B i o g r a p h y
Hello! My name is Alycia Duffy Olanyk and I can't wait to start Irish dancing with you!
I grew up Irish dancing in our family Irish dance business, The Duffy Academy of Irish Music and Dance, in East Hartford, CT. My grandmother, May Duffy, came to America from Dublin, Ireland who became the first certified Irish dance teacher in North America. As I grew older I began assisting and then leading classes with my grandmother and mother, Elizabeth Duffy, a beautiful world championship dancer.
After over 60 years we decided to retire the school after my grandmother became unwell. The school not only gave me Irish dance training, it also gave me lifetime friendships with dancers that I consider my family. It was not long after the school was closed that I began to greatly miss that part of myself.
Shortly after moving to the Pioneer Valley, I made friends with the talented, and great dance instructor, Charlotte Gram Doyle, owner and director of Pineapple Dance in North Amherst. I created the Irish dance program at the school and loved working with the amazing dance community of faculty, students and parents! After four years, I decided it was time to form The Duffy Academy of Irish Dance to become part of the community again.
Throughout the years I have loved performing for my community. I love seeing the happiness it brings patrons faces to watch Irish dance culture, regardless of their own heritage. It was enriching to go to so many different areas and establishments. It gave me a deeper connection to my own heritage and a better understanding of others.
I also love teaching! The look of pride on a student's face after accomplishing a step or doing well in a feis (pronounced "fesh"- an Irish dance competition) or performance is priceless! I am committed to my students success on and off the dance floor. I believe a student can and will acheive great things if they are with the right teacher, whether that teacher is me or another fellow instructor. I hope that I am able to be that teacher for all of my students.
It is my greatest hope to share the love and culture of Irish dance with my community. It is my personal goal to strengthen the connection you have with Irish dance (whether it be fitness, culture, fun or something more) and foster a confidence in my students to dance whenever and wherever their hearts ask them to. Not just at a feis, performance or other formal event. At the Duffy Academy of Irish Dance you will learn traditional and contemporary steps and choreography, Irish dance history and culture, performance confidence, team collaboration and fellowship and hopefully so much more!
I am proud to bring about another era of Irish dance in the Duffy name. At this time our dance school will be accepting students of all levels for training in traditional and contemporary material for shows, ceili (prounounced "kay-lee"- an Irish dance party or gathering that will often perform traditional ceili dances), performances and other community activities. I have been encouraged by students and other fellow instructors to complete my T.C.R.G. to allow my students to compete if they should like. In respect to the An Coimisiun (prounounced un com-i-shun - The Irish Dance Commission. Governs all Irish dancing worldwide, and is based in Ireland.) and other instructors, like my grandmother, that strive to preserve the traditional Irish dance material, this is sometihing I am taking into great consideration. Please feel to inquire about this matter. I look forward to having a great year of dancing with you all!!