McConnell Irish Dancers

Established in 1947        80 Years of Irish Dance        3 Generations OF IRISH DANCE TRADITION       MANITOBA'S LARGEST IRISH DANCE SCHOOL 

                                          Irish Dance Class Registration

McConnell School of Irish Dance was founded in Ballymena, Northern Ireland over 100 years ago.  The School was established in Manitoba, Canada in 1947 by the late Sam & Sarah McConnell and is the longest established Irish Dance school in Western Canada.  The Irish dance tradition has spanned 3 generations of the McConnell family and thousands of students taught over the years.  McConnell Irish Dancers have travelled the world to perform and compete at the World Class Levels

                                                     Our Philosophy

Our philosophy is to provide dancers with an encouraging, positive learning environment where students can achieve their individual goals and learn the value of working as part of a team in safe, family atmosphere. 

McConnell School of Dance is well into its 3rd generation, under the direction of Shayleen McConnell Finucan. 

The school offers classes in Winnipeg and Brandon, Manitoba.

  • Our teaching methods are based on Irish tradition and also incorporate modern teaching techniques to accelerate the learning process. 
  • Class sizes are limited to achieve individual focus on our students and classes generally do not exceed an 8 -1 student to teacher ratio.
  • All dancers receive one on one time with instructors and are encouraged to seek their personal best through training, hard work, and support from their instructors.

Which Class Is Right For You?

Recreational Division

Winnipeg & Brandon Locations

Sept - May (optional summer classes June & July)
Enjoy the Basics of Irish with opportunity to advance to higher levels at your own pace.  Recreational Division is ideal for students new to Irish dance and for dancers who are involved in other activities. 

  • Dancers learn traditional & modern styles.
  • Suitable for dancers from Beginner to Advanced. 
  • Warm Up & Technique included in the class.

Recreational Division Levels

Students register based on their age within our Recreational Division.  Dancers starting Irish at an older age may require solo lessons to give them the basics of Irish dance to fit into the class with their age group.

  • Beginner (ages 3 - 6 ) 
  • Novice (ages 7 - 8 )   
  • Preliminary (ages 9 - 12)  
  • Intermediate (ages 13 & Up) 
  • Advanced (by placement) 
  • Adult (ages 18 +)

How many classes per week should you register for?

General dancers have the option to take one class per week or attend multiple classes. 

  • Dancers who take more than one class per week generally progress at a much faster rate. 
  • We recommend Recreational dancers consider a competitive class as their second option, even if they do not wish to compete.  The competitive class will help improve technique without adding the confusion of learning multiple dances in 2 Recreational classes


St. Patrick’s Fest, Year End Recital, and Folklorama 

All Recreational Division dancers are invited to perform at our major events during the season.  Performance is always optional for all Recreational Division Dancers.


Beginner - Soft Shoes or Ballet Slippers

Novice, Preliminary, Intermediate, Advanced - Soft  & Hard Shoes

Adult Beginner - Soft Shoes    Adult Intermediate & Advanced - Soft & Hard Shoes


School costumes are required for dancers who wish to perform. 

  • Costumes are ordered in November each season.
  • 2nd hand costumes can be purchased at our costume swap at the end of September.
  • Irish Dance Wigs are optional for all Recreational Division Dancers.

Costume Fees

  Beginner $120    Novice & Preliminary $200     Intermediate & Advanced $250    Adult $125

Competitive Division

Winnipeg & Brandon Locations

Sept - May for dancers who wish to compete in our Canada Feile. Dancers who wish to compete at the Regional, National, or World competitions, the season extends form Sept - Aug.

McConnell School of Irish Dance is a registered member of Cumann Rince Náisiúnta(CRN), based in Dublin, Ireland.  Dancers compete in CRN's Open Platform Feis at the Regional, National, & World levels. 

Dancers compete in 5 Solo Levels at CRN 

Bungrhad Ullmhuchan Meanghrad  Ardghrad Craobhghrad

Dancers begin at Level 1 (Bunghrad) and progress through the Level 5 Championship (Craobhghrad). 

 In most cases, achieving Championship level takes many years and a great deal of hard work.  


CRN North American Feis are held in Minneapolis MN, Dayton OH, Harrisburg PV, Philadelphia PV, and many other cities across the U.S.A, Ireland, Great Britain, and Australia. CRN Dancers also have the option to compete in any other Open Platform Feis.

  • Competitions are offered for all ages, including adult students.
  • Team competitions are offered for traditional figure dances and modern choreography.  Dancers must register for our Ceili Class in order to participate.

Canada Feile

McConnell School of Dance hosts the Canada Feile at the end of May.  CRN Adjudicators are brought in from Ireland and all competitive dancers have the opportunity to compete locally, without having to travel.


Shoes must be well-fitting and in good condition for competitive Irish dance as ill-fitting shoes will affect placement and interfere with dancers progress.

  • Bunghrad - Soft Shoes 
  • Ullmhuchan, Meanghrad, Ardghrad, Craobhghrad - Soft Shoes & Hard Shoes


Dancers do not require a costume in order to compete in CRN feis & feiles.  A simple skirt & blouse will suffice.  

  • Our competitive program is ideal for dancers who wish to brush up on technique or who need  additional learning time. 
  • Irish Dance Wigs are optional for all Competitive Division Dancers (with the exception of those in team & ceilis).


Competitive Division dancers do not perform at any of our events as their focus is strictly on competitive Irish dance. 

Students wishing to perform are encouraged to enrol in our Recreational or Performance Division.


Performance Division

Winnipeg Location

Sept - end of Aug (12 months) and dancers must commit to performances for the full season. 

For dancers who are dedicated to Irish dance, love to perform, and are motivated to progress to higher levels.

Performance Division requires a large commitment from the dancer and their family as our troupe performs at over 60 shows locally each season and travels internationally.

  • Performance Division Dancers must be dedicated and have the support of family members.
  • Performance Division applicants must have completed one full season with McConnell School of Dance prior to applying for our Performance Troupe.
  • Enrolment in Performance Division is limited and dancers must complete 1 full season with the school prior to application.

Performance Division Teams

Team 1 - Level 1 - 2       Team 2 - Level 2 - 3

Team 3 - Level 3 - 4        Team 4 - Level 4 - 5

  • Placement on Performance Division Teams is determined by the school and dancers must meet criteria for the Team.  
  • Dancers need to be proficient in all four Level 1 dances before auditioning.
  • All Performance Dancers are required to attend  competitive solo & ceili/team classes for their appropriate level / levels.

Attendance Requirements

Performance Division Dancers should not miss more than

  • 1 class per month.
  • 6 classes per year.
  •  Are required to be in attendances at all classes two week prior to any major performance.

Performance Costumes

Team 1  - Team Costume $350 - $450

Costume,  Additional Show Costumes may be required.

Team 2 to 4 - Team 3/4 Costume $900 - $950 , Solo Costume, Additional Show Costumes may be required.

Show & School Attire

Black Skirt, Black Pants / Shorts (Boys), Green Performance Shirt, Red Welsh Shirt, White Blouse, Soft Shell Jacket, Dance Trainers


Performance Requirements

Dancers in Performance are required to attend a minimum of 80% of the shows throughout the season in addition to the following mandatory performances;

Celtic Christmas Show, St. Patrick’s Fest,

St.Patrick's Week, Year End Recital,

Canada Day, and Folklorama 

                               2018  -  2019  Class  Schedule  &  Policies

Schedule Policies

  • Schedule is subject to change at the discretion of McConnell School of Dance
  • There will be a minimum of five students in a class.
  • Levels that do not meet the minimum student requirement will be combined with other classes or you will be offered the option for semi-private or private rates.      

                                                       Lesson Fees

Fees are based on an average of four classes per month including statutory holidays and breaks.  In an effort to assist in keeping fees as low as possible, we offer a reduce rate multiple class hours​.  Discounted rates are applied after registration.

 Accepted Payment Methods

 1. Credit Card- Visa, MasterCard, AMEX

  • Credit cards must be registered on our secure card processing system at the time of registration submission.
  • $25 Fee automatically applied to declined cards & Late Fees will apply.

​2.  E-Cheque (Electronic Transfer or Bank Draft)

  • Account details must be registered on our secure processing system at the time of registration submission.
  • $25 Fee automatically applied to declined transactions & Late Fees will apply.

​Payment Options

All payments must be arranged at the time of registration.

1. Monthly -  Fees are divided into monthly payments, for the duration of the program.

  • Monthly fees may be scheduled for the 1st or 15th of each month.

It is the customer's responsibility to update banking details should they wish to change payment method.  Updates can be made in the Student Portal

Terms of Registration
All dancers must register online.  Class sizes are kept small & enrolment is limited, therefore prompt registration is recommended. Tuition payments, Registration fee $20 per class, and Registration Form must be complete at the time of registration.

The 2018 - 2019 dance season includes 36 weeks of classes, September through end of May.

Registration Fee

Non-refundable registration fee for all students.  The registration fee is applied once yearly, per student or family.  Family Discounts applied (same household).

$30 - 1 Student   $50 - 2 Students    $65 - 3 Students 

Late Payment Fees
To ensure tuition payments are made in a timely manner, any payment outstanding past two weeks of the due date will be charged to the credit card or bank account on file (provided at time of registration). Families must keep a valid credit card or banking information on file at all times.

  • Late payments processed are subject to a $20 late fee

  • Returned cheques are subject to a $40 return item fee

If there is a family emergency or extenuating circumstances, please reach out to us to discuss potential payment plans. 

Discounts are only available to accounts paid on time.
Multi-Class Discounts: Discounted pricing is available to individual dancers taking multiple weekly classes and is automatically embedded into each class page. 

Drop In Lesson Fees

New students are welcome to attend 1 free trial class prior to Registration.  Dancers who wish to drop in to a class are required to pay a drop in lesson fee for each class they attend. 

  • Drop in classes are only offered for Competitive Division.  Please see schedule for class times.
  • 1 hour - $15 (pus tax)    1.5 hour - $20 (plus tax)     2 hour - $25 (plus tax)

Refunds & Early Withdrawals
Monthly Tuition and Registration fees, once processed, are non-refundable and non-transferable. 
Dancers are expected to attend classes for the full term they have registered, however  we understand there may be extenuating circumstances where dancers withdrawal from classes prior to the end of the season.  

Terms of Withdrawal

  • First year students may withdrawal without any additional withdrawal fee charged within the 1st 4 months of classes.  After 4 months a $30 withdrawal fee will be applied.  
  • All other dancers who wish to withdrawal from classes prior to the end of the term will be subject to a $30 Early Withdrawal Fee.  

Written notification via email to must be received by the 1st of each month in order for monthly fees to be cancelled.  Once processed, fees  cannot be reimbursed.

Registering Mid-Season
New dancers are invited to try out a class with us before deciding to take weekly classes, just send us an email first so we know when to expect you!  Tuition will be pro-rated to match the remaining session weeks. 

Missed Lessons & Make Up Classes
Missed classes due to dancer's scheduling difficulties will not be refunded or applied as credit.  Make-Up classes are not available for Recreational or Performance classes as our choreography is planned for each class.  Make-Up lessons for competitive classes are only available in the same week of the missed lesson. Please contact us prior to attending a make-up class.  An excessive number of missed classes, as determined by MSD, may prevent your dancer from participating in certain performances and competitions.

If a class is canceled due to inclement weather or other unforeseen reasons, an email will be sent to all registered dancers at the email addresses provided at the time of registration. Cancellation notices will also be posted on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM , and on our MSD website. There are no refunds due to inclement weather. 

School Events Scheduled During Class Time
If a major performance, competition, or other MSD or MSDSA sponsored event is scheduled during class time, there will be no tuition refunds, adjustments, or scheduled replacement class for any students.

Dancer Expectations
Dancers are expected to arrive to class on time. Dancers must always be ready to dance, learn, and have fun. Dancers must be respectful of one another and their instructors.  Dancers will not show any disrespect to instructors, class helpers, or fellow dancers. Any dancer causing a disruption will be asked to sit down or leave for the duration of the class. Parents will be notified of any class disruption. Dancers with excessive behavioural issues will not be allowed to continue their dance training at McConnell School of Dance.

Dancers are encouraged to practice. Practicing is the only way to remember your steps, improve your dance skills, and support your team. Dancers who fall behind from their classmates may be asked to join a better fitting class or catch up with solo lessons.

General Class Information

  • Studios are open 15 minutes prior to classes to allow dancers to get changed for class. Please try to arrive on time and don't miss the warm-up as it's important for technique & injury prevention

  • Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class. Parents are asked to email  or call / text (204) 793-8557 to inform us of their child's absence from classPlease do your best not to miss class.   Dancers who are injured are expected to come to class to learn their steps and routines.  Dancers who fall behind may not do all dances with their level or will be asked to come for private lessons in order to catch up.

  • Please do not enter the studio once classes have began.  Dancers, please knock if you are late for class. 

  • Parents, please do not enter the studio, at anytime unless invited. 

  • Viewing windows are located in our Winnipeg Studios A & B and may be open, at the instructor's discretion.  Please limit time at the viewing window so you do not distract your dancer from learning. If your child is being distracted by your viewing instructors may ask you to avoid the window or the blind will be closed.

  • Classes 1.5 hrs. and longer will receive a 5 minute break during their lesson.  Dancers are welcome to bring snacks from home. Please try to avoid snacks with peanuts.

  • Dancers are to remain in the rehearsal studio unless excused by the class instructor.

  • Dancers are to be dressed in appropriate dance attire. Please see dress code below.

  • Only dance shoes, dance bags, purses / wallets, and water bottles may be brought into the studio (no food or outerwear).  Please bring all necessary items in to class with you at the beginning of class.  Do not leave valuables in the change room.

  • No cellular phones, laptops, cameras, video cameras, iPods, or books allowed in rehearsal studio. Please speak with your instructor if you would like to video tape step.

  • Our studio is located close to major shopping centres.  Parents may leave the studio once children have begun their lesson.  Parents who's children are unable to use the restroom themselves should remain at the studio.

  • Respectful, positive attitude towards instructors and fellow dancers must be demonstrated by dancers at all times.  Dancers who exhibit negative behaviour towards instructors, other students, or parents will be asked to leave and may face expulsion.

  • Parents, the waiting room space is provided for your convenience and comfort.  Please keep the atmosphere positive at all times.  Gossiping, negative attitudes, and family drama should not be discussed in the waiting room and is not welcome at McConnell School of Dance.  

  • Please to arrive on time for pick-up and be mindful of instructor's time after class.  Additional charges may apply for dancers who delay instructors departure time.

  • Instructors are not available to meet with dancers or parents during class hours.  Please do not disturb instructors during class time & be aware your instructor may have another class to teach after yours. For in depth issues please email or (204)793-8557

Drop Off / Pick Up
Dancers are to remain in the waiting room until the previous class has left the studio and their instructor has come to welcome them in. 
We ask that parents do not enter the dance studio rooms.

For the last classes and private lessons of the day, please take extra consideration for our instructor’s time.
Instructor Privacy
Please respect our instructor's privacy and after-dance-hours time. They spend a great deal of their own time to make your dancer’s experience as good as possible. 

Please do not send Facebook and Instagram messages to a teacher’s personal Facebook or Instagram page. All MSD-related matters should be sent to or call (204)793-8557 during business hours.

Updates & Announcements

MDS updates, cancellations, competition information, performance schedules, and other announcements can be found on our website and Facebook page, and are sent via email.