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In 1988, Margaret Cleary A.D.C.R.G. introduced Irish Dance classes for adults at St. Ambrose Parish Hall in West Hollywood.

The adult group were aptly known as The St. Ambrose Ceili Dancers and grew to be a reputable Irish organization within the Southern California community. They have attained six National titles for ceili dancing.

In 1993, Margaret added classes for children. Classes are now offered for students of all ages and levels. They study the traditional art form of Irish dance (reels, jigs and hornpipes) in both soft and hard shoes. Members of the group qualify every year to represent the Western U.S. region at the World Championships held annually at Easter in Ireland. Dancers perform regularly at events throughout the Southland and have appeared many times on local and national television as well as Irish TV (RTE). Cleary Irish Dance is proud to perpetuate the traditions and culture of Ireland in Los Angeles.



Margaret Cleary SDCRG
Director / 2014 Irish Woman
of the Year

Margaret Cleary was born in London of Irish parents (Tipperary and Kerry), the eldest of five girls, all champion dancers. She commenced dancing at the age of 8, and during her competitive years won countless solo championships, including All-England title and All-Ireland awards. She was a member of the Kavanagh senior figure dance team that were World Champions three consecutive years. Margaret attained her teaching accreditation (TCRG) with the Irish Dancing Commission in Dublin in 1976 and subsequently taught children in London whilst studying for her B.A. in Business at a London university.

In 1984, Margaret moved to Los Angeles. In 1988, she resumed Irish dancing by offering classes for adults. Children’s classes were added in 1993. In addition to teaching both adults and children’s classes, Margaret is in constant demand to adjudicate Irish dance competitions throughout North America, has judged National events as well as overseas including the World Championships in Ireland. She has undertaken numerous choreography assignments for TV, film and commercials and has worked very closely with the Disney Corporation on various projects. In 1994, Margaret Cleary was recognized for her contributions to the Irish community in Southern California by Mayor Richard Riordan, as an Irish Honoree of the Year. In 2002 and 2003, Margaret had the honor of teaching at the most prestigious of Irish summer schools in the U.S., Gaelic Roots in Boston College.  In 2005, Margaret successfully achieved the status of Irish Dancing Commission Examiner, one of 8 in North America, 32 worldwide. She has served six terms as an executive board member of the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America (IDTANA); three terms in the position of Western US Regional Director for the IDTANA and is currently a Vice President of An Coimisiun le Rince Gaelacha.

Margaret Cleary resides in Los Angeles near daughter, Katie.  Katie too was a champion dancer and now teaches with Margaret as a qualified ADCRG. Cleary Irish Dance is a family run business and all dancers are welcomed as members of The Cleary Irish Dance family.

Katie Dean Website pic.jpg
Katie Dean ADCRG

Katie Dean was born into Irish dancing, and took to the activity quickly. Katie competed in her first competition at just 3 years old and continued on competitively passing through beginner and intermediate grades quickly. She won her first championship at age 5, and by age 8 won the Western US Regional Championships.

Katie went on to compete at the national and international level with great success. She performed with many well-known Irish bands, such as The Chieftans and Cherish the Ladies, and in several productions at esteemed venues such as the Hollywood Bowl and the El Capitan Theatre. In 2010 she attained her TCRG certification, while still a full time student. Katie graduated from the University of Rochester with a dual degree in Political Science and History. She recently achieved her adjudication certification and is actively teaching with Cleary Irish Dance.

Erin Armstrong TCRG

Erin started Irish dancing at age 4 after seeing a video of the hit show Riverdance. A Sierra Madre native, Erin started with Cleary Irish Dance in the Pasadena location and her career and love of dancing took off from there. 

Over a 20 year career, Erin's competitive highlights include winning 5 Western US Regional Titles, placing Top 3 in North America individually, winning 2 National Titles with her team, and winning 4 World Medals at the World Irish Dance Championships. Erin continued her love of dancing by joining the cast of the professional dance show Raglan Road at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL and is scheduled to tour New Zealand this year with the show Celtic Illusions. 


Erin has a degree in Kinesiology from California State University Long Beach, is a certified personal trainer and, recently recently attained her TCRG certification with honors. When she's not touring the world, Erin can be found back home in the Cleary studio. 

Izzy Taulli TCRG

Izzy started dancing at 5 years old, and her love for dancing only grew from there.


With Team Cleary by her side, Izzy has won a North American Title, 2 Western US Regional Titles, and placed top 15 at the World Irish Dance Championships, earning her two World Medals individually. She also holds multiple top 3 placements at the World Championships, 6 World Medals, and a National Title with her team.


Izzy is currently a full-time student at UCLA and recently passed her TCRG certification with honors. She is thrilled to be teaching with Cleary Irish Dance.

Claire Galea TCRG

Claire began Irish dancing at 6 years old with Cleary Irish Dance at the Santa Monica studio. She excelled quickly representing the Western US Region at the World Championships in both solo and team competitions. Claire was a member of two National Championship winning teams and holds several World Medals with her teammates as well. 

In 2019 Claire graduated from Notre Dame Academy in Los Angeles and accepted a place at Southern Methodist University to study medicine. She is a recipient of the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America National Merit Scholarship. 


Claire recently passed her TCRG certification while studying full-time at SMU. We are always happy to welcome her home at the Cleary studio. 


"Erin has been taking dance lessons at Cleary Irish Dance since she was 4. Maggie and Katie have taken such good care of her supporting and promoting her growth. they have helped to make this a truly enjoyable experience for her."



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