McConnell Irish Dance


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



Due to the Covid-19 pandemic we will only be offering on-line lessons for April, May, and June 2020.

On-line classes are held through ZOOM, a meeting conference service available for all home computers, cell phones, and tablets.  In addition to on-line classes, we've created Google Classrooms for each level with helpful at home practice resources including downloadable practice music, dance instructional videos, practice assignments, and more!


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.



Recreational Division

Winnipeg & Brandon Locations

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

  • Dancers learn traditional steps & modern styles.
  • Suitable for levels 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.

  • Preschool (ages 3 - 4)
  • Beginner (ages 5 - 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 by enrolling in our competitive division 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.  


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 Recreational Division Dancers.


  • Preschool & 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 perform. 

  • Costumes are ordered in November each season.
  • 2nd hand costumes may be purchased through our student's association.
  • Irish Dance Wigs are optional for all Recreational Division Dancers.

Costume Fees

Preschool - Beginner $75 - $125    

Novice, Preliminary, Intermediate, Advanced $195    Adult $100 - $195

Competitive Division

Winnipeg & Brandon Locations

Sept - May for dancers who wish to compete in our Canada Féile and the Canadian Open Championships. 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 Ullmhúchan Meanghrád  Ardghrad Craobhghrád

Dancers begin at Level 1 (Bunghrád) and progress through the Level 5 Championship (Craobhghrád). 


CRN North American Feis are held in many 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 & Canadian Open Championships

McConnell School of Dance hosts the Canadian Open Championships in November and Canada Féile at the end of May.  CRN Adjudicators are brought in from Ireland and all competitive dancers have the opportunity to compete locally, without the burden and expense having to travel to competitions.


  • Bunghrád - Soft Shoes 
  • Ullmhúchán, Meanghrád, Ardghrad, Craobhghrád - 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 also 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 training.

Students wishing to perform are encouraged to enrol in 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.
  • Dancers should be proficient in all four CRN Level 1 dances before auditioning.
  • All Performance Dancers are required to attend  competitive solo & ceili/team classes for their appropriate level.

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.


Winnipeg Performance Costumes

Junior Performance Dress $400 - $450

Full Performance Dress $900 - $950

Boys Costumes - $250 - $350

Solo Costume, Additional Show Costumes may be required.

Brandon Performance Costumes

Brandon Performance $125 - $195


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;

  • March St. Patrick's Performances
  • St. Patrick’s Fest
  • St.Patrick's Mon
  • Year End Recital
  • Canada Day
  • Folklorama 


  • Schedule is subject to change at the discretion of McConnell School of Dance
  • There will be a minimum of five students in a class and maximum of 8 student's per instructor.  Assistants are brought in for larger classes to insure all students receive adequate one-on-one time with an instructor.
  • 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.      



A yearly, non-refundable, registration fee will apply for all students.  Family Discounts are applied (same household).

  • $30 - 1 Student   
  • $50 - 2 Students   
  • $65 - 3 Students or more 

Registration fees are posted and processed at the commencement of each season, upon registration of classes.  Only 1 registration fee is applied per family, per year.




  • Approximately 36 weeks of classesSeptember through end of May


  • April - June 2020 (or until physical distancing is no longer required


  • Approximately 8 weeks of classes, June through end of July


Fees are based on an average of 4 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 and family discounts​.




Fees are divided into monthly payments, for the duration of the session.

  • Monthly fees may be scheduled for the 1st or 15th of each month. 
  • Monthly fees are processed automatically through a secure on-line payment processing (SafeSafe).
  • Pupils may process their payment at anytime prior to the due date in the Student Portal.
  • Families must keep a valid credit card or banking information on file at all times.


 1. Visa, MasterCard, AMEX

  • Credit cards must be registered on our secure card processing system (SafeSafe) at the time of registration.
  • $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.

$25 Fee automatically applied to declined transactions & Late Fees will apply.


To ensure tuition payments are made in a timely manner, late fees will be applied to any payment outstanding two weeks of the due date. 
The due date is your selected payment date (1st or 15th of each month). Late fees will be automatically charged to the credit card or bank account on file (provided at time of registration).

  • Late Payment Fee $15 /month 
  • $25 Fee automatically applied to declined transactions & Late Fees will apply.

If there is a family emergency or extenuating circumstances, please reach out to us to discuss potential payment plans.  We are always willing to work with families who require financial considerations to insure dancers can continue to take lessons with our school.


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 calculated in the Student Portal monthly fees. 

Family Discounts

Family discount pricing is available to all dancers enrolled in classes from the same household.  Family Fees are calculated after Multi-Class Discounts to ensure the lowest possible rate for pupils.

  • Please note, due to restrictions with our Student Portal, discounts are not automatically applied when registering for classes in the Student Portal. 
  • Please allow 24 - 28 hours for our system to apply your discounts before attempting to process fees.

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 first 4 months of classes.  After 4 months a $55 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 $55 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, monthly fees will not be reimbursed.


Missed classes due to dancer's scheduling difficulties will not be refunded or applied as credit.  Dancers are expected to attend the classes they have registered for.
​ An excessive number of missed classes, as determined by McConnell School of Dance, may prevent your dancer from participating in certain performances and competitions.

  • Make-Up classes are not available for Recreational or Performance classes as our choreography is planned for each lesson. 
  • Make-Up lessons for Competitive Division classes are only available in the same week of the missed lesson. Please contact us prior to attending a make-up class.  



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. 

  • Dancers who's lessons have been cancelled due to inclement weather are invited to attend a Competitive Division Class the same week, to make up for the missed lesson.  Please contact us prior to attending a make-up class.

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. 




  • The studio is open 15 min prior to classes commencing. 
  • Dancers are encouraged to arrive early enough to allow time for them to get changed into their dance attire so they are ready to begin classes on time. 
  • Please to arrive on time for pick-up.  Additional charges may apply for dancers who frequently delay instructors departure time.


  • ​Parking is available in the 4 spots in front of the studio and on Barberry Road.
  • Please do not park in spots designated for other businesses as your vehicle may be towed.


  • Our waiting room is open during classes for dancers and parents.  As space is limited, please refrain from bringing additional family members or friends.  
  • 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.
  • Viewing windows are located in our Winnipeg Studios A & B.  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.
  • Outdoor footwear may be worn in the waiting room, however if dancers or parents wish to use the restroom or enter the studio, please remove all footwear first.
  • Please keep the waiting room a positive environment and avoid discussions which may be considered negative, controversial or upsetting to a healthy learning environment for our dancers.


  • Only dancers allowed in the change room, for privacy reasons. 
  • Please remove outside footwear in the waiting room, before proceeding to change room or restroom. 
  • No food or drink in the change room or dance studios.


  • No outside shoes in dance studios.
  • ​Dancers are to remain in the waiting room until the previous class has left the studio and their instructor has come to waiting room to welcome them in.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 

  • Video taping is not permitted during classes.


  • Regular attendance is expected for all dancers.  Students who miss classes and fall behind may not perform in all routines or may be asked to take additional private or technique lessons to catch up with their class.
  • 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 absences.
  • Respectful, positive attitude towards instructors and fellow dancers must be demonstrated by dancers and their parents at all times.  Dancers or parents who exhibit negative behaviour towards instructors, other students, or parents will be asked to leave the school.
  • 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 issues immediately after the lesson. Dancers with excessive behavioural issues will not be allowed to continue their dance training at McConnell School of Dance.

Recommended Lesson Attire 
Female Dancers

  • Tights, leotards, body-suits, dance pants, and dance skirts are acceptable
  • Shorts are allowed as long as they are made from a stretchable fabric
  • Plain t-shirts are permissible as long as they allow for movement.  Overly large sweatshirts may not be worn in class
  • Hair should be tied back securely jewellery should be limited

Male Dancers

  • Shorts made with stretchable fabric are acceptable
  • Pants are allowed as long as they are loose fitting
  • Plain t-shirts which allow for movement and are not overly large are preferred



If you wish to change your contact information or add additional family members, please use the Student Portal to update your information.  It is the pupil's responsibility to insure you maintain up to date contact information.


Our website is updated regularly with news and school events. All school emails are posted in the student's area of the website and can be view in the Student Portal.
  • Please visit the member’s area of the website often and check e-mail in order to keep yourself informed. 
  • If you are uncertain of school policies, order deadlines, and events, please refer to the website and Student Handbook for clarification.
Student's Area
All McConnell School of Dance students and parents will have access to the members section of our website.
Member name and password (indicated on your registration email) will be required to access the member’s page.  
Please contact us immediately if you do not have a member login to the website.
Facebook – Our Facebook page & groups are updated regularly and are a great way to keep informed about the school, follow our events & photos.
Join our Facebook Groups

Dancer's family members are always welcome to join our Facebook groups to keep up to date with their Irish dance activities.

Like our Facebook page
Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Instagram
Dancers or parents on Social Networks & Facebook should remain respectful to fellow students, the school, and instructors at all times.   
Negative or hurtful comments will not be tolerated and dancers will be asked to leave the school should we become aware of inappropriate behaviour on-line.  
Dancers and parents are welcome to post photos and videos from class and performance in the CLOSED FACEBOOK GROUPS FOR THEIR DIVISION. 
Photos posted in these groups should NOT be shared on any personal accounts without prior permission from McConnell School of Dance.
  • Photos of McConnell Irish Dance classes and performances may be posted on dancers and family personal social media accounts.  
  • Please be selective with your photos and make sure photographs are appropriate.  Be considerate of others in the photograph who may not wish to have their photo view on-line.  
  • Photos posted on McConnell Irish Dancer's official social media accounts may be shared on dancer's and family social media accounts at any time.
  • Videos of McConnell Irish Dance performances remain the artistic property of McConnell Irish Dancers and should not be posted on the internet or on personal social media accounts of any kind.
  • In special circumstances, short video clips (20 second maximum) may be posted, with permission.  Please email to obtain permission BEFORE posting any videos.
  • Videos posted on McConnell Irish Dancer's official social media accounts may be shared on dancer's and family social media accounts at any time.


Instructors are not available for discussions with dancers or parents before or during the lesson as their time must be focused on their job, which is to teach Irish dance.  

Issues arising at class or after performances should be dealt with at the end of every class.  If this is not possible, please email to arrange for a meeting to discuss your concerns.

For non-urgent matters, please contact us via email at

For serious issues, please email to schedule a meeting

  • Unless an absolute emergency, please do not disturb instructors during class time.
  • Please do not send Facebook messages to instructors personal accounts or the McConnell Irish Dancer's Page AT ANY TIME.  Questions should be sent via email only please.


  • Please limit text to your instructors for urgent matters pertaining to class or shows and during studio business hours only.  
  • Instructors are available to receive text messages 1 hour before class / shows and 1 hour afterwards only.
  • For instructor privacy, text messages from dancers and parents are blocked during non-business hours and WILL NOT BE SEEN. 
  • If you have sent a text during non-business hours, it will not be answered so please email us instead.

All communication, newsletters, and school notices, are sent through email. Please provide a current email address on your registration form to receive school information throughout the dance year and update your information in the Student Portal should you have a change in contact information.