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.

Caitlin Fahey, PT, DPT

Caitlin Fahey began Irish dancing when she was 8 years old in Syracuse, New York under Patrick Butler, TCRG and continued dancing under Laureen O’Neill-James, ADCRG after moving to Northern Virginia in 1999. There, she had the opportunity to perform throughout the greater Washington, D.C. area and compete in solo dancing at the North American Championships as well as figure and ceili dancing at the 2002 World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

Caitlin took a break from Irish 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 has since had the honor of competing in Southern Region USA, North American, All-Scotland, and World Championships for solo dancing and Southern Region and North American Championships for ceili dancing. Caitlin ended her competitive career in July 2017 to pursue her love of teaching. She is the manager, strength trainer, and instructor at the Virginia MSID locations. In her time outside the studio, Caitlin works as a full time 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.

 

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

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.

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