Category for all items relating to social events

World Down Syndrome Awareness Day

World Down Syndrome Awareness Day 2048 996 Isabel Yorke

We had so much fun celebrating an early world Down Syndrome Awareness Day with Candles – Down Syndrome Support Group in Colchester this March. If you need some extra joy and happiness today, check out this FANTASTIC video of our MCGL dancers and our Candles family.

This was such a heartwarming event and the children were so adorable!
Thank you for having us!

Read about our other charity/fundraising events here

Road Trips Galore!

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We love our road trips! We might only be 6 weeks into the new year but the McGL have been making up for lost time attending 7 Feiseanna in London, the Midlands, the North East and Scotland. All the events were superbly run and it was great to be reunited with so many of our feis friends from other dance schools.

Many of our open dancers contended with switching their dances due to the sad cancellation of the All Irelands; however, at least they can now look forward to their first Worlds since 2019!

It was also amazing to see out graded dancers enjoying for many their first road trip experiences.

A sincere thanks to the following Feis organisers, and we can’t wait to return in 2023!

*City of Birmingham*
*North East of England*
*Nadine Martin, Doncaster*
*Phoenix, Glasgow*
*Trainor, London*
*McCarron, Coventry*
*Kelly Hendry, Newcastle*

Interested in our next road trips? Keep an eye on our Feiseanna page for details of upcoming events!

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!



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

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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.

Independence Day Weekender

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We are pleased to announce our first restriction-free events since December 2019! Our “Independence Day Weekender” will include a party on Saturday 3rd July and our summer class feis (competition) on Sunday 4th July. Party details to follow.

Independence Day Class Feis

Sunday, July 4th 2021 at Chelmer Valley High School, Chelmsford, CM1 7ER

As always at our class competitions, the emphasis will be on fun and all dancers will receive at least one award. The competition is suitable for all ages and grades (even new beginners), so we really encourage all dancers to attend.

In the event that COVID restrictions remain, we will simply continue in a similar fashion to our recent open feis at which we asked everyone to sit in family pods, masks whilst moving around the venue, contact free awards and regular cleaning between age groups. In this instance the event will be run in accordance with the latest government guidelines ensuring the hall is limited to 50% capacity and all dancers will compete one at a time on stage.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! 150 150 Isabel Yorke

We’d like to wish all our dancers and their families a merry Christmas. Thank you for all the hard work you put in over the year. We hope you enjoy your break and come back feeling fresh and energized in January! Let’s look forward to a successful 2016.

Wishing all our dancers and their families a very happy Christmas. Have a good break and see you next year!

Oxford Christmas Show

Oxford Christmas Show 150 150 Isabel Yorke

Our annual Christmas Show took place in Oxford this weekend and was a great success, enjoyed by performers and audience alike. Here are some photos:

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