Hi There! Thanks for checking out the Seattle Irish Dance Company. We're the only professional Irish dance company based in the Pacific Northwest, and we're excited you're here!

The company was started in 2012 by long-time dance friends Carlye and Kelsi Cunniff, Margery Pulkkinen and Taryn Farley. After successful competitive and performance careers, we created the company to establish something new and exciting in the world of Irish dance and music.

We've since grown to a large group of dancers who rehearse, travel and genuinely love Irish dancing together. We've been overwhelmed by the amount of support we've received from musicians, fans, and other dancers. We're looking forward to what's next! 

We love hearing from the people who keep this company going - you! Please feel free to drop us a line with questions, comments or ideas. 

SeattleIrishDanceCompany

Leadership Team

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Claire McNellan

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 danced 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.

 
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Lauren Carroll, TCRG 

Lauren started dancing with the Haran Irish Dancers in Spokane, WA at the age of 7, 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 Órfhlaith Ní Bhriain, Michael Ryan, Paula Goulding, and Colin Dunne. She had the chance to experiment with other dance forms including Aerial Dance, ballet, Cape Breton and other traditional dance forms while developing her own artistic style. Lauren has performed with An Dóchas and Michael Londra.

Lauren holds a TCRG and has recently opened her own dance school. She's also working on an MA in Museology from the University of Washington. She is excited to continue performing and working on the artistic, performance side of Irish dancing with the Seattle Irish Dance Company.

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Emma Kilkelly

Emma grew up on the coast of New Jersey and began Irish dancing around the age of 9. She has successfully competed nationally and internationally. 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 or acting as a liaison for SIDC, you can find her reading or behind the lens of her Pentax.

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Kristina Gallant

Kristina started dancing at age 11 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, but retired from competition while attending school at Western Washington University. Kristina has been with the Seattle Irish Dance Company since 2013, and has performed with company across the Northwest.  

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.

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Sylvie Render

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 recent 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.

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Robin Barson

Robin is a classically trained dancer, born and raised in Seattle.  She started her dance career with ballet at age three, and has explored a wide variety of styles including jazz, modern, tap, and ballroom.  She found Irish dance at age 10, and soon began competing and performing with Seattle-based Scoil Rince Slieveloughane. Robin has competed nationally and internationally in both solos and with ceili teams, including competing at the World Irish Dancing Championships. Robin continued a rigorous dance education at Mount Holyoke College, exploring history, theory, and technique.  She is thrilled to continue her dance career with Seattle Irish Dance Company.

Robin graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in Political Science.  She has nurtured her passion for public policy through work with political campaigns and in intellectual and developmental disability advocacy.  She currently works on the US Immigration Team at Microsoft.

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Shaina Rae

Shaina discovered a love for Irish Dance at age 12. Shaina competed and performed with the Trinity Irish Dance Academy in Chicago. Shaina found the Seattle Irish Dance Company about a year ago, dusted off her old shoes, and found the same love and excitement that she found as a kid.

When she’s not dancing or making SIDC videos, Shaina works as a hair stylist in Seattle.

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Carlye Cunniff

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 (as an individual and with her company) locally, nationally and internationally. Additionally, Carlye has performed with Kokoro Modern Dance Company out of Vancouver, BC and Ballet Northwest. The Seattle Irish Dance Company, founded by Carlye in 2012, 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 has taught various forms of dance in public schools, after school programs, and pre professional dance academies.Carlye holds a BA in Sociology from the University of British Columbia, and works as a digital designer. She’s most interested in designing websites and marketing  for other dance professionals, to enable them to grow their brands and businesses.