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o'riley irish dance


Jackie founded, directs, and teaches O'Riley Irish Dance, a one-of-a-kind non-competitive Irish dance program for kids and teens, now in it's 14th year.  The classes emphasize dancing as a joyful, social activity rather than a competitive one.  Although each class addresses developing rhythm, timing, and technique, first and foremost the emphasis is on musicality: understanding the connection between music and dance, developing a listening ear, and trying to keep the music in the dancing. In the advanced level, students collaborate with live musicians. Students learn a mix of traditional step dancing, sean-nós dance, and set dancing, as well as some soft shoe and ceili dancing. Most importantly, Jackie is trying to pass onto her dancers not just the steps themselves, but the joy and vitality of carrying on this living tradition.  

OID Summer Camp 2024 - Registration open!

OID Summer Camp - Jul 22-26, 2024

Join us for a fun, inclusive, and unique week of non-competitive Irish dance!  Dancers in our half-day camp will learn a variety of solo steps and group dances in an environment focused on community, musicality, and joy.  We'll be incorporating live music, games &  songs, as well arts & crafts.  Our week will culminate in a mini-performance for friends and family on Fri Jul 26 at 11:30am.  

Canadian-American Club, Watertown

July 22-26, 9:30am-12pm

Group A: Beginner Irish Dance ($240)

Ages 5-8 or those with 1 year or less of Irish dance.  This is a great opportunity to try out Irish dance for a week, in a supportive, fun environment.  No special shoes are required, and dancers will work on a beginning repertoire of foundational Irish dance steps.

Instructor: Claudia Castro

Group B: Continuing Irish Dance ($240)

Ages 8+ or those with 2 or more years of Irish dance.  In this group, the focus will be on improving technique and timing, while also expanding the dancers' repertoire of steps.  

Instructor: Hannah DeRusha

End-of-year Performance May 19 - Tickets

Wednesdays in Watertown

Canadian-American Club

Jan 17 - May 15, no class 2/21, 4/17

4:10-4:55pm: Beginner Irish Dance ($298)

Ages 5-8 or those with 1 year or less of Irish dance 

Instructor: Samantha Jones

5-5:55pm: Advanced Beginner Irish Dance ($304)

Ages 8-11, or those with 1-2 years of Irish dance 

Instructor: Hannah DeRusha

5-6:25pm: Continuing Irish Dance Ages 10+ ($320)

Ages 10+ or those with 3+ years of Irish dance

Instructor: Samantha Jones

6-7:25pm: Intermed/Adv Irish Dance ($320)

For teens

Instructor: Jackie O'Riley

Saturdays in Cambridge

The Dance Complex

Session II (Registration Open)

Saturdays Mar 30-May 18, no class 4/13, 4/27

9:30-10:25am: Beginner Irish Dance ($114)

Ages 5+ or those with 1 year or less of Irish dance.  Open to those who completed Saturday Session I.  Please email Jackie if you weren't in Session I.

Instructor: Samantha Jones

Session I (Registration closed)

Saturdays Jan 6 - Mar 23, no class 2/17

9:30-10:25am: Beginner Irish Dance ($219)

Ages 5+ or those with 1 year or less of Irish dance.  

Instructor: Eve Sheridan

Wednesdays in Canton

Irish Cultural Center

Spring dates coming shortly!

Instructor: Jackie O'Riley

$/$ ICC Members

3:45-4:45pm: Continuing Irish Dance

For dancers 10+ or those with 2.5+ years of experience.

To register online visit

For questions, email

Class Descriptions

Beginner Irish Dance

Dancers with 0-1.5 years of experience especially welcome. Join us as we explore a beginner repertoire of jigs and reels, while focusing on the joy and musicality of Irish dance. New students welcome throughout the semester.

Advanced Beginner Irish Dance

Dancers with 1.5-2 years of experience especially welcome, or new beginners 8 and over.  Join us as we continue to build fundamentals and a repertoire of jigs and reels, while focusing on the joy and musicality of Irish dance. New students welcome throughout the semester.

Contining Irish Dance

For dancers with 3 or more years of experience, we'll dig more deeply into rhythm, timing, and technique, and continue building our repertoire of traditional step dance, sean-nós dance, and set (social) dancing. Occasional live music in class, and opportunities to perform and dance out in the community!

Senior/Teen Irish Dance

For experienced dancers, we'll work on a mixture of traditional repertoire and new choreography. Dancers will find their musical ear challenged, and enjoy creating together.  Performing and live music are both elements of this level.  

Class with our uilleann piper
Sharing tunes in class_
Performing with the Barra MacNeils
End-of-Year Performance


Performance Group

The O'Riley Irish Dance Performance Group was started as a project to challenge the more experienced dancers to develop a different skill set, including working with live music, developing improvisation skills, and helping to create choreography.  It also has provided them an outlet to share their hard work and passion with others.  The result has been a tight-knit group that has developed an intuitive rapport with each other on-stage and off.  Memorable performances to date include dancing with the Barra-MacNeils at the Chevalier Theater in Medford, MA 2015, dancing and as part of a Kieran Jordan production titled "Little Gifts" in Cambridge, MA, 2016, and self-produced shows including "The Next Step" in 2017 and "In Harmony" in 2018!

In 2022, we performed as part of the Boston Comedy's Saint Patrick's Day Extravaganza at the Somerville Theater, and in 2023 we presented new work at the Dance Complex Teaching Artists' Concert.

To book our performance group, email


The wonderful Hannah DeRusha has been instrumental in carrying on and developing the programming for our younger students, for over 10 years.  Hannah is a lifelong Irish dancer. She grew up competing with the Griffith Academy and performed for several years with the Griffith Celtic Dance Company. Since moving to Boston, Hannah has studied old-style step and sean-nós dancing with Kieran Jordan and others. She has also performed with Kieran Jordan Dance, the MIT Dance Troupe, and most recently with Rising Step. Her choreography has been showcased at many regional venues and festivals, including the Boston Celtic Music Festival. Hannah holds a degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from MIT and a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from BU. She has been teaching Irish Dance to children and adults for over fifteen years! She also has a background in improv comedy, which she has been integrating with dance for teaching and performing purposes. She has produced a week-long Irish dance theater camp where students were in charge of all aspects of production, from choreography to sets to costumes. Her mission is to give children the tools to practice agency and express their thoughts and emotions through movement, to connect joyfully and thoughtfully with audiences, and to foster a greater appreciation of the natural world around (and inside) us. 

Joining us for the second year, Samantha Jones is versed in various forms of Irish dance, including step dancing, sean-nós, Set and céilí dancing. She took her first dance steps in ballet and tap at the Groton Community Center in Connecticut, taking up Irish dancing in her teens with Spirited Soles Irish Dance in Waterford, CT. She returned to Irish dance as an adult, inspired by the joyful and musical dancing of Kieran Jordan, with whom she subsequently studied old-style step dancing and sean-nós dance. She has since taken workshops and lessons with a myriad of dancers in Ireland and North America in solo and social styles of Irish dance. In addition to Kieran, she counts Kevin Doyle, Donny Golden, Patrick O’Dea, and Michael Tubridy among her influences. Sam has several years of experience teaching dance, music, and theater to children and adults. She recently completed her doctorate in ethnomusicology at Harvard University where she focused her research on the musicality and transmission of non-competitive solo Irish dancing in Boston.

Eve Sheridan is an Irish dancer from Galway, Ireland. She began dancing when she was 5 years old at the Hession school and competed for many years winning regional titles, World and All-Ireland medals in both solo and team dancing. As a young dancer she always dreamed of joining a professional show and this became a reality when she joined the cast of Celtic Legends in 2018. Since then, she has performed with Rhythm of the Dance, Danceperados of Ireland and the Fusion Fighters to audiences across Europe, Asia and the US. She is very excited to be teaching this beginners class at the Dance Complex and looks forward to sharing her love of Irish music and dance with the next generation! 

Shoe Exchange Program

To help offset the costs of buying new shoes for ever-growing young feet, we have a shoe exchange program.  For those that wish to donate their old dancing shoes, I will hold onto them and make them available to others to "rent".  Dancers wishing to rent them will pay a one-time very small donation and use the shoes until they grow out of them.  The money collected is used on something fun for the dancers – live music in class, our holiday party, etc.

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