Sam Lyons - Artistic Director
HEAD OF CONTEMPORARY DANCE
Samantha graduated from The College of Dance in 1994 and went on to specialise in Contemporary Dance and Choreography at London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS), London. After graduating from LCDS she worked with highly acclaimed choreographers Janice Garrett, Stephen Koplowitz’s and Nicole Frobusch. She also worked with many dance companies notably ‘Torn Halves Opera Company’, ‘Akashic Dance Theatre’ and ‘Millennium Opera Company’. Sam was a soloist and core group co-choreographer in American Choreographer, Stephen Koplowitz’s site specific pieces, ‘Genesis Canyon’, awarded Time Out’s Best Dance Production of 1996 and ‘Babel Index’ for Dance Umbrella UK. Sam is also a qualified site specific artist and choreographer with an accreditation from California institute of the Arts. In September 2014 Sam was a community teaching assistant for the California Institute of the Arts Site Specific Course.
Sam gained extensive teaching experience while in the UK having taught at London Contemporary Dance School’s Young Place and Evening School, Bearfoot School of Performing Arts, London Junior Ballet, University College London, Hackney Community College & Merlin School.
Sam returned to Ireland in 2000 and joined the faculty of The College of Dance in 2002 as Head of Contemporary Dance. Sam became Assistant Artistic Director in 2010. Sam continues to choreograph original work for the College’s annual Gradation Performance each. One such work entitled ‘Struggle’ was highly acclaimed in Dance Europe Magazine.
Sam has produced original choreography for Midsummers Manoeuvres in Dancehouse, the Irish Youth Dance Company at the Irish Youth Dance Festival, the Wexford Youth Dance Festival & for the televised opening of the 2012 St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin.
As well as Sam’s involvement in the College of Dance she is also Creative Ballet Teacher for Alexandra College Junior School, Contemporary Dance Tutor for the Castleknock School of Dance and is a teacher and Director of the Young Performers Academy. Sam was also the Contemporary Dance Master for RTE’s successful ‘Pump Up My Dance’ television series.
Bernadette O'Rourke - Artistic Director
HEAD OF JAZZ DANCE
Bernadette trained at The College of Dance for two years and continued her training at the Performers Dance College in the U.K.
Bernadette is a certified Stott Pilates Matwork instructor, and teaches pilates in various locations around Dublin.
Theatre credits: Aida, Lyric Opera Productions, Gaiety Theatre, Le Cirque, Winter Wonderland, Ejeeit of love, Pavillion Theatre, Westside Story, Gaiety Theatre, Tribute to Kander and Ebb “Cabaret to Chicago” National Concert Hall, Black Sunrise National Concert Hall, Broadway to Hollywood, National Concert Hall, Two seasons of cabaret on the M.V. Normandy and tours with Celtic Rhythm. She has performed in various pantomines, Snowhite and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Gaiety Theatre, Puss-n-Boots and Cinderella, Olympia Theatre. Bernadette has worked with Irish Modern Dance Theatre and Co-Motion Theatre Company. She also has worked with various corporate and event management companies on a broad range of corporate events and trade shows.
TV & Film work: Pump up my Dance, Jazz Master, Mind the Gap Productions, RTE. The Brod Club, RTE. Ella Enchanted,(Miramax), Michael Collins, My Left Foot, Hear my Song, The Aristocrats (BBC), Amongst Women (RTE/BBC), Mrs. Poll fax, (C.B.S.)
Choreography: The Wizard of Oz, The Helix Theatre, What the Donkey Saw, Lane Productions, The Mill Theatre, The Merry Widow, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Fiddler on the Roof, Gorey Musical Society, Circle of Life, Watergate Productions, Buskin, Whisper Productions, James Bond Gala, Four Seasons Hotel, Christian Dior Fashion Show, Brown Thomas. Various school musical productions, Little shop of Horrors, Grease, The Boyfriend, Annie, Guys & Dolls, Westside Story, Oliver, Fame.
Bernadette has been teaching dance throughout her career and gives workshops as a guest teacher in other dance organisations and performance arts schools around the country. She runs a very successful programme of dance modules in Primary and Secondary schools which develops dance, fitness and artistic development of young people.
Bernadette is founder and director of the Young Performers Academy providing weekly classes in Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz/Musical Theatre and Hip-Hop for young people 4yrs – young adults. The YPA strive to provide specialized workshops throughout the year bringing performers from Broadway, West end and Contemporary dance companies.
Debbie Kiernan - Tap Teacher
Debbie trained with the College of Dance and Digges Lane Performing Arts.
Theatre Credits include: The Temptress in Spirit of the Dance (European and U.S Arena Tour), Soloist for Dance of The World (European Tour), The Broadway Production of 42nd street at The Apollo Stuttgart; Guys and Dolls Gaiety Theatre, Mary in The Wiremen Gaiety Theatre, The Maiden in Slam for Irish Modern Dance Theatre, Peggy Sue in Buddy Holly, the musical German Tour, Rosalita in West Side Story at the Gaiety Theatre, Anytime Annie in 42nd Street Gaiety Theatre, This Dancing Life Sara Rudner (New York) Dublin, U.S Tours with Tony Kenny Sonny Knowels and Andy Cooney including Madison Square Garden and Westchester off Broadway.
TV and Film credits: The Tudors, Pop Idol (dancer), Top of the Pops, Ella Enchanted (Dance).
Choreography Credits: Jam The Musica l(winner for R.T.E) Jack and the Beanstalk and Cinderella at the Gaiety Theatre, Snow White Liberty & Hall Theatre, Hey Get A Life, Andrews Lane Theatre, On Such As We, Peacock Theatre, A Life at the Abbey Theatre, The German Tour of Dubliin Dancers and R.T.E Eurosong, Dance consultant for Eurodance 2008.