Mary Laffey Beemsterboer, TCRG
Mary began her Irish dancing career with the Hibernian Irish Dancers at the early age of 5. Competing for over 18 years, Mary had an illustrious competitive career and retired in 1989 after dancing at the World Championships in Ireland. At that time, Mary assumed ownership, directorship and artistic control of The Celtic Academy of Irish Dance (formerly the Hibernian Irish Dancers). In 1991 Mary received her official teaching certification (TCRG) from An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha.
Under Mary’s direction, The Celtic Academy of Irish Dance has grown from a school of less than 20 dancers in 1989 to over more than 125 dancers today, becoming Dayton’s premier Irish dance school. Her guidance and teaching ability has led the Celtic Academy to repeatedly place at local competitions, the Regional Championships, the National Championships, and qualify solo and team dancers for the World Championships in Ireland, successfully placing teams & having students recall at this highest level of competition. Her artistic creativity is best reflected through the numerous productions she has choreographed over the years, to include the development of dance routines for plays and the Celtic Academy’s own “Celtic Movements.”
Mary’s devotion to the Irish culture and dance began at an early age. Her enthusiasm and dedication to this unique art form shows in the pride she has for her dancers and the groups she supports. Mary holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Wright State University, is a member of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, United Irish of Dayton, The Dayton Feis, Irish Dance Teacher’s Association of Mid-America, Irish Dance Teacher’s Association of North America, and An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha. Mary attributes her success to the support from her husband, Dan Beemsterboer, as well as her family, friends, her dancers, and her teaching partner and sister, Laureen Laffey.
Laureen Laffey, TMRF
Laureen began her Irish dancing career with the Hibernian Irish Dancers at the early age of 5. After many successful years of competitive dancing, Laureen began teaching the Hibernian Dancers at the young age of 16, due to the marriage and move of her teacher, Julie Wahlrab, TCRG.
After a brief retirement Laureen returned to teaching with her sister Mary Laffey Beemsterboer, TCRG at the Celtic Academy.
Laureen is the Director and artistic composer for the adult division of the academy. In 1999 Laureen received her teaching certificate in Ceili dancing (TMRF) from An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha. Under her teaching ability and master skills the adult dancers have placed repeatedly on the Local, Regional and National levels winning the Regional Championships on more than one occasion and placing in the top three for the last several years.
In 2001, along with teaching the adult division of the school, Laureen assumed the role as primary ceili team instructor for the youth ceili classes. Since that time the youth dancers have placed on Local, Regional, National and World levels alike. Laureen’s devotion to Irish Dance spans back to her early years as a dancer herself. She loves the sport and finds great pride in her students through their hard work and determination.
Laureen works as a full time Office Manger for a physician group in the Northern Miami Valley. She is a member of United Irish of Dayton, The Dayton Feis, Irish Dance Teacher’s Association of Mid-America, Irish Dance Teacher’s Association of North America and An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha. Laureen attributes her success to the support of her family, friends, students and teaching partner, Mary.
Our Assistant Teachers
Anna Bumiller Boman
Anna Bumiller Boman has been an enthusiastic Celtic Academy dancer for 18 years, and currently competes at the Open Championship level. Anna has a special talent for powerful, rhythmic hard shoe dancing and loves to perform anywhere, anytime. She has also competed at many regional Oireachtasi and North American Irish Dance Championships over the years, as well as the All-Ireland National Championships and the NAFC Senior Belt competition.
Anna’s favorite parts of competing are traveling with her mom, Linda (also a CA dancer), seeing new places, and spending time with her extended dance family—as well as helping her students overcome their own competitive challenges. Anna is committed to the welcoming atmosphere of the Celtic Academy and to helping dancers of all ages reach their full potential.
Anna holds a B.M. in Music Education from UD, and a Master of Music in Cello Performance from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She teaches orchestra at Kettering City Schools, maintains a private cello teaching studio, and performs throughout the Dayton area. When not dancing or teaching, Anna also enjoys playing Irish fiddle music, hanging out with her husband, Craig, and camping, hiking, and kayaking in the wilds of northern Ontario.
Liz Willis began her dancing career at 5 when she began taking ballet classes. She joined the Celtic Academy at age 15 (and regrets not knowing about Irish dance sooner). After a brief hiatus during college and grad school, Liz returned to the Celtic Academy and began dancing with the adult group under the direction of Laureen Laffey.
During her time with the adult group, Liz has been a member of the ceili team that has won four regional championships and placed in the top three at the national championships. She has been a teaching assistant in the adult group since 2007. Liz became Vice President of FOCA in 2008 and took over the role of President when the position was vacated in 2009.
In addition to her love of Irish dance and the Celtic Academy, Liz is on the Steering Committee of the United Irish of Dayton Celtic Festival and the executive boards of the Dayton Ballet Barre and the Dayton Philharmonic Volunteer Association.