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  Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Meet Irish Step Instructor Terry Gillan
By Kevin Devlin

     Veteran world class Irish Step Dancing teacher and judge hoping to bring a world champion to South Boston

     There’s a lot happening at the Woods School of Irish Dance these days, and that includes the excitement generated by the addition of Irish Step Dance Instructor Terry Gillan on a more consistent basis.

     Gillan has been involved in the Woods School for the past ten years, coming in twice a year to conduct workshops. But things changed last year. Since then, Gillan has been in town once a month teaching the dancers. He also teaches in New Jersey and in Connecticut.

     Gillan was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and grew up in Dublin, Ireland. He has taught for 25 years and has been an Adjudicator (Judge) for 15 seasons. And, Gillan worked at the Naomh Padraig School in Dublin for many years. Overall, he has taught four World Champions and approximately 20 to 30 students who placed in the top three spots in world class competition.  As an Adjudicator, Gillan has judged dancers in world class competitions in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and in the European Championships.

     Gillan teaches a style of dancing (all steps) that is quite successful on the world stage. Gillan is excited about his consistent involvement in the Woods Program and he likes what he sees amongst the talent of the young dancers. 

     “There’s a lot of talent at this school,” said Gillan. “Many of them are young and at the right stage in life to ready them for world class competition. Our goal is to bring a world champion to South Boston.”

     He’s not the only one excited about the future. Peggy Woods Doherty and her sister, Roseann Woods McKenna, are looking forward to moving their school to another level in the world of Irish Step Dancing.

     “The school competed in the Oireachtas (the New England Regional Championships) that was held in Stamford, Connecticut last November. Dancers from across New England compete for the coveted title of New England Regional Champion,” said Woods Doherty. “The Woods School was one of the fortunate schools to achieve this title.

     “Taylor Thomas received first place in the girls’ under 8 championships and Delia Doherty placed fifth,” added Woods Doherty. “In the girls’ under 12 championships, Kimberly Dargin finished in second place. The students also fared well in group dance, which is a traditional dance, called ceili. The girls’ under 12 four-hand ceili won the title, the team was comprised of Hannah McCarthy, Kelsey Sullivan, Sammy Moccio, and Kimberly Dargin. In the girls’ under 8 group, one team finished fourth, and another one ended up in eighth place.”

     The spectacular achievements of the Woods School did not end there. In the traditional set competition, many of the dancers were among the top performers in most age groups. Eight year-old Olivia Dooley finished second out of a field of 80 dancers.

     There were so many excellent performances, too many to be listed here. The students as well as the teachers worked hard and tirelessly to achieve such terrific results and will continue to do so in the future.

     “The children gave up a lot of their free time,” concluded Woods Doherty. “They fully dedicated themselves in preparing for this event and for receiving such prestigious awards. I’m proud of everyone associated with this.”

     (Writer’s Note: For more information about the Woods School, please visit their website at www.woodsschoolofirishdance.com



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Peggy Woods with Instructor Terry Gillan.

Peggy Woods with Instructor

Terry Gillan.


Young aspiring, Irish Step Dancers at their home away from, the Woods School of Irish Dance.

Young aspiring, Irish Step

Dancers at their home away

from home, the Woods School

of Irish Dance.