Biography of Dearbhla Fay

Dearbhla began her Irish Dancing career at the age of two, she was guided under the tuition of the McCormack School of Irish Dancing. Her success in her competitive dancing career is unlikely to be beaten having won 13 All-Ireland and International Dance Championships and innumerable Dublin & Leinster titles.

In 1998, she joined the internationally famous Riverdance Show, with which she toured the world many times performing over 2,000 shows. She performed on many TV show and was one of the dancers specially invited to perform on the American TV show 'Ellen', hosted by the famous Ellen DeGeneres. One of her fondest memories was performing with Riverdance at the Opening Ceremony of the 'Special Olympics' in Croke Park, Dublin in June 2003.

She obtained her Irish Dancing Teacher's Diploma in 2005 with An Coimisiun and is presently teaching in Chicago, U.S.A. where she is also lead-dancer and choreographer for the American based 'Celtic Dance Fusion' troupe.

Summary of Qualifications

1988 — 1997: Successfully completed and passed with 1st Class Honours, Grade 1-10 exams.

Summary of Achievements

1987 — 2000: Won all major titles, Female and Mixed with An Comhdhail (Junior-Senior level) including 15 Dublin and Leinster Solo Female Championships consecutively and 13 All-Ireland Dancing & International Solo Championships in the Female section.

This is the current record for the most amount of wins with An Comhdhail.

1997 — 2003: Held Dance Workshops with the Gráinne McCormack School of Irish Dancing and the students won Solo and Figure Championships at Provincial and All-Ireland level.

Professional Experience

  • Female Dance Member with Riverdance - The Show from 1997-Dec2003. Performed at State Banquets, appeared live on American & Australasian Television promoting the show, and was a member of the Opening Ceremony for the World Special Olympics 2003 in Dublin, Ireland.
  • Dearbhla has toured extensively with Riverdance Lagan Company throughout North America, Canada and Mexico, performing over 1000 show with this production between 1998-2002.
  • Dearbhla was requested by Riverdance The Show, to perform as part of the Opening Ceremony Act for the World Special Olympics Games held in Dublin, Ireland in June 2003. The was the largest dance line with over 100 members of the Riverdance troupe performing at this prestigious event in front of 80,000 spectators. Celebrity guests included the President of Ireland, Ms Mary McAleese, Nelson Mandela, Mohammed Ali, Pierce Brosnan and the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger to name but a few.
  • Dearbhla was in charge of the warm-up and muscle control classes for the dance troupe of Riverdance Lagan Company.
  • Dearbhla joined the Riverdance Liffey Company in Sept. 2002. This company toured Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia and China.
  • Female Lead Dancer, Assistant Choreographer for "Celtic Dance Fusion - The Show" in the Olympia Theatre, Dublin. The Show was a celebration of Gráinne McCormack's 40 years of teaching Irish Dancing and it took place in October 2003. Over 250 pupils performed on the night.
  • By special invitation from Bord Failte (The Tourist Board of Ireland) and British Airways, Dearbhla toured Finland and China. Performed at State functions and as Female Lead Dancer and my responsibilities included the choreography and rehearsals with the troupe.
  • Danced with The Chieftains as guest artist in Europe and U.S.A.
  • Lead Dancer with a touring Riverdance type show in Asia by request from Michael Flathley. Performed for State Openings and Presidential Ceremonies.
  • Female Leader dancer, Choreographer and assistant coordinator for "Dance of the Night" with 18 dancers and the Belfast Harp Orchestra. Performances were at the Heineken Music Center Arena, Amsterdam, Holland.
  • Assistant Dance Female Choreographer for "100% Pure Irish Dance - The Show" held in the Olympia Theatre, Dublin. The show was held in May '00.
  • Female Lead dancer, Choreographer for 18 dancers and musicians at the Reims Festival France.
  • Group Leader, co-organiser and musician for 40 Irish dancers from the Gráinne McCormack School of Irish Dancing to participate in St. Maixent Festival, France.
  • Female Lead Dancer and assistant Choreographer with Gráinne McCormack & Fergal Fay School of Irish. Dancing touring Ireland, Europe, Asia and N. America.


Additional Professional Activities

  • Held various workshops for all ages to start their dancing careers, to improve their dancing techniques and prepare them for their Teacher's and Adjudicators Diplomas. These workshops have taken me to many dance schools throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom. Incorporated in these workshops are exercises and proper stretching techniques used by professional athletes, sports therapists and physiotherapists.
  • Dearbhla provides private tuition to dance students. This allows me to correct and improve dance routines on a one to one basis.
  • My classes are not limited to Irish Dancing. I have also held workshops in Ballet, Modern and Tap Dance.
  • For adult lessons, I also teach the most popular dance form which is Ceil Dancing (otherwise known as Set Dancing). These classes are fun for the dancers and are very good for keeping fit.
  • Dearbhla has choreographed special dance pieces/routines for dancers to perform at weddings, birthday parties and corporate functions.