Our staff

The Dillon Magh Adhair academy of Irish dance is a world-renowned and award-winning Irish dance school, with class locations offered in both Northern and Southern California. Our academy prides itself on offering one of the most forward-thinking and comprehensive Irish dance programs in America.

Our dancers, from age 4 to adult, are taught everything including soft and hard shoe solo dance, ceili dance, figure choreographies, dance dramas, and performance skills.

DMA dancers regularly compete at national and international level, representing the Western region and the USA. Our students have won 5 top 3 globes at the World Championships since the school opened under Michael Dillon’s direction, including the World Champion title in the Junior Dance Drama competition in 2015. DMA alumni have also gone on to perform in professional shows, as well as have attained their TCRG certifications to become fully qualified Irish dance teachers from the CLRG in Dublin, Ireland.

Michael Dillon - Studio Director, TCRG, ADCRG, BG

Michael has been teaching 35 years, having passed his exam in Dublin, Ireland in 1984. Michael moved to the United States in 2010 from Co Clare, where his students won many major titles over the years. Michael started dancing at the age of 5 for the wonderful Nora Bennis from Limerick and spent a number of years in Dublin studying at Scoil Rince Inis Ealga under Mathiu O Maoileidigh and Marie Duffy Pask (Dance Director of Michael Flatley’s ‘Lord of the Dance’) where Michael was a member of their renowned gold medal ceili, figure and drama teams. He was also part of the All Ireland Champion O'Callaghan's Mills set dancing team. Following his qualification as a teacher he was a lead dancer on many tours of 'on Shannonside' , a renowned group of World class musicians and dancers. Michael moved to Brighton in England, where he had his own school for a number of years and worked as a Project Manager for Lloyds TSB Bank plc, before moving back to his home village of Kilkishen in 1997. Michael danced on the award winning Guinness TV commercial for Harp Lager and has given workshops all over Europe, from Norway to Austria. In 1998 Michael qualified as an adjudicator with An Coimisiún, and has been honored to judge the World, All Ireland, All Scotland, Great Britain, Irish Nationals & Ulster Championships, North American Nationals to name but a a few and has judged all over the World from as far afield as Germany, Australia, and New Zealand. Michael recently passed his Grade examiners exam and continues to be empassioned about Irish culture and dance.  

 

Noreen Boyle-Heavey, TCRG

Noreen started dancing at the age of five under the direction of Ann Healy. During her years there she won the Western Regional Oireachtas seven times, consistently placed in the top ten at the North American Championships, and recalled on numerous occasions at the World Championships. When she retired from competition she began to teach with her sister in Pacifica. For thirteen years they produced champions at the regional, national and world level in teams as well as solos. After retiring for several years to raise her family, Noreen has been lucky enough to return to Irish Dancing to teach with the DMA team. " I have always felt so fortunate to pass on to others my love of Irish Dancing, I have met so many wonderful people through this beautiful art form and have made friendships that are life long. Teaching with my sister has been a bonus and now to be able to teach with Michael and Lauren it really feels like a family business. I look forward to all the great things that are happening at DMA and the ones yet to come".

Mary Ann Boyle-Folan, TCRG

Mary Ann started Irish dance at the age of six under the tutelage of Ann Healy. As a young girl she danced in many shows and events, as well as competing at and winning numerous championships in the Western Region. After retiring from competition, she began teaching with her sister at the Boyle School of Irish Dancing in Pacifica. Her other love and vocation involves caring for the sick. She has been an ICU nurse at St. Marys Hospital for the past 30 Years. Mary Ann took a short hiatus from dancing while raising her family, but is happy to be back teaching at DMA.

Jennifer Corry, TCRG

Jennifer started dancing at the age of 4 for the Murphy school of Irish dance in San Francisco, under the direction of Mary Jo Feeney. Through the years, she continued to compete at Regional, National, and World competitions. In 2010, she traveled to Shanghai, China and performed at the World Expo. Jennifer attended Saint Mary’s College from 2010 to 2014, where she earned a degree in liberal arts with an emphasis on elementary education. In 2011, Jennifer joined DMA and continued to compete at the Major competitions throughout her college career. After retiring from competition, Jennifer became a certified teacher and is very fortunate to continue teaching with DMA. She is excited to be a part of the DMA team and looks forward to great success.

Makenzie Huguet, TCRG

Makenzie started dancing at age 7 with the Moore School of Irish Dance which would later become the Dillon Magh Adhair Academy of Irish Dance. She continued competing through her sophomore year of college and experienced many successes including five placements at the worlds in solos, becoming a world medal holder, and an Oireachtas Champion. After retiring from competition, she began studying for her TCRG, which she passed in 2017. Makenzie graduated high school from Carondelet and college from the University of Notre Dame, where she received a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience.

Justine Ward-Mallinson, TCRG, ADCRG

Justine began dance lessons at the age of 8, under the tutelage of Miss Betty Kelly at the St Chads School of Irish Dancing and continued with the same school until her competitive retirement 18 years later. Miss Kelly placed an enormous emphasis on rhythm and timing as well as style, values Justine continues to maintain throughout her teaching and adjudicating careers.

Justine was fortunate as a dancer to have achieved success at a high level receiving medals at Worlds, All Irelands and all other major championships. She was runner up at the All England championships and North West Regional champion over 10 times. It was her love of dance however that fuelled her desire to compete and not the achievements.

Her teaching career began in 1995 and over the years Justine has been fortunate to have taught some extremely talented children. The class success includes podium  placements at World and All Ireland championships as well as championship winners at the Great Britain and American National Championships.

From beginner to championship level, to be able to nurture a talent, teach a child to dance, and love dance is reward itself.

Justine has been adjudicating for the last 20 years and considers herself very lucky to have judged all major competitions and many qualifying events in Ireland, America,Canada and Australia.  To see the passion and enthusiasm for dance in so many different places with one common bond is quite remarkable.