The Connolly School of Irish dance is one of the oldest dancing schools in New Zealand. It was founded in 1977 by Clare Connolly who started teaching at the age of 18. Throughout the last four decades, the Connolly School has competed and performed locally, nationally and internationally. Irish dancing is one of the greatest loves of Clare’s life and becoming a teacher in her earlier years enabled her to teach her own children. Her greatest joy was when her son, Ciaran, went on to join Riverdance and later Lord of the Dance, from there Siobhan and Martin also joined the troupe. She has been able to travel to many countries to see her 3 children dance in these prestigious shows and is very proud of their achievement. Bernadette, who is the oldest in the family, has also become an Irish dancing teacher and has her own dancing school in Ireland. The Connolly family is a very Irish family and noted highly in the Irish community.
In 2013 Siobhan Connolly, Clare’s youngest daughter, came back to N.Z. after an 11-year career in Michael Flatley’s ‘Lord of the dance’. After becoming a qualified teacher (TCRG) Siobhan has since taken over as the Director of the Connolly School. Although Clare has given up the teaching part in the school, she still has a very active role in the administration side and loves to be involved with the exhibition and team dancing. Clare hopes that this wonderful artform will be past down to her grandchildren in the years to come.
Along with our competitive achievments we also do many exhibitions throughout the year. We have been lucky enough to take part in many prestigious performances such as the 2012 Rugby World cup, the Commonwelth Games, and dancing for many Irish and New Zealand Dignataries.
In 1999 Connolly was the first school in New Zealand to take an 8-hand Ceili team to the World Championships, and in 2012 once again made history by being the first school from New Zealand to take a Senior Girls Open Figure to the Worlds in Belfast where they attained 5th place.