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Raising awareness for Children with Cancer UK

Supporting Children with Cancer UK

Supporting Children with Cancer UK 2560 1600 Isabel Yorke

This September, McGahan Lees took part in the Southern England Regional Council fundraiser for Children with Cancer UK, whilst remembering those we have sadly lost.

We dedicated our Tuesday classes (28th September) to supporting this great cause, and so far, we have managed to raise over £2000. Thank you to everyone who donated – every penny counts!

You can still donate here!



Roadtrips to Coventry and Manchester!

Roadtrips to Coventry and Manchester! 1192 1221 Isabel Yorke

We love our road trips, and last weekend it was Coventry and Manchester. This was a busy weekend for parents, dancers, and teachers alike, with some traveling to both locations! As always, we supported each other and showed incredible commitment. Dancers, you gave your very best and made your teachers very proud! Well done to each one of our dancers who graced the stage. Keep working hard as we look forward to heading to the Kelley O’Boyle Feis next weekend, and prepare for upcoming major events such as the All Scotland and Great Britain championships in October.

Interested in competing in the next feis? Check out our Feis Information page and speak to your teacher.

Success in Coventry and Manchester!

Success in Coventry and Manchester! 1024 1024 Isabel Yorke

We on are a high after a fantastic weekend at both the Coventry Celtic Championships and the Manchester Feis coming home with 1 prelim championship and 8 Championship wins! Thank you to both feis organisers for hosting brilliant events.

U10 Coventry Champion – Ellen Leavens
U10 Coventry Prelim Champion – Matilda Majilton
U11 Coventry Champion – Eilis Gaughan
U12 Coventry Champion – Ava Folan
U13 Manchester Champion – Ciarra McCarthy
U14 Manchester Champion – Olivia Delaney
U15 Manchester Champion – Ellie-Kate McCarthy
U16 Manchester Champion – Lizzie Anderson
U17 Coventry Championship – Mary Conway

Well done to our additional six top 5 podium placers and all our other dancers who attended these events over the weekend. We are very proud! 💛🖤

Interested in competing in the next feis? Check out our Feis Information page and speak to your teacher.

Top 5s at the 3 Nations

Three Nations Championships 2021

Three Nations Championships 2021 2560 1600 Isabel Yorke

Home from the Three Nations Championships and bursting with pride. We loved being back together at a national event. From the dancing on stage to the teamwork and support off stage, everyone made us so proud.

A huge well done to all of our dancers who competed over the course of the weekend and especially our top 20 placers

U12 Ava 1st 🏆
U13 Ciarra 1st 🏆
U14 Olivia 2nd 🥈
U15 Ellie-Kate 2nd 🥈
U12 Nathan 3rd 🥉
U13 Callum 3rd 🥉
U17 Mary 3rd 🥉
U10 Ellen 4th
U13 Isobel 4th
U11 Eilis 5th
U13 Ryan 5th
Sen Ellie 5th
U9 Mixed Seamus 8th and top boy
U15 Freya 10th
U17 Louise 11th
Sen Maria 11th
U7 Paddy 12th
U11 Lucie 14th
U14 Jayda 14th
U17 Poppy 14th
U11 Ella-Rose 15th

Thank you and congratulations to the midlands teachers and event organisers for putting on such a fabulous event. Great atmosphere, awards and for bringing everyone back together.

The countdown for the next event is now on!

Three nations dancers

Congratulations everyone

#mcglfamily #mcgl #livefeis #roadtrip #makingmemories #irishdance #irishdanceuk #irishdancing #irishdancinguk #finallybacktogether

IDM Excellence in Teaching Award 2021

Frances’ Excellence in Teaching is recognised by a global award

Frances’ Excellence in Teaching is recognised by a global award 600 600 Isabel Yorke

We are proud to announce that our very own Frances McGahan was one of just 23 teachers worldwide to win an Excellence in Teaching award presented by Irish Dancing and Culture magazine.

The magazine opened the nomination process to dancers, parents, and industry professionals in the spring of 2021 to nominate dance teachers with qualities that reflect a standard of excellence that goes beyond competitive results. Irish Dancing Magazine narrowed the field of hundreds of nominations to 23 extraordinary teachers using an extensive review process. The global list of recipients includes dance teachers in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Romania, the UK, and America. You can read IDM’s full report here.

This well deserved recognition is a testament to the sheer number of hours Frances puts in every day to ensuring not only competitive success but also the well being of dancers all over the world who make up our McGahan Lees family. Frances’ enthusiasm and drive to provide unique opportunities for dancers to continue their dance journey throughout the pandemic truly had a positive impact for so many families. Read more about our lockdown activities here!

Congratulations Frances!

Excellence in Teaching award

IDM Excellence in Teaching Award presented to Frances McGahan

Our McGL silver anniversary logo

25 Years of McGahan Lees

25 Years of McGahan Lees 1241 1754 Isabel Yorke

The Date: August 1996
The Place: The Dream Carnival Cruise Liner somewhere in the Caribbean…

Frances McGahan picks up a satellite phone (no such thing as a mobile back then) and calls the CLRG office in Dublin to find out if she has passed her TCRG examination taken some 2 months before.

Taking her teaching examination whilst organising her wedding, working full time in the City, and teaching a small dance class at weekends would simply prepare Frances for the 24-hours-a-day and 365-days-a-year it would take to create and run a successful Irish dance Academy.

Thankfully the honeymoon wasn’t spoilt. Frances passed her TCRG exam, and McGahan Lees was born.

Move forward 25 years – Frances and McGL now look to commence celebrations of their Silver Anniversary.

So many amazing memories have been created; so many lifelong friendships have been made. Through its share of tears and laughter, the McGL journey has created so many life opportunities for its dancers and teachers.

There have been so many people involved in this journey. Frances’ family who inspired and supported her dream, her own teachers, those who helped her through her TCRG examinations, and the friends who have been there in good times and bad, providing great advice or simply a sounding board or shoulder to cry on.

There have been the obvious highlights, but being a successful dance academy cannot just be judged by titles (of which there are many). McGL is a family and community, bringing together those with a common interest that becomes a major part of their lives, with so many creating future careers from a simple pastime.

Seeing the “Friends of McGahan Lees” still going and looking to support the Academy’s dancers at their 20th North American Championships in Montreal next year is testament to McGL being so much more than just dance classes. The Academy is rightly proud of its reaction to the Covid pandemic and the way it reacted to the continual changes of class restrictions and lock-downs. We kept everyone engaged. We ran some amazing events but above all provided some stability for our dancers and families in what was a testing time for all.

Over the next year, McGL will celebrate this journey with numerous special events, sharing many memories along the way.

For those of you who have been part of the journey: thank you! And to those who think it’s something they’d like to get involved in, please get in touch.

Welcome to our North London classes

Welcome to our North London classes 451 339 Isabel Yorke

New Beginnings: Fiona Mackey captures the experience of joining the McGL Family

I have been teaching Irish dance in Finchley, North London, since 2012. Irish dance helps children to develop confidence, fitness, coordination, concentration and friendship. The emphasis is on enjoyment with a mixture of traditional and contemporary Irish music and easy-to-learn steps. Classes are suitable for all levels/abilities from age 4 upwards.

I have been friends with Frances McGahan TCRG/ADCRG/BCRG for many years and I have always hugely admired and respected her teaching technique and beautiful dancers. I asked Frances to join McGahan Lees Irish Dance Academy in March 2021 in the hope that she would bring her skills and knowledge to North London. I was delighted when Frances accepted me and my dancers. At the same time, friends of mine asked me to start a class in Winchmore Hill, which has proven to be very popular. We now run traditional Irish dance classes in Winchmore Hill for beginners and advanced dancers. Our beginners start learning light shoe dances before progressing onto heavy shoe dances (Irish form of tap dancing).

Practicing the basics of Irish Dance in Finchley

During the pandemic, I felt very concerned about the impact that it would have on dancers and how they would feel returning to live classes. Now we had the added nervous anticipation of joining McGahan Lees Irish Dance Academy. I did not need to worry as we have been welcomed with open arms by McGahan Lees teachers, parents and dancers alike. Our dancers have settled in so well and we love the team spirit, values and school ethos. McGahan Lees Irish Dance Academy cultivates a family identity with the emphasis on tradition which gives children a sense of belonging and togetherness. It really does feel like a family and the transition has been seamless thanks to the amazing support provided by Frances and the other teachers.

The children have already benefited greatly from the direction of their new teachers and their diverse skills and experience. Firmly supported by Frances and her fantastic teaching staff, who have made the very successful transition from dancer to teacher, the dancers are provided with a wealth of knowledge and expertise. The children are so excited about the prospect of returning to feises after working so hard on learning their new steps. This has been challenging for them but the hard work, patience, and encouragement from their teachers has made it fun and rewarding.

Alongside attending classes in Finchley and Winchmore Hill, our dancers now have the option of travelling to other classes, where they are taught by Frances and the other McGahan Lees Irish Dance Academy teachers.  The dancers love attending Frances’s classes. Cecily Brennan, ADCRG, and I also run regular workshops in Finchley on Sundays and during the holidays which are very popular. Cecily and I will continue teaching in Finchley on Wednesdays and Saturdays in September.

Our North London dancers prepare for a heavy shoe performance

The school motto “Mol An Óige Agus Tiocfaidh Sí” which translates to “Praise the young and they will blossom” is evident from the progress and developments that the children have made in the short time since we joined the Academy. The dancers and I are so happy and feel incredibly lucky to be a part of the McGahan Lees Irish Dance Academy.

Come, join us and you will see what a lovely Irish Dancing Academy it is! 

Spaces are available for new dancers of all ages in our class in North Finchley on Saturday at 10.30am Finchley and on Tuesday at 4.30pm in Winchmore Hill. Please contact us directly for details and to book your first free class. Fiona Mackey can also be contacted by phone on 07985415421.

Our venue at Dartford Irish club

Live Irish dance classes for all levels open in Dartford

Live Irish dance classes for all levels open in Dartford 768 1024 Isabel Yorke

Being one of our several Irish Dance hubs, our Dartford classes are now open and ready to welcome back Irish dancers at all levels.

Whether you are a competitive Irish dancer or simply looking for beginner Irish dance lessons, our classes located at the Dartford Irish Club has something for everybody.

Be part of the vibrant atmosphere of the newest Saturday morning beginners’ class in our school. Through our beginners we build the foundations of one of the most successful Irish dance schools in England. By mastering traditional Irish dance techniques at beginner level, we give our dancers the tools needed to progress to a world class standard and fulfil their full potential.

Our newly refurbished venue is home to classes for all standards in the school, with our competition level dancers training at the Irish Club midweek, and our beginner level dancers on Saturday mornings. The facilities provide specialised harlequin dance flooring which can be found in some of the world’s leading dance venues such as the Royal Opera House, the Paris Opera Ballet and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. These excellent facilities contribute to the growth and development of our dancers at all levels.

As we come out of lockdown, a great way to make new friends and take on new challenges is through our Covid-safe, traditional Irish dance classes. We currently have availability in Dartford (Saturdays 10.00am – 11.30am), so get in contact for your free first lesson!

Let’s “make every step count!”

Harlequin dance floor featuring "Make every step count" markers

Our spacious Dartford Irish club venue, featuring Harlequin flooring and our “make every step count” distance markers

Three Irish dancers practicing turn-out

Learn Traditional Irish Dance in Oxford

Learn Traditional Irish Dance in Oxford 739 838 Isabel Yorke

If you are looking to learn traditional Irish dance in Oxford, check out McGahan Lees Irish Dance Academy and their recent success stories.

Live classes for traditional Irish dance in Oxford are now back in full swing. If you live in Oxfordshire, our COVID-safe classes are now taking place near you. Our Oxford based teacher, Marion Flanagan, has been teaching in Oxford for over 30 years and she delights in sharing her knowledge of tradition and technique with all her dancers.

Beginners start learning light shoe dances before progressing on to heavy shoe dances (Irish form of tap dancing).

A traditional Irish dancer practicing on harlequin flooring at our Oxford studio

Dancers progress to learning heavy shoe dancing once they have learned the light shoe basics

This is a key class for one of the most successful Irish Dance schools in England. Classes are being held at St. John Fisher Primary School, Sandy Lane West, Littlemore, OX4 6LD, in a spacious hall with new harlequin flooring. Dancers are trained from beginners to World Championship standard, to compete in competitions both nationally and internationally. Since we have been back competing after lockdown, we have had some fabulous results from beginners up to Open Championship. We are so delighted that all the hard-work throughout lockdown has paid off.

Irish dancers with competition awards

Since lockdown has ended, our Oxford dancers have enjoyed great success at competitions.

Spaces are available for new recruits of all ages in our 6pm Monday and Thursday Classes. Contact us direct for details and to book your first free class. Marion can be contacted by phone on 07971 035797 or by email

Celebration time! Trophies and sweets.

Celebrating our successes in Oxford

Seamus and Marie Moore Memorial Feis

Seamus and Marie Moore Memorial Feis 1024 1024 Isabel Yorke

A huge well done goes to all of our dancers who competed this weekend at the Seamus and Marie Moore Memorial Feis in King’s Langley, North London. We’d also like to say a big thank you to the Brooks Academy for running such a successful event!

Well done to our top 5 podium placers and a special mention to our top 3 podium placers who went on to represent MCGL in the John Brooks Memorial Cup in a world class line up. We were very proud to watch such a beautiful display of dancing!

U7 – Paddy
U9- Seamus
U10 – Ellen
U11 – Eilis, Ella Rose
U12 – Ava
U12 Prelim – Chloe
U13 boys – Callum & Nathan
U13 – Isobel
U14 – Olivia, Jayda
U16 – Freya
U17 – Mary
O17 – Robert
SNR – Ellie

Irish dance champion

Congratulations to our U11 Girls champion, Eilis!

Back to class tonight and the countdown to The Belfast Championships and The Three Nations is officially on!

Interested in competing in the next feis? Check out our Feis Information page