Columbus Celtic Dancers is an organization of adult Irish step dancers in Columbus, Ohio. We are dedicated to preserving and promoting Irish culture through the art of traditional Irish step dancing. Members attend weekly classes to learn and enjoy group and solo dancing. Dancers participate for many reasons: to take part in an Irish cultural tradition, exercise, compete, perform, and/or to just have fun.
The Columbus Celtic Dancers was founded with the assistance of the late Ann Richens, a world-renowned dance teacher, choreographer and adjudicator of Irish dancing. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Richens immigrated at twenty and eventually grew a Dayton studio into the Richens/Timm Academy of Irish Dance with several locations. Ann trained 49 regional champions, 11 North American champions, and a dozen performers in Riverdance and Lord of the Dance.
Since Ann’s death in 2011, Allanda O’Neill, an instructor with the Richens/Timm Academy, has graciously stepped in to become the new instructor and choreographer for the Columbus Celtic Dancers. Allanda competed in the World Championships 7 times while training at the Richens/Timm Academy. She retired from competition in 1998 and studied with Lord of the Dance in London. Jessica Sweet, also of the Richens/Timm Academy, assists Allanda with our classes.
Adults who are new to Irish step dancing are first taught the basic foot movements common to all traditional Irish step dancing. These are known as “sevens” and “threes.” Beginners then learn to use these steps in group dances for 2-8 people, called ceili (KAY-lee) dances. In the beginning year, students usually learn a two-hand jig, a two- or three-hand reel, and several traditional ceili dances. Advanced dancers may go on to learn solo steps in both soft and hard shoes.