About us

About Celtic Circle

After retiring from competitive dancing, Tára Walker (nee Kennedy) decided that she wanted to share the ‘love of her life’ with others, so started one small class with a few children on 4 May 1999. The group grew week on week and by the end of the first year Celtic Circle consisted of two full classes of 30 dancers.

Now, over a decade later with 60+ members, the success of the troupe has surpassed even Tara’s wildest expectations. Although many aspects have changed since those early days, the philosophy remains the same: Celtic Circle is all about fun, which means dancers are exposed to a friendly, supportive and non-competitive environment where the boundaries of strict, competitive Irish dancing are lifted.

With a busy calendar of displays and an annual performance at Cheltenham’s Playhouse Theatre, every dancer, regardless of age or ability, is encouraged to achieve their best and achieve their moment of glory.

Our Approach

Although we are a non-competitive school, instruction at Celtic Circle still centres on the fundamentals of traditional Irish dance – rhythmic timing, correct body position and precise footwork. Students work to master these basic steps, before progressing to learn a beginner’s reel, light jig, and slip jig steps, and progressing to rocks, fly jumps, double jumps, crosskeys and bicycles in the skilled stages. As confidence and social skills build, students also learn to dance in small groups – this discipline of dancing in unison develops team spirit and spatial awareness as they dance the patterns of traditional ceili dances.

Hard shoe dancing, made popular by shows such as ‘Riverdance’, is usually taught to students from their second or third year onwards. The unique rhythms of hornpipe and heavy jig music drive the steps and timing of these dances. Students also learn one or more of the traditional set dances, designated by the Irish Commission, where steps and music are the same the world over.


Although we insist on the same Irish dancing shoes that are worn the world over, we have moved away from the traditional jewelled dresses, ‘poodle’ socks, curly wigs, and fake tans worn in the competitive world of feis dancing. We do however have a class uniform and ‘show’ costumes which resemble those worn in productions such as ‘Riverdance’.