Ciara Flaherty

It’s hard to think of an aspect of my life now that isn’t affected by the lessons I learned in the AFAD. Aside from the discipline and love of hard work dancing taught me, it gave me a means of expressing myself, something so important, especially as a teenager. Miss Ciara’s class was my favourite place in the world for years, and I would look forward to every Friday – not for the weekend, but the two hours I’d spend perfecting my pliés, dancing away my worries and just having fun.

I always walked out of that room feeling a lot lighter than I did walking in. Dance taught me to love my body for all its possibilities, and taught me to take care of it through proper posture and care, and whenever I’m stressed now, I still return to dancing and movement. Some of my favourite childhood and teenage memories are from the school shows. I can never smell L’Oréal Elnett hairspray without remembering the older girls helping us with our makeup, the magic of multi-coloured tutus and the buzz in the wings before going on stage!

When I became an older girl myself that wonder didn’t fade, and I’ll forever be grateful for the opportunity to grow up in the community AFAD provided, because it was that for all of us – a family of wonderful people who just loved to dance, led by people whose passion it is to pass it on. I cannot possibly recommend AFAD enough!

Elena O’ Donovan

Business & Economics Student at Trinity College, Dublin

I trained at the Alan Foley Academy of Dance from the age of twelve, and my experience there has stood to me in terms of the discipline and dedication I have in my new chosen subjects at Trinity College, Dublin, where I am now studying Business and Economics.

The knowledge I gained at the AFAD has been invaluable to me and I am now a proud member of the dance team at Trinity College where my passion and love for dancing continues to shine.

Miss Ciara and Alan have taught us more than dance and have instilled in all their students an appreciation for the theatre for which we are incredibly grateful.

Kevin Hayes Testimonial

Kevin Hayes

Professional dancer/teacher

Learning and training with the Alan Foley Academy of Dance was an absolute highlight of my life growing up. I trained with the school for 8 years and it was always my favourite time of the week. The training I received was invaluable. Through the encouragement and nurturing from my teachers, what I thought could only be a hobby, blossomed into a full-time dance career. Thanks to the fabulous training I received I was able to set my sights on my dreams. I have since had the opportunity to complete my training in the prestigious London Contemporary Dance School. As well as being able to train in Russia with teachers from the Vaganova Ballet Academy and the performing arts school SUNY Purchase College in New York.

I have been performing and working professionally as a performer ever since and have been lucky enough to perform around the UK with various companies, along with performances in New York.

I can honestly say that without the support of Alan and his fantastic staff at the Alan Foley Academy of Dance, I would not have believed that a boy from Skibbereen could become a professional dancer. Now, I look back at my time there with gratitude and thank the school for believing in me and constantly encouraging me to become the best dancer I could be.