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).
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.
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.