About the Muggivan School of Irish Dance

Where Irish dancers don't just dance. We fly!

The Muggivan School of Irish Dance

The Muggivan School of Irish Dance is under the direction of champion dancer and certified Irish dance teacher, Joni Muggivan, TCRG. Dancers at the Muggivan School are trained in competitive style Irish dancing, which allows them to compete on local, national, and international stages. Classes are offered for beginner through champion levels in the Greater New Orleans area, and in Virginia in the Richmond and Fredericksburg areas.

The Muggivan School is dedicated to promoting excellence in the art and sport of Irish dancing, providing an atmosphere of encouragement and positive discipline at all levels, and developing an appreciation for the art form as a testament to the rich and diverse culture of Irish dance in the U.S.

A Muggivan dancer smiling
Joni Muggivan, owner of the Muggivan School of Irish Dancer

Joni Muggivan, TCRG

Joni Muggivan began dancing under world-renowned dancer, Paul Tinen, at the age of four, in a time when Irish dancing was virtually unknown in New Orleans. Because local teachers were scarce, she attended workshops all over the country in order to cultivate her talent and to gain knowledge and experience in the world of competitive Irish dancing. Her list of teachers includes dancing superstars such as Jean Butler and Colin Dunne. At home, she danced under, and indeed would later teach with, Mary Ann McGrath Swaim, TCRG, whom she credits with fostering in her a true love for the search and acquisition of knowledge and expertise in competition, performance, and teaching alike.

Under Swaim, Joni represented the New Orleans School of Irish Dancing in regular performances with such artists as Legacy, Danny O’Flaherty, and The Celtic Folk. In addition, her celebrated talent landed her performances in various venues, such as the North Texas Irish Festival, Notre Dame University, Celtic Cruise Lines, and Galveston’s Grand Operi House. She was heard on the radio with her hard shoes, appeared on multiple television programs, including the Angel Hill Show, and was featured on the Poor Charles Album, Change of Habit.

Perhaps the only thing more impressive than her performance record is her achievement in competition. She has competed all over the United States and in Ireland at the Open Championship level, having achieved her Open Championship status at the age of 14. She competed in two Mid-American Oireachtas, during which she performed her own choreography and placed in the 80th percentile. She also competed in three Southern Region Oireachtas where she was awarded two seconds and a third place. In 1998, she became the first dancer in Louisiana to compete at the World Championships in Ireland where she again danced her own choregraphy.

In recognition of her talent, unceasing effort, and outstanding personal initiative, Joni received two awards for achievement in dance, one from Loyola University, and one from the Irish Cultural Society as a worthy recognition for one of the most impressive young performers and teachers in the state.

Katherine Boltz

Katherine Boltz began her dance training at the age of 7 with the Loudon School of Ballet in Leesburg, VA. There she trained in Ballet and Irish dancing. At the age of 10, she joined the Celtic Rhythm School of Dance and began performing in their Irish dance company. While with the company, Katherine had the opportunity to choreograph her own solos as well as group pieces. During her time with the company, she took master classes with Colin Dunn, Jean Butler, and Riverdance. Katherine began her competition training in 2002 with the O’Neill-James School of Irish Dance, and quickly moved into the championship level.

Katherine attended Sweet Briar College, and in 2010, she graduated with a BA in Dance. While at Sweet Briar, Katherine had the opportunity to choreograph her own works as well as direct a two-night show. She was a teacher in their after school dance program, where she taught Irish dance for four years. In the spring of her Junior year, she studied abroad in Ireland at the University of Limerick, where she took classes in Irish history, folklore, music, and dance. She credits this particular journey as an important influence in both her dance technique and choreography style.

Katherine joined the Muggivan School of Irish dance in the fall of 2009, and has been studying Irish dance and continued teaching education under Joni Muggivan, TCRG. During her time at Muggivan, Katherine has had the opportunity to compete at the Southern Region Oireachtas as well as abroad at the European Championships in Spain, where she placed 5th. Katherine is currently preparing to sit for her TCRG exam and specializes in early childhood dance training as well as performance choreography.

Katherine Boltz, instructor at the Muggivan School of Irish Dance
Ryan McCarthy

Ryan McCarthy, TCRG

Ryan McCarthy is from Uniondale, NY and danced for the Schade Academy of Irish dance under the direction of Mary Lou Schade. Ryan has been dancing since the age of eleven and has done very well in Irish dancing competitions, achieving 1st place at the Mid-Atlantic Regionals, North American Nationals, All-Irelands, and the 2006 World Championships in Belfast.

He has performed in Riverdance from 2007-2011 and has traveled all over the world with the show, including the United States, Canada, Ireland, China, Lebanon, and South Korea. In 2007, he was named one of the “Top 100 Irish Americans” by Irish America Magazine. He became a certified Irish dance teacher in 2010. Ryan graduated Cum Laude from Hofstra University with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts. In 2015, Ryan got married and moved to New Jersey where he opened his own school, the Mccarthy Hughes Academy of Irish Dance. He continues to teach workshops with the Muggivan School.

Jan Gunter

Jan first began studying the art of Irish dance at the age of 8 under the direction of Helen Madden (County Cork); a pioneer in Irish dance in the U.S. after WWII. Helen founded the first Irish dance school in Boston, Massachusetts. She was (and still is) very well known in the Irish dance world. Jan is an award winning competitive dancer and for many years she danced all over New England in the eastern U.S. She has continued to dance and teach dancing since those early years, competing and winning medals into her 40s.

Jan’s many students have gone on to dance in world competitions and to perform shows like those at Disney World. Her credentials as a dance instructor and administrator are built on an association with two of the premier dance schools in the New Orleans area, and her own successful school “The Crossroads Irish Dancers” which, sadly, had to be closed after Hurricane Katrina. Jan has been teaching Irish dance for more than twenty five years and brings this experience to the Muggivan School of Irish Dance.

Caitlin Fahey, head of Strength Training at the Muggivan School of Irish Dance

Caitlin Fahey, PT, DPT

Cailin Fahey began Irish dancing when she was 8 years old in Syracuse, New York under Patrick Butler, TCRG. When her family moved to Northern Virginia in 1999, she continued dancing with Laureen O’Neill-James, ADCRG, where she had the opportunity to compete in solo dancing at the North American Championships and in figure dancing at the 2002 World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

Caitlin took a break from dancing when she went to college at Virginia Tech, graduating with honors in 2009 with a degree in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise and a minor in Chemistry. She then went on to receive her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012.

Caitlin joined Muggivan School of Irish Dance in January 2013 after settling in Richmond, and quickly became an Open Championship dancer. She has since had the honor of competing in the North American Championships, All-Scotland Championships, and World Championships for solo dancing. Caitlin is the manager of the Virginia MSID locations and the head of the strength training program. In her time outside the studio, Caitlin works as a full time outpatient physical therapist where she is able to combine her interests of the human body and Irish dancing while helping people reach their maximum potential through rehabilitation and injury prevention.

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