My name is Marieclaire Beekmans. I am Dutch by origin , but migrated to Australia in September 2002. Since my arrival I have been living in Lake Macquarie (NSW).
So why is a Dutch woman, with a French name teaching Irish Dancing in Australia? Well why not? It has been a wonderful journey so far learning Irish Dance back in The Netherlands, performing and competing when still in Europe, finished my teaching qualification and even now I continue to explore Irish dancing…
With a Bachelors degree in Welfare Work, I gained a lot of experience in working with a variety of people in the community (the elderly, adolescents, homeless, migrants and refugees). But there was always something yearning inside me, I was always physical active throughout my life. I have experience and years of training in Baton Twirling and Gymnastics, but also Jazz, Tap, Modern Dance, Ballet and of course Irish Dance.
And Irish Dancing was exactly what I seem to be looking for all my life. So my experience began back in 1999. The first step I took felt like homecoming and I never looked back. My love for it was even more encouraged by placing first Irish Open Championships in Dublin in 2001 and being asked to join a performance troupe in The Netherlands.
With all my former knowledge and my passion for Irish dancing, I finally was able to live my Dream and do something I really love – dancing and sharing it with everyone interested. I’ve completed my teacher training in Dublin (Ireland) and became a fully qualified ODCRN in February 2012.
In 2017 I hosted the ‘Inaugural CRN Southern Cross Australia Féis’ leading to the ‘Southern Cross Australia Féis Inc.’ being created, opening up many opportunities for dancers/teachers in the near future.
Currently I am also a mentor to my fellow teachers Jaye Somogyi, Jessica Holland & Clare Gibbons with their preparation for their ODCRN exams. All three of them successfully passed their Music & Céilí component of ODCRN Part 1 at the Inaugural ODCRN teacher’s exams held in Australia in September 2019. Congratulations.
Apart from my busy Irish dance schedule, I love being a mum of a wonderful 15 year-old son Connor.
I am looking forward to teaching you the beauty and art of Irish Dance.
Enjoy the Voyage!
Marieclaire Beekmans ODCRN – Principal Teacher
My name is Jaye Somogyi. I have been teaching with Marieclaire at Voyage of Irish Dance since 2009. I am in the process of becoming a qualified Irish Dance Teacher and passed Music & Céilí Part 1 of the ODCRN exams in 2019.
Irish dancing has been my passion since I started 19 years ago. I have competed at regional, state and national level in Australia. In 2012 I qualified for the inaugural CRN World Open Irish Dancing Championships and travelled to Wexford, Ireland for the competition. It was an amazing experience and I would love to do it again one day.
I discovered “Voyage of Irish Dance” in 2007. It was a wonderful challenge to adapt to the CRN style and syllabus. After 13 years at Voyage of Irish Dance under Marieclaire’s tuition I have a vast knowledge of Irish Dance that I was not originally exposed to. The CRN syllabus offers dancers a solid foundation in steps and technique by progressing through the grades. I love seeing our student’s growth and transformation over the years they dance with us.
As well as teaching in classes I take on an administrative role within the dance academy, working behind the scenes on correspondence and social media. Our busy annual calendar includes many major events that myself and Marieclaire tirelessly organise and plan. I am also the secretary of the Southern Cross Australia Féis committee involved with running and raising funds for the Annual CRN Southern Cross Australia Féis and Cultural Grant program to promote Open Platform Irish Dance within Australia.
If that doesn’t keep me busy enough I have a 4 year old son, Oliver and a 2 year old daughter, Evelyn to keep me on my toes at all times!
Irish Dancing is a huge part of my life and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to teach and share with you and your children what I believe to be the best kind of dance there is.
I am looking forward to the beginning of a new dancing year and can’t wait to see you in 2020.
Jaye Somogyi – Associate Teacher CRN
My name is Natasha Lenaghan. I have been dancing & teaching with Marieclaire since 2016.
From the moment I put on my first pair of ballet shoes at the age of six, dance has been an important part of my life. In my twenties an interest in my family history (maiden name is Joyce) led me to enrolling in Irish language and then Irish dance classes.
From that time onwards I have:
* competed in local feiseanna along with state and national championships in Australia,
* completed an MA in Ethnochoroelogy with the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. The focus being on the performance of Irish dance and
* competed in local feiseanna and provincial and national championships in Ireland.
In my daily life I am a glass bead artist, creating beautiful jewellery for the young & young at heart.
In 2020 I will be assisting with the Broadmeadow classes on Mondays and will pop up at the Wallsend & Morisset classes when needed to!
I am looking forward to meeting you all in class.
Natasha Lenaghan – Assistant Teacher
my name is Clare Gibbons and in 2020 I’ll be starting my 5th year of Irish Dancing. I always wanted to learn Irish Dancing ever since I got my first Riverdance CD at the age of 8!
I’ve been dancing for as long as I can remember having started with Ballet at age 4 and then switching to Scotia Highland Dancing at 16. I still train and compete regularly as a Highland Dancer and enjoy collaborating with Marieclaire for big events such as the Australian Celtic Festival and Gathering of the Celts. I attained my Highland Dancing Teachers qualification in 2015.
This year I will continue working hard at training to become a qualified CRN Irish Dance Teacher – ODCRN. There are two major parts to the exam which take at least two or three years to complete. I still have a lot to learn but I know I’ll have the support of my mentor Marieclaire, fellow trainees Jaye & Jessica and the enthusiasm of Voyage of Irish Dance students!
When I’m not dancing I work as a private music tutor and musician. I love teaching my students and seeing the joy that playing music brings.
In my spare time I make costumes for Voyage of Irish Dance and my fellow Highland Dancing friends.
Will see you in class very soon!
Clare Gibbons – Associate Teacher CRN
Welcome to the 2020 Dance year!
I can’t wait to be back teaching as often as I can!
I started dancing with ‘Voyage of Irish Dance’ in 2008, prior to that I had danced at a state and national level in CLRG (another form of Irish dance). I definitely preferred the more traditional style CRN has and have stuck with it ever since.
In 2017 I was a founding member of the ‘Southern Cross Australia Féis committee and now hold the position of treasurer. I look forward to promoting Open Platform and getting our dancers ready for competition locally and nationally.
I love seeing the dancers learn and progress with their dancing.
In 2019 I started my teacher training for the ODCRN, successfully completing the Céilí and Music exams in Part 1.
I am a qualified Human Resources professional in the Disability and Support industry. Whilst my work commitments limit my ability to teach regularly, you will see me around at events and occasionally in class during the year.
See you in class soon!
Jess Holland – Associate Teacher CRN