Academy of Irish Dance:
Mary Cantin, T.C.R.G.
Born in Rochester, NY, Mary has been Irish dancing for over 24 years! As a young student, Mary developed an early love of all forms of dance, and was fortunate to compete in local Irish Dance competitions, called “feisanna”, as well as at the Mid-Adlantic Regional Oireachtas and the North American National Championships. Mary’s mother is a native of Ballinasloe, County Galway, Ireland, and has always kept the culture of Ireland alive at home. Mary holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, and has been fortunate to work as a Co- Director of McLaughlin-Goodwin-O’Shanecy since the beginning. Her classes are demanding and intense. She enjoys passing on her love of dance to new generations each year.
Nina Piccini, T.C.R.G.
A trained musician and singer with an incredible voice, Nina has long been both an artist as well as an athlete. As a former track and field competitor, Nina still participates in several races each year and runs several times each week. Her Irish heritage, passed on to her from her mother’s side, has always been a source of pride throughout her life. Nina began Irish dancing at a very young age, and was subsequently joined by each of her three younger sisters. As a competitive Irish dancer, Nina moved very quickly to the rank of Champion, and was proud to qualify and compete in both the Mid Atlantic Regional Oireachtas as well as the North American National Championships of Irish dance. As an avid sports enthusiast, Nina is a teacher who holds extremely high standards for her dancers. Her classes are intense, demanding, and technical, and dancers who rise to the challenge often find that they improve even beyond their own expectations.
Wendy Michael is a longtime friend and fellow dancer of both Mary and Nina. Wendy has competed in many local, regional, and national competitions. Wendy absolutely loves to travel, and was fortunate after college to live abroad in France. Bilingual in both English and French, Wendy brings an element of international culture and class to our school. As a former competitive Irish dancer, Wendy also qualified for and competed in the Mid Atlantic Regional Oireachtas, the largest and oldest regional competition in North America. She is excited to teach dance with McLaughlin-Goodwin-O’Shanecy and is dedicated towards providing each student with the best mix of fun as well as focus in class.
Colleen is a graduate of Nazareth College in Rochester, NY and currently works as a grant accountant for the University of Rochester. She is also the director of our Performance Irish Dance program. She has been involved in Irish dance for over 17 years, as a student and teacher. In her free time she enjoys reading, drinking tea, listening to music, and learning different styles of dance. Her newest hobby is mountain biking, a great way to cross train for dance. A fact about Colleen? She is Mary’s little sister…and the youngest of five siblings. Being from a big family has helped Colleen learn ways to adapt her style to effectively teach young children of all ages and developmental stages.
Ashford Ballet Company
Caitlyn has been dancing in the Rochester area for the past 15 years. She began formal training in ballet, tap, jazz, and modern dance under the direction of Trichia Bertino, has since danced with the Nazareth Academy Dance Department, and most recently has also completed the dance concentration program at SUNY Geneseo. Throughout her training she has performed in many area competitions and showcases, and has also traveled to perform in national competitions. Caitlyn holds her NYS Teaching Certifications in Childhood Education, Childhood Education (Students with Disabilities), and Dance. She is currently a special education teacher at Spencerport Central Schools. She has been teaching dance for the past seven years, and has loved every minute of it. Caitlyn recalls how wonderful it felt to dance under the instruction of teachers who had high expectations, but also a great passion for making each and every student feel valued and respected. She hopes that she can emulate this experience for her own students.
Miss Andrea Phillips (soon to become “Mrs” Andrea!) is currently a resident manager for the Arc of Monroe County working with individuals with developmental disabilities. She recently moved back to Rochester rom Syracuse where she was working a Director at a national childcare center. Miss Andrea graduated from SUNY Brockport with two bachelors degrees in Dance and Arts for Children and a minor in theatre. As an Interdisciplinary Specialist in the Arts, she is very passionate about dance and about children’s love for learning in all of the arts. She is a kid at heart which is reflected in her warm and exciting dance classes. Miss Andrea states, “I want to encourage a child’s growth, to think and find their own direction, and to step outside themselves to become well rounded individuals.” Andrea has been dancing for over 25 years and teaching/assisting for 15 years, receiving training in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, pointe, modern, hip hop, and African dance. She is happy to be back in Rochester teaching dance, and we are so lucky to have her on our faculty!
Betsy’s passion for dance started as a love and appreciation for music (and figure skating) throughout the Winter Olympics of 1992. She danced and twirled across her living room, mirroring Kristi Yamaguchi. Her mother was a little too nervous to put her stumbling toddler on the ice in skates, so she enrolled her in ballet. Since she began dancing at the age of 3, she has since grown to love every moment she spends in the studio and on stage! Betsy graduated from the University of Rochester in 2010 with a BS in Biomedical Engineering and a Certificate in Management Studies from the Simon School. While at U of R, she became greatly involved in the campus’ Ballet Performance Group where she choreographed jazz, modern, and tap pieces for the group. This past year, she began her career as a Chemical Engineer at Bausch + Lomb, but has missed choreographing, dancing, and working with children. Being the oldest with two much younger siblings she has been a babysitter her whole life, has been teaching children in volunteer settings for the past 7 years, and has worked as an assistant in daycares while in college. A talented performer and teacher, Miss Betsy is a strong asset to our teaching staff at Ashford Ballet Company!
700 S. Clinton Ave. Rochester, NY, 14620 USA
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