About

Our Director - Michael O’Hara, ADCRG

began his Irish dance training at the age of 12 at the Peter Smith School of Irish Dance in New Jersey.  He enjoyed great success as a solo and team dancer, having numerous national and international Irish dance champion titles to his credit.  Michael remained under the tutelage of the renowned Peter Smith for his entire Irish dance schooling. In 1993, Michael was awarded the title "Master of Irish Dance" and certification as a qualified Irish dance teacher (TCRG).  In 2007, Michael was certified as an Irish dance adjudicator (ADCRG). He has produced some of the finest Irish dancers around, claiming North American, All- Ireland, Great Britain, Southern and Eastern Region champions.  Many dancers have also gone on to star in professional touring Irish dance shows around the world.  Michael has performed throughout the world with entertainers such as Frank Patterson, Hal Roach, Andy Cooney, Stockton's Wing, Clancy Brothers, Cherish the Ladies, Wolfe Tones, Natalie MacMaster and also danced the lead role in the hit Irish dance show, Common Ground.  His performance in Common Ground was described by the Palm Beach Post as a "scintillating display of flying feet". Michael has been described as "one of the most influential Irish Dance teachers in the Southern Region" (Hornpipe Magazine) and as a "rising star adjudicator" (Irish Dancing Magazine). In February 2014, he was elected as the first Chairperson of the USA Branch of Comhdhail na Muinteoiri le Rinci Gaelacha Teoranta, otherwise known as An Comhdhail - The Congress of Irish Dance Teachers, and now serves on the Executive of An Comhdhail.  Michael was previously one of the youngest teachers ever to serve on the Executive of An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha, the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America, and the Southern Region USA.  He was also the Southern Region representative for the North American Feis Commission (NAFC) organization. Michael also served as the Chairperson of the Dance adjudication panel for the Presidential Scholar in the Arts Program sponsored by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA).  The program selects the top high school artists in the United States, with the very best being chosen to receive the Presidential Scholarship in the Arts Medal from the President of the United States.   He previously served on the preliminary and final adjudication panels, and also as the Master Irish Dance teacher for the program. Michael O'Hara was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and currently resides with his wife, Nicola, and 6 year old daughter, in Miami Shores, Florida.  In addition to teaching Irish Dance, Michael is employed as the Director of Housing Development for the City of Miami Beach.

Co-Director - Nicola O’Hara, TCRG

a native of Clonmany, Co. Donegal, Ireland, began dancing at the age of 3.  Nicola performed and successfully competed throughout Ireland, England and the United States.  She has performed for the President of Ireland, appeared on National Television in both Ireland and England, performed onstage with many outstanding musicians including Natalie MacMaster, James Kelly, Daithi Sproule (Altan), Cephas & Wiggins, The Volunteers and many more.  Nicola graduated in 1997 as valedictorian from John Moores University, Liverpool, England, with a BSc. (Honors) in Business Information Systems.  She enjoyed a successful career as a Systems Analyst at Mount Sinai Medical Center, before deciding to teach Irish Dance full- time. Nicola has successfully represented the USA at the World Championships on several occasions, and retired from competition after being crowned the 2001 Southern Region Irish Dance Champion.  In 2002, she was a recipient of the National Foundation of the Arts Astral Career Award for choreography. In 2004, Nicola was awarded the title "Master of Irish Dance" and certification as a qualified Irish dance teacher (TCRG). In February 2014, she was elected as the first Secretary of the USA Branch of Comhdhail na Muinteoiri le Rinci Gaelacha Teoranta, otherwise known as An Comhdhail - The Congress of Irish Dance Teachers.  Nicola currently serves on the preliminary adjudication panel for the Presidential Scholar in the Arts Program sponsored by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA).  She is also the Master Irish Dance teacher for the program. In addition to teaching Irish Dance at the Breffni Academy, Nicola teaches dance at the University of Miami as an adjunct professor.
© Breffni Academy of Irish Dance 2017
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