We are proud to introduce you to this year’s team of Riverdance Summer School instructors. Each instructor will bring their own unique ability to connect and teach while staying true to our mission of inspiring, encouraging and motivating all of our students. We have instructors from Ireland, UK, North America and Australia and below you will see a very brief introduction to each of them.
Maggie Darlington, principal dancer with Riverdance and Heartbeat of Home, is a world champion dancer, TCRG, and yoga instructor. She’s been touring the world with Riverdance since 2011, and is always looking for new and different ways to challenge and express herself when she’s not on the road.
CIARA CALLANAN RYAN
Ciara Callanan Ryan, a BA Irish Music and Dance graduate from University of Limerick, began dancing at the age of three under the instruction of her mother Anne Callanan. When Anne finished teaching in 2001, Ciara continued learning from Michael Ryan. She has since toured extensively with Dance shows such as Ragus – the show and Titanicdance. She has also shared the stage with such bands as The Chieftians, De Dannan and Téada. Ciara is seven times Provincial Champion, former European Champion and she is a World Championship medal holder for eight consecutive years. She also enjoys playing the harp, whistle and piano and has traveled the world performing with her father Sean Ryan. It has been a lifelong dream for Ciara to perform with Riverdance and she is delighted to be part of the Riverdance 25th Anniversary Show and to be back as a instructor this year.
Brandon began dancing at the age of 4 with the Leneghan Academy of Irish Dance located in Cleveland, Ohio. In sixteen years of competitive dancing, Brandon became a five time Mid American champion, National champion, and placed 6th at the World championships. After participating in the 2015 Riverdance Summer School, Brandon began touring with Riverdance at the age of 19. Brandon is privileged to be in the show that inspired him to begin Irish dancing. He has toured with Riverdance and Heartbeat of Home in North America, Europe, and China and continues to live out his dream as a professional dancer.
Anna Mai began her dance journey at the age of four and danced competitively for sixteen years alongside her brother Fergus. She knew from a young age that Irish Dance was her passion. She won many major championships including the All-Ireland Championships, Great Britain Championships and the British Nationals. Anna Mai joined Riverdance and toured China with the fantastic cast which included her brother Fergus. She also performed with Riverdance in the historic Gaiety Theatre, Dublin for two summer seasons. Anna Mai moved into the principal role on the show’s 2020 North American tour. Anna Mai has also toured with Heartbeat of Home and made her debut as Principal Dancer in the famous Piccadilly Theatre in London’s West End. Anna Mai is to be part of the instructor team in both Boston and Dublin this year.
Andy has been a member of Riverdance and Heartbeat of Home for 15 years. He has undertaken principle and dance captain roles during his time with the company and has performed thousands of shows across the globe. He has been fortunate enough to help choreograph pieces for major television shows such as ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ and ‘Dancing with the Stars’.
Meadhbh from Tara, Co. Meath and began dancing at the age of 4. She danced for the O’Shea School of Irish Dance and has competed successfully at the World and All Ireland Championships.
Since 2015, Meadhbh has toured Europe, China and North and South America with Riverdance, Heartbeat of Home, Celtic Legends, Irish Celtic and Prodijig: The Revolution. Meadhbh’s biggest achievement to date is performing lead on Riverdance’s 25th Anniversary Show. Meadhbh has also completed a degree in Mathematics and English at St. Patrick’s College, Dublin.
Ellen Bonner from Co. Meath, Ireland began Irish dancing at the age of five and attended the renowned O’Shea School in Dublin. Passionate about personal growth and development she juggled dancing professionally with her studies, receiving an honours degree in Accounting and Finance in 2012, qualifying as a T.C.R.G. in 2017 and graduating with a master’s
degree in Dance Science in 2021. Ellen has been performing with Riverdance since 2013 and has progressed into the role of Lead Dancer and Dance Captain. Ellen has travelled all over the World, dancing in the World’s most prestige venues with Riverdance and Heartbeat of Home, of which she also held the role of Dance Captain. Ellen has been a Summer School Instructor since 2015 and is very excited to be part of the team again this year.
Michael Gardiner started dancing in Denver, Colorado when he was 4 years old. At the age of 10 he moved to Galway, Ireland where he joined the renowned Hession School. Michael won many major titles including two World Championships, with a historic World Title win in the same year as his brother Matthew. Michael joined Riverdance in 2015, when he successfully auditioned at the Riverdance Summer School. As part of the Riverdance team, Michael is honoured to have performed with Riverdance all over the world, including North America and China. He performed for Pope Francis in Croke Park Dublin in 2018 and was part of the creative team on a special piece for the World Meeting of Families. Michael and his brother Matthew showcase their creative side on social media, where they have over 1 million followers. @gardinerbrothers Michael is a qualified Architect from the University of Limerick. He is a huge Denver Broncos fan and an avid lover of traditional Irish music. @mike_gardiner95 He is excited to be teaching the Summer School for the fourth year now and can’t wait to welcome you all to the Riverdance family.
Louise O’Sullivan from Dublin began dancing at the age of four under the tuition of the late Lil Tully, transferring to the Elaine Kavanagh School of Dance in her teens. Many years of successful competitive Irish dancing followed before Louise began her professional career in 2010. After lengthy tours of the world Louise fulfilled her dream of joining Riverdance. Since joining Riverdance Louise has moved from a troupe role, to Dance Captain and now a principal lead performer. Louise is also a qualified personal trainer, having studied at DCU.
John who is originally from Co. Cork, Ireland discovered his love for Irish Dancing at the tender age of 6. He had an extremely successful competitive career winning every major title there is. The most prestigious, being crowned World Champion 10 times. As a Professional Dancer – John has had the privilege to perform in the most amazing venues all over the world. The 3Arena Dublin, Radio City Music Hall, New York & Live at the Marquee in his hometown of Cork being highlights & personal favourites in his career. He has been a member of Riverdance for 10 years, where he has climbed the ranks to not only be a Troupe dancer, but also be made Dance Captain & Principal Dancer. John is the director of his own Irish Dance school ‘The John Lonergan Academy of Irish Dancing’ based in Cork, where he has lead his students to numerous Regional Titles & International/World level placings. He also takes it in his stride to encourage the next generation of young dancers to fall in love with Irish Dancing, just like he did as a young boy.
Fergus discovered his passion for dance at the age of eight, taking lessons alongside his sister Anna Mai. He later transferred to an elite Irish dancing school in Dublin. As his accolades grew in prestige he became a world champion. Fergus then turned his focus to professional dance, beginning a career with Riverdance. Fortunate enough to join the show alongside his sister Anna Mai, they have both toured internationally with the show and for the summer runs in the renowned Gaiety Theatre, Dublin. Fergus was a member of Heartbeat of Home cast in London’s West End. Aside from dancing, Fergus is studying computer science and software engineering at Maynooth University.
Amy-Mae Dolan from Co.Tyrone competed for the Carson Kennedy Academy in Belfast winning the World championships and many other major competitions throughout her competitive career. Amy-Mae attended the Riverdance Summer School in July 2016, one of the most challenging, motivating and rewarding weeks of her life. Amy-Mae then joined the Riverdance family in November that year, a lifelong dream come true. Amy-Mae is very proud to be a Principal dancer in Riverdance, the show that inspired her, all her life. She is very excited to be an instructor for the Dublin Summer school.
Mairead from London began dancing at the age of two. She dances for the Trainor School of Irish Dance which is run by her mother, aunt and cousin. During her competitive career she has won all major titles including the World Championships. She has also qualified as a Personal Trainer. Mairead attended the Riverdance Summer School in 2016 and 2018 and from there was selected to be part of the Riverdance cast and she toured with Riverdance on the 2022 North American tour. She was honoured to join the Riverdance lead team at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin.
Morgan from Virginia USA began dancing at the age of three. At ten years old she saw Irish dancing for the first time and was instantly drawn to the intricate footwork and discipline it requires to master the steps. A champion level dancer, she studies with the Baffa Academy of Irish Dancing under Jessie & Megan Baffa, former Riverdance cast members. During the early days of the pandemic, she choreographed and posted a dance showcasing her step dancing, which went viral with over three million views to date. Her choreography has been featured in festivals worldwide, and her story told by ABC News, BBC, Good Morning America, Washington Post, Reuters, Irish Examiner, Guardian and many more. In addition, she has completed her fourth year at Virginia Commonwealth University toward earning a Master of Education degree. Morgan first attended the Riverdance Summer School in 2017 and is overjoyed to be a part of the Riverdance cast realising a lifelong dream.
Riverdance Executive Producer and Associate Director
Padraic has been with Riverdance for 25 years. Since joining the show in November of 1997 Padraic has toured the world as member of the troupe, a lead dancer and a dance captain. Padraic has performed on Broadway with Riverdance and The Pirate Queen, he is the Associate Director of Heartbeat of Home and has helped choreography for a number of television shows. He is grateful for the support of his family, mentors, supporters, teammates and teacher Donny Golden as well as being extremely thankful and proud of all the instructors that have taken part in the summer school over the past 8 years and helped shape it into what it is today it.