The Seattle Irish Dance Company is made up of gregarious, free-spirited, technically outstanding professional dancers. While the Seattle Irish Dancers maintain a love for the music and dance of Irish culture, they effortlessly blend traditional rhythm with contemporary elements. As former competitive champions and current professional performers, the Seattle Irish Dancers are uniquely able to bridge the gap between technical skill and the love of dance performance.

SeattleIrishDanceCompany

Claire McNellan

Co-Dance Captain; Social Media manager

Claire began Irish dancing at age five, with the encouragement of her Dublin-native mother, who had no idea she was effectively starting a lifelong obsession for Claire (oops). Competing with the McTeggart school in Colorado, she qualified to compete at the World Irish Dancing Championships multiple times, placed as high as top three in the Western region, and competed in Ireland, Scotland, and throughout North America. Despite a successful competitive career, Claire is happiest when performing in non-competitive spheres. Over the years, she has performed in countless variety shows, plays, and musicals--including performances with The Chieftains at The Paramount Theater in Denver. When Claire discovered Seattle Irish Dance Company, she knew she'd found kindred souls.


Claire holds a Master's degree in Global Health from the University of Washington, and studied Neuroscience at Colorado College, where she completed her thesis on the effect dancing has on the brain. She currently works at the National CASA Association, and spends her free time writing a zine about feminist data analysis. Claire co-directs rehearsals and performances, serving as an artistic associate and dance captain for SIDC.


Sylvie Render

Co-Dance Captain

As a young aspiring ballerina, Sylvie discovered Irish dancing and was completely mesmerized. She knew she had found her calling, and thus worked tirelessly to convince her parents that Irish dancing was of course the most appropriate hobby for a nice Jewish girl. Thank goodness she succeeded. Training with the Mullane-Healy-Godley Academy in Chicago, Sylvie went on to compete at regional, national, and international competitions as both a soloist and as part of ceili and figure teams. As a transplant to Seattle, Sylvie has found a second family in the Seattle Irish Dance Company. She couldn't be more excited to continue to perform and share her passion for Irish dance with the Seattle area.

Sylvie holds a BA in Psychology and an MS in Speech Language Pathology, both from Vanderbilt University. When not dancing, she works as a speech-language pathologist at Seattle Children's Hospital. Sylvie co-directs rehearsals and performances, serving as an artistic associate and dance captain for SIDC.



Kristina Gallant

Director of Finance and Business Development

Kristina started dancing at age eleven with the Comerford School of Irish Dance in Seattle, and quickly discovered a passion for Irish dance. Kristina competed successfully throughout the Northwest with Comerford, and took a break from competition while attending school at Western Washington University. Kristina returned to competition in 2017 and successfully achieved a lifelong goal of medaling in the senior ladies bracket at the Western Region Oireachtas in November of 2018. Kristina has been with the Seattle Irish Dance Company since 2013, and has performed with the company across the Northwest and Hawaii.  


Kristina holds a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of Washington, and currently works as an urban planner. When not dancing or planning, she enjoys hiking, snowboarding, biking, and reading. Kristina manages finances and business development for SIDC.


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Emma Kilkelly

Director of external communication

Emma grew up on the coast of New Jersey and began Irish dancing around the age of nine. She has successfully competed nationally and internationally for the last fourteen years. Emma has performed throughout the United States, from Carnegie Hall in New York, NY to Cordiner Hall in Walla Walla, WA.

Emma holds a BA in Environmental Humanities from Whitman College. She currently works in nonprofit communications and development. When she's not practicing for competition or mastering the traditional set dances from CLRG’s YouTube channel, you can find her reading or behind the lens of her Pentax. Emma works as a liaison for SIDC and coordinates the company’s external communication.


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Emi McNellan

Costume Coordinator, Social Media manager

Emi began Irish dancing at a young age thanks to the influence of her already-dance-obsessed mother and sister (see Claire's bio, above). She soon discovered her own love of dance. Emi competed regionally, nationally, and internationally as a soloist, ranked as high as fourth at the Western Region Oireachtas, and achieved a regional title with a 16-person figure choreography team. Some of Emi's favorite memories from her competition days involve training and performing with this figure team, and she is so grateful to have found a team of dancers once again with SIDC. Emi can't wait to continue performing and spreading joy with such a great group of women beside her!

When not dancing, Emi can be found pulling all-nighters as a Neonatal ICU Registered Nurse at UW Medical Center. When she's not at the hospital or sleeping after a shift, she also enjoys yoga, drawing, playing guitar, and cuddling her beloved dog, Luna. Emi coordinates costumes and assists with the social media and artistic direction of SIDC.


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Margery Pulkkinen Negron

Co-Founder


Margery began taking ballet, tap, and jazz classes at a young age. At ten years old, she discovered Irish dance and instantly fell in love. Margery competed with Scoil Rince Slieveloughane in both solos and teams. After retiring from competition, she helped found the Seattle Irish Dance Company in 2012. Even though she doesn't reside in Seattle anymore, she loves every opportunity to perform with the company as there's no greater joy than sharing the same passion with friends, both old and new.


Margery holds a BA in Medical Anthropology & Global Health with a minor in Dance from the University of Washington. She is currently the office manager at Bothell Gymnastics Club. Having always preferred the peace of the mountains, Margery lives in a cabin off the Mountain Loop Highway with her husband and two dogs. She loves going on outdoor adventures, reading, and eating PB&J sandwiches.


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Jillian Pintye

Jillian hails from New Jersey and started dancing with the Denogla School of Irish Dance over 25 years ago. During her early dance career, Jillian competed at the Mid-Atlantic Region Oireachtas, North American, All-Ireland, and World Irish Dance Championships. Jillian met the Seattle Irish Dance Company in 2012 and has performed with the company ever since. Her favorite part of SIDC is bringing joy to audiences by performing onstage with cherished friends who share a passion for Irish dance and music.


Jillian is a Registered Nurse and also holds a Master’s degree and PhD from the University of Washington, where she currently works in the Department of Global Health. When not dancing, she enjoys long-distance running, learning new languages, and attending Seattle Sounders matches.



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Lauren Carroll, TCRG

Lauren started dancing with the Haran Irish Dancers in Spokane, WA at the age of seven, and continued her training in Ireland with the Fleming-Ball Irish Dance Academy. Lauren has competed at the World Championships in both solos and teams, and has won a Munster Medal. Lauren holds a BA in Irish Music and Dance from the University of Limerick in Ireland. She’s worked with many prominent dancers, choreographers, and teachers including Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain, Michael Ryan, Paula Goulding, and Colin Dunne. She has had the chance to experiment with other dance forms including aerial dance, ballet, Cape Briton, and other traditional dance forms while developing her own artistic style.

Lauren owns her own Irish dancing school in the Seattle area and absolutely loves passing on the beautiful tradition to young students. Outside of Irish dance, she also holds an MA in Museology from the University of Washington. She is passionate about creating informal learning environments and is an advocate for the inclusion of the performance arts in museums. During the day, she is the Education Associate for the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, WA. She is excited to continue performing with the Seattle Irish Dance Company.


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jessica lagreid

Jessica began Irish dancing at the age of six with the Deely-Smith School of Irish Dance in the San Francisco Bay Area. She danced competitively at the championship level through her high school years. After graduating from Arizona State University in 2010, she joined the Bracken School in Phoenix, Arizona. While she enjoyed the competitive side of dance, she's always been more passionate about performing, and has additionally explored jazz, modern, ballet, and contemporary dance styles. Jessica moved to Seattle in 2014 and was excited to find Irish dance opportunities in the area. She first joined SIDC in 2016 and is happy to be back dancing with the group after some time away to focus on her career. Jessica teaches children's beginner classes at American Dance Institute and is thrilled to be sharing her passion for Irish dance, especially with those at the beginning of their dance journey. Some of her favorite recent dance memories include attending the Riverdance Summer School in Dublin, Ireland in July 2016 and Boston, MA in July 2017, as well as an Irish Festival Dance workshop in Belfast, Northern Ireland in August 2018.


Jessica has degrees in Sustainability and Marketing and works as an Outreach Associate for Imperfect Produce, a company fighting food waste by rescuing perfectly edible fruits and veggies from going to waste for cosmetic challenges. She loves second hand shopping and spending time with her little rescue dog, Sprout, in the beautiful PNW.


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Kelsi Cunniff

Co-Founder

Kelsi is forever grateful for her mother's decision to enroll her in Irish dance with her older sister, as it has led to a love of over 22 years (and counting) of Irish dance. Kelsi grew up competing at the championship level both regionally and nationally, teaching dance classes, and participating in many performance opportunities. She then took a break from dance to pursue other interests, such as her degree in English Literature and Sociology from the University of Washington. In her early twenties, she returned to competitive Irish dancing, but didn't feel like this was the right outlet. Thankfully, her older sister was also searching for a  technically challenging dance opportunity that wasn't based in competition. Together, and with the help of a few close friends, they created Seattle Irish Dance Company and were able to write their own choreography, build relationships with musicians, book venues, and continue dancing in exactly the way they wanted to.

Kelsi has successfully navigated  living outside of Seattle while still performing with the company- she learns and shares choreography online and is then plugged back into dances come performance time. This has allowed her to pursue other goals while still performing. She currently lives in northern New Mexico where she practices wilderness living skills and ancestral crafts, such as basket making and traditionally tanning buckskin, as well as permaculture, organic gardening, holistic livestock care, and homesteading. She practices dance on a small wooden board on the porch, is trying to teach herself to play the fiddle, is writing a children's book, and is also exploring other forms of percussive dance.


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Hannah Driscoll

Hannah started dancing at the age of eight with the Haran School of Irish Dance in Spokane, Washington. Hannah competed and performed successfully throughout the Northwest with the Haran dancers while also performing with them. Hannah then took a seven-year hiatus before rediscovering her passion for dance with the Seattle Irish Dance Company.



Hannah holds a BA in Economics from the University of Washington, where she also currently attends law school. When she’s not studying or dancing, she enjoys baking, hiking, and traveling.


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Carlye Cunniff

Co-Founder

Carlye has studied Irish dance for more than 20 years, starting her training under teachers Robert Haley and Patti Martig in Olympia, Washington. In addition to her Irish dance training, Carlye has extensive classical ballet training, studying first under Bernhard Johannsen of Ballet Northwest, and later in Vancouver BC under Barbara Bourgeois. Though Carlye was a successful competitive dancer, performing and choreography always had her heart. Carlye has performed with renowned musicians like The Chieftains, Gaelic Storm and Old Blind Dogs. She has toured locally, nationally and internationally. Additionally, Carlye has performed with Kokoro Modern Dance Company out of Vancouver, BC and Ballet Northwest. Carlye founded Seattle Irish Dance Company, which continues to be the only professional performance company for Irish dancers on the West Coast.

Carlye is passionate about dance education, and studied under Anne Green Gilbert, completing the Summer Institute for Teachers focused on Brain Compatible Dance Education. Carlye holds a BA in Sociology from the University of British Columbia, and works as a digital designer. She currently lives with her husband and dog in Edinburgh, Scotland.