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The McClanahan School of Irish Dance was founded in 1997 in Louisville under the direction of Heather McClanahan Ackerman, TCRG/ADCRG.


Heather began her dancing career at the age of 6 and has competed and won numerous awards at the Regional, National and World Championship levels. She has been involved in teaching Irish Dancing since 1990 and is an accredited teacher and adjudicator of traditional Irish Step Dancing, qualified by An Coimisiun le Rince Gaelacha, in Dublin, Ireland.


Heather and her husband Bob have 3 children – Megan, Sean, and Colin. Megan is a former Open Championship level dancer and a three-time World qualifier in her age group. She has retired from competing and is an assistant teacher. 

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Emily is certified as a teacher (TCRG) & adjudicator (ADCRG) by An Coimisiun le Rince Gaelacha in Dublin, Ireland. 

She began dancing with the McClanahan School at the age of 8. Emily competed at many feiseanna in the Mid-America region & at the Mid-America Oireachtas.  She also performed regularly over the years and had the opportunity to dance with the Chieftans here in Louisville.  


Emily is a graduate of the University of Louisville and works full time in addition to teaching ceili and solo classes.

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Juliana is an accredited teacher of Irish dance, qualified by An Coimisiun le Rince Gaelacha in Dublin, Ireland. She began dancing at age 8 under the direction of Heather McClanahan, ADCRG.

As a student of the McClanahan School, she competed at the Mid-America Regional Championships and enjoyed the opportunity to perform with the Chieftains. She has been teaching dance since 1999.


Juliana and her husband, David, have five children. Saoirse (9) plays soccer and wants to be just like Megan Rapinoe. Aisling (7) enjoys gymnastics and acting. She wants to be a famous actress one day. Aoife (5) is a budding artist and also loves gymnastics. Eibhlin (3) is obsessed with doing gymnastics and loves to craft. Atticus (1) dances to Baby Shark and his favorite movies are Toy Story and Frozen II.

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