Carol Leavy Joyce – Producer & Choreographer
Carol is a teacher, adjudicator and grade Examiner of Irish Dance. During her dancing career she has won three World titles, three All Ireland titles and nine Ulster titles and danced with The Roddy School of Irish dance.
During her eight-year career with Riverdance she was Irish Dance Director, Assistant Director and also contributed new choreography to the show. In 2003, she was part of the Creative Team who staged the show in the Great Hall of the People in China and also in 2003 she arranged the Riverdance line of one hundred dancers as part of the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games in Croke Park in Dublin.
Carol was Irish dance choreographer on The Pirate Queen, a new musical by Boublil and Schönberg, which had its Broadway premiere in 2007. Her work on the show, in collaboration with Graciela Daniele, received an Outer Critics Award nomination. She was choreographer on the Japanese version of The Pirate Queen that premiered at The Imperial Theatre Tokyo in November 2009, Choreographer on the Norwegian production that premiered in Kolboten in Oslo in 2015 and in 2012 she choreographed an Irish production for SONG musical group which played at An Táin Arts centre in Dundalk.
In 2008, she co-created, choreographed and produced with Michael Patrick Gallagher The Rising Step, an Irish dance show telling the story of dance which ran for two summer seasons in An Grianan Theatre, Co. Donegal. Carol graduated in 2011 with an Honours Master’s degree in Ethnochoreology from the University of Limerick.
She established her own dance school in Co. Louth in 2010 and in 2015 one of her students Diarmuid MacShane won the boys under 11 World titile in Montreal. Carol is originally from Ardee but now lives in Blackrock Co. Louth with her husband Kevin and their two sons Feidhlem and Ruadhán.
Carol Leavy Joyce T.C.R.G. BG. C.R.G. MA
Michael Patrick Gallagher – Choreographer
Two-time World Champion and five-time All Ireland Champion Michael Patrick learned to dance under the tutelage of Anne Kerr and the Aodh Rua School of Irish Dance in Donegal. While studying law at Queens University in Belfast a decision to go and audition for Riverdance was to change his life. He joined the show in 1996 and within a year was chosen to become the male lead dancer of the Lagan Company. He was to tour with Riverdance for over 7 years and in that time appeared on several TV commercials and the hit show ‘Dancing with the Stars’. He toured extensively in Europe, North America and Asia and developed a love for travel that he still enjoys to this day.
When he finished touring with Riverdance one of the first things he did was to take his TCRG exam. Soon after that he had the privilege to perform in The Shaugraun at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. In late 2004 an opportunity arose in Phoenix, AZ to open up his own dance school and he has made Arizona his home ever since. He qualified as an ADCRG in 2009. In 2014 he completed a Masters in Ethnochoreology at the University of Limerick and hopes to return in the near future to embark on a PhD there.
Áine McGeeney – Music Composer
Áine, from the Shore road, Dundalk, graduated with a BA in Irish Music and Dance in Irish Music Performance from the University of Limerick. Áine is a founding member of the traditional group Goitse and has captured the hearts of Irish music fans all over the world. She has toured extensively and has recored five critically acclaimed albums with the group.
Singing both in the English and Irish Language, she has been described as having “A Voice of an Angel” and was awarded “Female Vocalist of 2016” by the irish American News. Combined with her energenic, high octane fiddle playing, she is now one of the leading young musicians in Irish music today. As a result, her teaching skills have been highly sought and has resulted in her giving workshops in both fiddle and vocals all around the world. Her musical talents have lead her to tour the world as lead Fiddle player with several dance shows including Michael Flatley’s world famous “Lord of the Dance”.
Áine has also established herself as a highly regarded composer with many of her compositions featuring on several albums to date. She was commissioned to compose a suite of music to commerate the centenary of the 1916 rising, which was performed by the Laois Folk Orchestra. In 2018, she also composed a suite to recognise the passing of the 100 years since the end of World War 1.
Ella Clarke – Movement Director
Dance Artist in Residence for Co. Meath, director of Ella Clarke Choreography, Ella Clarke graduated as Artist of the Federation of Russian Republics in 1993 from Perm State Choreographic Institute, Russia.
Ella has performed for CoisCeim Dance Theatre, Scottish Dance Theatre, 2nd Nature Dance Company (Austria), Liz Roche Dance Company (formerly Rex Levitates), Dance Theatre of Ireland, DGOS, Wexford Festival Opera, The Abbey Theatre, Siren Productions and Genesis Collective.
Her choreographies include the 2008 Irish Times Theatre Award Best Production winner Phaedra’s Love, A Midsummers Night Dream and Anatomy of a Seagull for Loose Canon Theatre Company, Only an Apple, Comedy of Errors, Big Love, Romeo & Juliet and Woman and Scarecrow for The Abbey Theatre, Wedding Day of the Cro-Magnons for Bedrock, Macbeth, Shutter and Titus Andronicus for Siren Productions, Adaptation of a Meeting and Behindtheeyeliesbone for Myriad Dance Company, Don Gregorio and Transformations for Wexford Festival Opera and Sweeney Todd for The Gate Theatre, 100 feet (dance film) for Projects Arts Centre and most recently The Fall for Ella Clarke Choreography.
Between 2004 and 2011, Ella co-founded and directed Genesis Project and Collective, a practise-based project for radicalisation in the art form of dance with centres of practice in Dublin, Philadelphia, Brooklyn and L.A. She has adapted and performed four of eminent experimental choreographer Deborah Hay’s solo works and commissioned, produced and performed her trio A Lost Opera with Genesis Collective.
Specialising in foundational dance for non-dancers, structural awareness training and contact work, Ella has been teaching dance at DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama since 2002.
Sebastian Pizarro – Lighting Design
Sebastian started his career in Spain working at cinema production “Le Pettite Regne” in 2007. He graduated in “Production for Thearte, TV and Cinema” at “Garcia Berlanga” and “Ciudad de la Luz Studios” with outstanding grades that granted him a sponsorship from the EU that brought him to Dublin, Ireland. Since then he has been working as a Lighting Technician and Lighting Designer.
His most recent designs include, “Boy With a Suitcase” (Barnstorm Theatre), “In Vena Cava” (Ella Clarke Choreography), “Return of Spring” & “A Winter Wish: (Ceol Connected), “Conversations Across Time” (Dubleworld), ‘The Drowned World” Collaboration with Shara Jane (The Lir Academy) “Someone to Watch Over Me” Collaboration with Ciaran Bagnall (Decedant Theatre), “Miles Away Beside You” (Starting Point(e) Dance)
Jason Byrne – Visual Set Design
Jason Byrne is the Artistic Director of Loose Canon Theatre Company, founded in Dublin, Ireland in 1996. Jason most recently directed at the Shaw Festival Theatre in Toronto directing a critically acclaimed production of Tom Murphy’s adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.
As Loose Canon Theatre Company’s artistic director, Jason has directed The Maids by Jean Genet, Julius Caesar, The Revenger’s Tragedy, Measure for Measure, The Duchess of Malfi, The Spanish Tragedy, Coriolanus (for which he received a Ford Sunday Independent Spirit of Life Award), The White Devil, Hamlet, In the Dark Air of a Closed Room, Macbeth (winner of Best Production Dublin Fringe 2001), Hedda Gabler, Fragments of a Dead Performance (nominated Sexiest Production Dublin Fringe 2003), Medea (a work in progress), h (an original performance based on Hamlet and The Orestia (nominated for a Special Judge’s Award Irish Times Theatre Awards 2005) and Waterfront Wasteland Medea Material Landscape with Argonauts. Recently, Jason directed Phaedra’s Love for Loose Canon Theatre Company at the Project Arts Centre, Dublin.
Additional theatre credits include A Piece of Monologue, Not I, What Where by Samuel Beckett (Bedrock); Wall of Cloud by Raymond Deane (Opera Theatre Company); A Whistle in the Dark by Tom Murphy (Company Theatre, Toronto); Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Turgenev’s A Month in the Country in a version by Brian Friel, Judas of the Gallarus by Donal O’ Kelly, Living Quarters by Brian Friel, Treehouses by Elizabeth Kuti and Observatory by Daragh Carville (Abbey Theatre). Jason was staff director at the Abbey Theatre from 1988 to 2000.
Lauren Smyth – Additional Choreography
Born in Co.Down, Northern Ireland, Lauren started dancing at the age of four with the Festival tradition of Irish dance. This tradition of dance is mainly based in Ulster. Throughout her competitive career Lauren won many regional championships with the St. Patrick’s School including the Ulster and Northern Ireland titles numerous times. She transferred to the Reilly School of Irish dance in her late teens where her success in competition continued.
Touring the world following her passion had always been Lauren’s dream and in 2007 she joined the Irish dance show Rhythm of the Dance where she toured the world extensively performing the lead role for three years.
In 2010 she then went on to fulfill her life long ambition by joining Riverdance. Lauren is the first female from the Festival tradition to become a principle dancer with the show and has been proudly leading the troupe touring around the world since 2011. The highlight of her career to date was when she stepped out on stage as the principle female in Belfast’s Odyssey Arena to a sell out home crowd in 2014.