Emma Burke

TCRG

Emma was born in Dublin, Ireland and grew up in Atlanta. Emma began Irish dancing in Atlanta at the age of 10 with the Mulligan School of Irish Dance in Marietta, Georgia. She continued Irish dancing in Atlanta under the instruction of June Butler, owner of the world-renowned Butler Academy of Irish Dance (The Butler Academy, based out of Canada, is now known as the Butler-Fearon-O'Connor School of Irish Dance).

During her dancing career, Emma competed all over the world, winning titles throughout. Most notably, Emma competed in the World Championships of Irish dance many times, recalling and earning world medals.  Her highest placement at the World Championships was 17th.  Emma is also a four-time winner of the Southern Regional Championship, from 1999-2002.  Emma also competed in the North American National Championship multiple times, consistently placing in the top 10, and earning her highest place at Nationals of 5th place. In addition to competing in the World Championships, Emma also competed and placed at the Great Britain Championships.

Today, Emma is a successful attorney practicing in Atlanta in the area of Commercial Litigation and Construction Law. Outside of her career in law, Emma continues to pursue her passion of Irish dance in Atlanta with a commitment to excellence and a goal of cultivating that same drive and passion in the hearts of her students, regardless of age or experience.

Erin Connolly

TCRG

Erin was born in Toronto Canada and started Irish dancing at the age of 5 with the renowned Butler Academy of Irish Dance. Her parents, from County Roscommon in Ireland, instilled in her the love for Irish dance at a very young age. Erin's first dance teacher was Mae Butler, who was one of the founding members of IDTANA, The North American Irish Dancing Teachers Association. She continued dancing under the direction of Mae's daughter June Butler for the majority of her competitive career and later danced with Rose Fearon when the school became "The Butler Fearon School of Canada" (Now known as Butler-Fearon-O'Connor).

Erin's competitive titles include four time Southern Region champion, placing several times in the top 10 at the North American Irish Dance Championships, as well as recalling at the All Ireland and World Championships of Irish dance.

Her accomplishments led to performances with the Chieftains, Cherish the Ladies's, the Wolf Tones, and Eileen Iverson. Erin also joined "The Trinity Irish Dance Company" and performed in various cities throughout North America. At the age of 20 Erin was asked to join the touring cast of "Riverdance - The Show". In 2008 Erin graduated from The Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta with Highest Honors and went on to complete her Master of Architecture at the University of Illinois in Chicago in 2011.

She currently works at an Architecture firm in Atlanta while also spreading her love and talent of Irish dancing to her students. She has three young children Declan,  Riordan & Maragaret, who she hopes will one day join the Burke Connolly dance family!


Molly Gareau

Teaching Assistant

After living mostly overseas for most of her childhood, Molly returned State side to the Washington DC area at age 11.  That same year she began Irish dancing with the O'Neill James School of Irish Dance in Falls Church, VA.  She quickly advanced to the level of Open Championship, and won the Southern Regional Oireachtas in 1999.  Molly also competed at the North American Irish Dance Championships twice, and was a 3 time World Championship qualifier. She continued to dance through college in Cincinnati with her Irish Band, Julia's Feathers, where they performed at local pubs, various cultural events, and Celtic festivals.

Molly graduated from Xavier University in 2002 with a BA in Music Performance (flute) and a BA in International Affairs.  Today Molly lives in Marietta, GA and works at several area high schools with their band programs, while also keeping up a private flute studio at home and playing with the  Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra. She enjoys time with her family, including husband Brian, and her five daughters.  Molly spends a lot of her free time working with her youngest daughter who was born with hydrocephalus, and always looks forward to the time she is able to spend at the Burke Connolly studio. She enjoys helping with classes and watching the students and her own daughters enjoy their love of Irish dancing. 

Helen Hillis

Teaching Assistant

Helen began dancing at the age of 4 at the Clarkson School in Saint Louis, Missouri. What started as a casual hobby quickly flourished into a lifelong passion. She trained under world-renowned dancer and choreographer, John Carey, both in Saint Louis and at his studio in Birmingham, England. During her college years in Milwaukee, Helen danced with the Beglan Academy under the direction of former Riverdance lead dancer, Sean Beglan.

Her competitive record includes multiple recalls and placements at the Mid America Oireachtas, North American National Championship, Great Britain Championship, All Ireland, and All Scotland. Most notably she earned a top five placement at the Mid-America Oireachtas and competed at the CLRG World Championships.

Helen graduated summa cum laude from Marquette University in 2014 with a BA in International Affairs and a BA in Spanish. She moved to Atlanta after graduation to join Teach For America and currently works as an elementary school Spanish teacher in South Atlanta. Helen is thrilled to be part of the Burke Connolly family which shares her values of positivity, enthusiasm, and passion for Irish dance. 

 

Natalie Findling

Teaching Assistant

Natalie was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. Natalie began Irish dancing in Atlanta at the age of 6 with the Mulligan School of Irish Dance in Marietta, GA. She continued Irish dancing in Detroit, MI at the O'Hare School of Irish Dance. From there she trained under the instruction of June Butler, owner of the word-renowned Butler Academy of Irish Dance. 

Throughout her career, Natalie competed at the regional, national and world level, qualifying for the World Championships of Irish Dance seven times and placing as high as 25th at the North American Irish Dance Championships. Natalie's titles also include Southern Region champion, 2004. 

Natalie currently resides in Atlanta and works as an advertising professional. She hopes to share the "bug" of Irish dance and help all students reach and push the boundaries of their potential.