OUR STORY

The Connick School of Irish Dance, formerly known as Rince na h’Eireann School of Traditional Irish Dance (RNE), was founded in 1994 by Sandra Connick, ADCRG, who desired to pass on the rich, cultural foundation of Irish Dance to families in the greater Charlotte area. Since its founding, Stacie Greiner, TCRG, has taken over primary ownership and operations of the Connick School, continuing the namesake of Sandra for the school as a staple of the local community. A native of Milford, Pennsylvania, Stacie grew up dancing, and enjoying a successful and memorable competitive career. Now, Stacie shares her love of dance, and her gift of teaching, in a welcoming and inclusive environment. Each of the Connick School’s teachers has a true love of dance, and of her students, and offers a wealth of experience from years of involvement in the art form and sport. These professionals share not only their expertise, but also a commitment to each dancer and parent as a member of the Connick School family. More than 400 students of all ages have joined the Connick School at our five locations across the Carolinas. With tremendous competitive success, our dancers have qualified for and competed at regional, national, and international competitions, traveling throughout North America, Mexico, Ireland, Scotland, and England. In addition to competition, the Connick School of Irish Dance and the Rince na h’Eireann Parent’s Association encourage students and their families to serve their communities. Our dancers regularly perform at local schools, support other civic organizations, march in St. Patrick’s Day parades, and have danced alongside musical groups such as Gaelic Storm and Celtic Woman. With the Connick School, our goal is greatness while having a good time – come dance with us!

INSTRUCTORS

 

Stacie Greiner a.d.C.R.G.

Stacie started Irish dancing at the age of 11, with the Sheahan-Gormley School of Irish Dance. It is there that she fell in love with the art form and sport. At the age of 14, she began her studies at the Quinlan Academy, which later became the O’Grady Quinlan Academy of Irish Dance. From there, Stacie went on to compete regionally, nationally, and internationally. She passed her TCRG exam in 2011 and her ADCRG exam in 2019, and is now thrilled to be part of the Connick School teaching staff. 

Stacie earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology from Pennsylvania State University, her Certification in Applied Functional Science from the Gray Institute, and is certified in Rock Tape FMT Performance Kinesiology Taping and FMT Blades Advanced IASTM. Making sure dancers are cross training and moving properly is one of the main focuses in her classes.

Sandra Connick A.D.C.R.G.

My name is Sandra Connick and I grew up in Cork, Ireland.  I started dancing with my mother at age 4 and later attended the Hasson School in Cork.  I'm delighted to say that throughout the years my students have had success both nationally and internationally in solos as well as teams.  It's been a pleasure to teach so many children over the years and watch them grow into adults.  I'm thrilled to say that Irish dancing has given me the opportunity to create friendships all across the worlds. 

 

Sandra is a fully accredited Irish dance teacher and adjudicator, registered with An Coimisiun Le Rince Gaelacha, in Dublin, Ireland, and is currently serving as its Treasurer.

She actively participates in the Southern Region branch of the Irish Dancing Teachers Association of North America (IDTANA). Previously, Sandra served as Vice-President and Treasurer for the national body of the IDTANA as well as the Southern Region.Outside of the dance studio, Sandra’s skills and talents as a teacher have been utilized by the Mecklenburg County School District in programs designed to incorporate cultural enrichment into middle school curriculum. She has also worked extensively with the Diocese of Charlotte Catholic Schools and as a lecturer on Irish Dance at University of North Carolina Charlotte.

Michele Dawe

Michele Dawe started dancing at age five, alongside her two older sisters, in Boston, Massachusetts. Many family weekends were spent traveling to outdoor feiseanna and on road trips throughout New England, of which she has many fond memories. She was also a great supporter of her niece years later when she started Irish dancing. Michele, with her husband and two daughters, moved to North Carolina and joined Rince na h’Eireann in February, 1999.

As a family, they traveled, and the girls competed and medaled regionally, nationally and internationally, until they went off to college.

Early on, Michele became involved in Rince na h’Eireann, assisting Sandra Connick with shows, classes, camps, and feis registration. She is very excited to be a member of the Connick team!

Pamela Pierce

My name is Pamela Pierce McGuinness. I grew up in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin, Ireland. I started dancing, like most Irish children, at the young age of seven, but really found my stride at age 11 after meeting, and subsequently working with, Kevin Massey, who turned Irish dancing into my favorite activity! Kevin was an amazing teacher and dancer, and opened up doors for all his students.

We had dancers like Michal Flatley at our classes every summer for camps, and were involved with Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, through which we performed in shows in Dublin and overseas.

 Whether through performance or competition (I competed regionally and nationally), I continued dancing all through my school days, and even when I started working. I could not imagine my life without it. After many years of being married to a U.S. military man, and traveling and living in many places, my husband retired, and we settled in North Carolina. I met Sandra Connick, started working with her in 1996, and have taught at RNE and the Connick School since then. I consider myself a patient teacher, and take great pride in teaching every child to believe in his and herself. Hard shoe rhythm and timing are what I love, and in which I like to give every dancer a great foundation.

Grace Reif

My name is Grace Reif and I was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. Like most young girls with excess energy, I was put in ballet and tap classes at age three. At eight, I saw Irish dancing at a show and fell head over heels in love. The way the music, rhythms, and movements came together captivated me, and throughout my career I've been lucky enough to share that love all around the world through touring and competition. However, the most fulfilling leg of this journey has been teaching new dancers the magic of Irish dance.

In 2017, my family relocated to Raleigh, and I joined them full time after graduating college in 2019.

Since then, I've worked closely with dancers on how to break down their steps and be more cognizant during their time on stage. I also create videos on Instagram and YouTube that provide a fun, entertaining review of difficult dance moves. I'm thrilled to be a part of the Connick crew and am so excited for what's to come!

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