Industry experts with over 100 years of teaching experience

The College Faculty

Central to the College of Dances’ ethos of being the centre of excellence for dance training in Ireland, is building a teaching faculty that is exceptional. Our faculty are all industry experts with extensive professional performance careers with first-class choreographic standards and teaching pedigrees. Our teachers have trained at international centres of excellence and have over 100 years of combined teaching experience.

Our entire faculty is fully Garda vetted. Our teachers are consistently striving to further their professional standards with ongoing training and development. Currently, a number of our teachers are completing their level six ISTD Diploma in Dance Pedagogy. Very few teachers in Ireland have completed this qualification.

Our faculty also have an in-depth knowledge of the leading international centres of excellence that students will be auditioning for. The College of Dance’s connections with this network of third-level colleges is of huge advantage to our students.


Artistic Director

Samantha Lyons

Artistic Director

Head of Contemporary & Ballet

Samantha graduated from The College of Dance and went on to specialise in Contemporary Dance and Choreography at London Contemporary Dance School, London. She has worked with many highly acclaimed choreographers including Janice Garrett, Stephen Koplowitz and Nicole Frobusch. She has performed with famous dance companies including Torn Halves Opera Company, Akashic Dance Theatre and Millennium Opera Company.

Samantha is also a qualified site-specific artist and choreographer from the California Institute of the Arts, where she is now a course mentor. Samantha has over 25 years of professional teaching experience in both Ireland the United Kingdom. Sam is currently completing her level six ISTD Diploma in Dance Pedagogy, a qualification that very few teachers in Ireland have attained.


Artistic Director

Bernie O'Rourke

Artistic Director

Head of Jazz & Musical Theatre

After graduating from the College of Dance, Bernie trained at Performers Dance College, U.K. Bernie is a certified Stott Pilates Matwork instructor and teaches pilates. Professionally Bernie has an extensive professional theatre career peforming accross Ireland and the UK in a variety of famous musicals and pantomines. Bernie has performed in television work for the BBC, RTE and CBS and her film credits include Ella Enchanted, Michael Collins and My Left Foot.

Bernie has extensive teaching and choreographic experience, providing guest workshops around the country. Bernie also runs a very successful programme of dance modules in primary and secondary schools which develops dance, fitness and artistic development of young people. Bernie is currently completing her level six ISTD Diploma in Dance Pedagogy, a qualification that very few teachers in Ireland have attained.


Tap Teacher

Debbie Kiernan

Tap Teacher

Debbie trained at the College of Dance and Digges Lane Performing Arts. Debbie’s successful professional career spans numerous theatre, television and film performances accross the world. Theatre credits include a string of famous musicals such as 42nd Street, West Side Story and Guys and Dolls. Her television and film credits include The Tudors, Pop Idol, Top of the Pops and Ella Enchanted.

Debbie has extensive teaching and choreographic experience. Debbie has choreographed many famous pantomines in the most notable theatres. She has choreographed for RTE on a number of performances including Jam The Musical, Eurosong and was Dance Consultant for Eurodance 2008. Debbie has extensive teaching experience training countless young tappers throughout Ireland and the UK.

Ballet Teacher

Laura Macken

Ballet Teacher

Laura trained at The Irish National College of Dance and joined Dublin City Ballet as a student member age of 15. In 2017, Laura graduated from the University of Limerick, completing her MA in Dance. Laura has danced with many professional companies throughout her performance career in ballets such as Coppelia, The Nutcracker, Les Sylphides, Aida and Giselle. Laura is a founding member of Irish Modern Dance Theatre.

Laura also has extensive film and television credits including Penny Dreadful, Circle of Friends and An Awfully Big Adventure. Laura has extensive teaching experience throughout Ireland including Dance Ireland’s professional programme, John Scott Dance, the University of Limerick, CoisCéim Dance Theatre and David Bolger. Laura is also a qualified yoga teacher.


Ballet Teacher

Katherine O'Malley

Ballet Teacher

Katherine took ISTD Ballet and Modern Dance at the Dublin School of Classical and Contemporary Dance. She then started full-time training with the Perm State Ballet School, Russia. Katherine has also studied at London Contemporary Dance School. Katherine went on to join the Corps de Ballet of The Tatarstan State Opera and Ballet Theatre Kazan, Russia and has performed in ballets such as Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, La Bayadere and Sleeping Beauty.

Katherine has extensive teaching experience teaching for the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick on their BA & MA dance programmes, Dance Ireland, Dance Theatre of Ireland, Sallynoggin College of Further Education, Dance Limerick, DCU, Cois Ceim, Irish Modern Dance Theatre and UCD.


Ballet Teacher

Lindsay Ashe-Browne

Ballet Teacher

After initially training with Debbie Allen and Irish National Youth Ballet, Lindsay went onto train, and graduate, from London Studio Centre. Lindsay has performed professionally with Cork City Ballet and Chrysalis Dance Company before becoming a qualified teacher through the Royal Academy of Dance and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Lindsay is also a qualified pilates teacher.

Lindsay has taught & lectured at the Creative Academy, London Children’s Ballet and London Studio Centre, while running her own school, Technical Elegance Dance. Lindsay founded The Dance Institute summer intensives in 2009 which is now an internationally recognised summer course. In 2019 Lindsay moved back to Dublin where she was appointed the Artistic Director of Irish National Youth Ballet.

Commercial Teacher

Lizzy Benham

Commercial Teacher

After a decade of dancing competitively, Lizzy obtained a Diploma in Professional Dance from The College of Dance in Dublin before being awarded a full scholarship to study at London Studio Centre in the UK where she acquired a BA(Hons) Degree in Theatre Dance. She also holds a Certificate in Sports Therapy as well as a BA(Hons) Degree in Physical Education & Science.

TV and stage credits include: All seasons of Ireland’s Got Talent with Locked Creative, the Xpose & Benefits Awards with Fatale Events, Theatre M.A.D’s West End Bares – fire breather (2011), UK tour with London Studio Centre’s Jazz Dance Company (2012), the BRIT Awards (2012) with Olly Murs feat. Rizzle Kicks, a residency with the Body of People Jazz Company (2013), Dial M for Music’s Wilde Nights Cabaret (2014, 2015 & 2016 – Dancer, 2017 – Assistant Choreographer & Dance Captain), Laochra – 1916 Commemoration at Croke Park (2016), Gaiety Pantomimes Cinderella (2012/2013), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (2013/2014), Peter Pan (2014/2015), Robin Hood and his Merry Men (2016/2017) and The Snow Queen (2018/2019), The Golden Era at the Mansion House (2017/2018) and the L’Oreal Colour Trophy (2018).

Vocal & Drama Tutor

Sean Gilligan

Vocal & Drama Tutor

Sean was trained and educated at the Royal College of Music, Royale School of Dance, Trinity College Dublin, Guildford School of Acting and the Voice College Uk. 
Sean is the Artistic Director of SGPA, Sean Gilligan Performing Arts (formerly F.A.C.T), whose students are renowned for both their training and performances.

Sean’s theatre directing and musical directing credits include Jesus Christ Superstar, Fame, Phantom of the Opera, Copacabana, Footloose, Grease, Aladdin, Les Miserables, West Side Story, Peter Pan, Annie, Wizard of Oz, We Will Rock You, Hairspray, High School Musical, Little Mermaid, Evita, Anastasia, Back to the 80s, Hairspray , Legally Blonde, Cats and Oliver.

Sean’s previous stage roles include Riff in West Side story, Danny in Grease, Genie in Aladdin, Gaston in Beauty and the Beast and Daddy Warbucks on Annie.
 Sean’s Concert credits include Snowman (Bord Gais Energy Theatre, 3Arena, National Concert Hall), Hilton Annual Cabaret spectacular, Childline Concert, ‘A Night with Westlife’ O2, Gary Barlow Belfast, Jacinta Whyte, World Street Performing Championships, Celtic Woman. Sean is the director of Halleluia Gospel Choir – having worked with Westlife, Gary Barlow, Josh Groban, Niamh Kavangh, Mary Black, Linda Martin, Johnny Logan and many others. His theatre awards include Best Director, Best Visual,  and most recently an award for his contribution to Youth Musical




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Directors: Matthew Duffy (Secretary), Suzanne Binley & Cary Posavitz

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