am so fortunate to be able to teach what I love for a living. It has been a blessing for me to be able to bring my love and years of experience to the children of Vermont,” McFadden says. Her hope for the future is to continue to grow and share this beautiful art form with the people of Vermont.

For more information about the McFadden Academy of Irish Dance, please visit www.mcfaddenirishdance.com.