The Sheeaun Academy of Irish Dance (SAID) was started by Moira Speer-Warren in 2008 and is now one of New England’s top Irish step dancing schools. We offer classes along the shoreline – from Westport, Connecticut to Westerly, Rhode Island – for Beginner through Champion dancers ages three and up. The word Sheeaun (pronounced she-on), means ‘a fairy hill’ in Gaelic. Sheeaun is a mountain in County Leitrim, Ireland, where her ancestors are from.
The Sheeaun Academy’s mission is to share our experience and love of Irish Step Dancing with children and adults of every age and level. Whether a dancer chooses to compete, or simply dance for fun, we believe in a supportive and positive atmosphere where they will feel encouraged and confident. If a dancer chooses to compete at SAID, we will provide everything they need to be successful at every level based on our experience, commitment, and dedication, and we expect the same commitment and dedication in return. We are devoted to promoting our Irish culture and instilling the love of dance in our students the way it was instilled in us as children. We want our students to learn strength, discipline, stamina, and confidence through competing and performing, and most importantly, we want them to love dance and have fun!
SAID is proud to have four wonderful TCRGs, all former champion Irish dancers. Since opening in 2008 we have grown to over 100 students and it has been more rewarding than any of us could’ve imagined. We are extremely proud of our dancer’s many team and solo accomplishments on a regional and national level, as well as their outstanding live performances and television appearances. Of all the awards and achievements over the years, the thing that we are most proud of is watching our SAID family continue to grow. The camaraderie, sportsmanship, team spirit, and love that our students and families demonstrate fill us with immeasurable pride and joy, and the friendships that they continue to form with each other will no doubt last a lifetime…just like their teachers!
What To Wear
Please make sure students are dressed and ready – shoes double knotted, hair pulled back, etc. – before they come into class.
Dancers may choose any of the following SAID logowear items for class:
Shorts (Boys mesh, UA compression, or ladies flannel)
Tanks (Black or White)
Any SAID T-Shirt (Worlds, O, etc.)
Girls should wear poodle socks and ghillies which can be purchased through the school, and hair of any length should be pulled back out of the face. Boys should wear black jazz shoes which may also be purchased through the school.
We do not offer refunds or credits if a student misses a class, however, they are more than welcome to make up the class on another day at any of our locations. Check with Moira for appropriate days and times. You will be notified by e-mail no later than 2PM if class is cancelled due to inclement weather. If you do not receive an e-mail, you may assume that we do have class. Remember: we do not follow public or private school closings so we may still have class even if school is cancelled! In the event that class is cancelled for any other unforeseen circumstance, you will receive an E-mail and a phone call. Any missed classes will be made up at the end of our Spring Session in June.
Please e-mail us for registration and tuition info. Tuition is due by the first day of each session in September (fall), December (winter), and March (spring). An annual registration fee of $30 per student/$45 per family is due for new students, and in September for existing students. Payments may be mailed with your registration form to: 71 School St. Fairfield, CT 06824.
Parents are kindly asked to wait outside during class as it is a distraction to the students. We have a small show for family and friends at the end of each session when parents will be invited in to observe at the end of each class. Our annual recital is held in June.
Moira, Frank, Michelle, and Kathleen are all registered teachers with An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha in Dublin, Ireland, as well as the Irish Dance Teachers Association of New England and North America.
Moira Speer-Warren, TCRG
Moira began Irish step dancing at the age of four and was dancing competitively at age six. After receiving awards at many local Feisanna, she started competing at a championship level in both solo and ceili competitions. Throughout her career, she has received numerous awards in Regional, National, and International Championship competitions, most notably receiving first place in the New England Oireachtas (region) and medaling at the World Championships. Irish dancing has taken her across the country, as well as to Ireland, England, and Scotland.
In addition to competing, she has performed in shows throughout her dancing career, including performances with Eileen Ivers, formerly of ‘Riverdance’, Cherish the Ladies, Ronan Tynan of the Irish Tenors, and Hal Roach, as well as numerous local and national television appearances. For over ten years, Moira enjoyed assisting in classes teaching both solo and ceili dancing to children and adults of every level. She retired from competition after nineteen years to pursue her career in teaching and received her T.C.R.G. (teacher’s certificate) in 2007. Moira began the Sheeaun Academy in 2008 and is extremely grateful to be able to do what she loves every day, especially alongside three of her best friends.
Frank Rupp, TCRG
Since the age of 7, Frank has been Irish Dancing both competitively and in shows throughout the northeast. Since his first Oireachtas in 1996, Frank has competed on a local, national and international scale. His most notable achievements include winning 1st place in the New England Regional Championships in 2005 and 2006, and medaling at the North American Championships twice. He qualified for the World Championships five times, and enjoyed traveling to Belfast twice and once to Ennis for the competition.
While Frank’s experience with solo and ceili competitions have shaped his work ethic and team mentality, it is through the various performances at festivals and other events that he came to love the sport. He joined Moira in the performances mentioned above, and has choreographed multiple numbers for use in the Fairfield County Irish Festivals as well as other recitals and shows. In addition to choreography, he has been developing his ceili and solo teaching skills with students aged three through seventy for the last 6 years. Frank graduated from Fordham University’s College of Business Administration in May 2010. He received his T.C.R.G. in November, 2010 and looks forward to continuing his teaching career with the Sheeaun Academy.
Michelle Bonina, TCRG
Michelle was signed up for Irish Dancing lessons – by her grandmother – at the age of four and began attending local competitions by the age of five. During her competitive career, Michelle competed at the New England Oireachtas, the North American, Great Britain and World Championships. Michelle earned top placements at the Regional and National level and qualified for the World Championships six consecutive years from 2001 through 2006. These renowned competitions took her all across the country as well as overseas to Ireland, England, and Scotland.
Outside of the competitive aspect of the sport, Michelle loved performing in countless shows and festivals throughout her dancing career. Michelle graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a BA in Communication Studies and Leadership in 2010 and went on to receive her T.C.R.G. in 2011. She proudly joins the Sheeaun Academy backed by years of training and dedication with hopes to pass on her passion for Irish Dance to students young and old.
Kathleen Devore, TCRG
Kathleen began taking Irish step dancing classes at age four and soon entered her first feis. After success at many local feisanna, she entered her first New England Regional Oireachtas at age six. Through years of training and dedication, she worked her way to Open Championship, the highest and most competitive level of Irish Dancing. She competed and earned top placements at the New England Regional and North American Championships in both solo and team competitions for over ten years. Her proudest and most memorable moments throughout her dancing career have been performing alongside the other Sheeaun Academy teachers in countless live and televised performances throughout the country. Kathleen retired from competitive dancing and went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology in 2010. She earned her T.C.R.G. in 2011 and is thrilled to continue her career teaching with the Sheeaun Academy and to instill passion and pride in all her students.