FAMILY RUN FOR OVER 35 YEARS
In 1988, Margaret Cleary S.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 / Irish Woman of the Year
Margaret Cleary was born in London of Irish parents, the eldest of five girls, all champion dancers. She first studied under Joan Long in Dublin and later the legendary Ted Kavanagh in Derry. She won countless competitive solo awards, including All England and All Ireland titles. She was privileged to be a member of the Kavanagh senior figure dance team during a three-year run as World Champions. After earning her TCRG in 1976, Margaret began her Irish dance teaching career in London while completing her degree in business at university. Margaret moved to Los Angeles in 1984, and by 1988, she offered her first dance lessons in the United States to adults at St. Ambrose in West Hollywood. By 1993, she expanded her classes to children and established Cleary Irish Dance. Over the last 30 years, Margaret Cleary has shared her love of dance with thousands of people of all ages, always confident in her belief that “if you can walk, you can dance.” Under her instruction, Cleary dancers have won National and International titles, including World Championships titles and Medals, North American Championships, and All Ireland titles. Margaret has chaired numerous regional Oireachtasi, National Championships, and over 60 local feiseanna in Southern California, including hosting the St. Ambrose Fall Feis for over 30 years.
In addition to teaching, Margaret has traveled to dozens of countries over five continents as an ambassador and adjudicator for Irish dance. She currently serves as an SDCRG examiner, is a member of the CLRG examination authority (Udaras), and is Vice President of the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America (IDTANA). She has dedicated countless hours to the Western US Region and IDTANA in various official capacities.
Margaret has worked tirelessly to promote and strengthen the Irish community in Los Angeles. From fairs to fundraisers, honoree banquets to parades, Cleary Irish Dance has been integral in the celebration of Irish culture in Southern California. Her dancers have performed in venues throughout the area, including the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Hollywood Bowl, Disneyland, television and film appearances on major networks, and museum cultural days. In recognition of her service, Mayor Richard Riordan named Margaret Irish Honoree of the Year in 1994, and in 2014, Los Angeles City Hall declared her the Irish Woman of the Year. She was recently awarded the Gradam Award by An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha for her lifetime contribution to Irish Dance, and she continues to actively teach at Cleary Irish Dance.
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.
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.
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 attained her TCRG certification with honors. When she's not touring the world, Erin can be found back home in the Cleary studio.
Hunter Grenier TCRG
Hunter started Irish Dancing at 3 years old after seeing Riverdance on stage. From there, her love of dancing grew into a 20-year-long competitive career.
Her highlights include three top 5 placements at the Western US Championships, 4 World Championship Qualifications, numerous Regional and National titles in team dancing, and multiple world medals with her team.
Hunter has a degree from Biola University in Broadcast Journalism and recently passed her TCRG with honors. She is currently a reporter at Channel 4 in Oklahoma City and loves traveling home to the Cleary studio.
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, where she recently graduated. She is a recipient of the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America National Merit Scholarship.
Claire 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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