The Kelly School of Traditional Irish dance has been bringing Irish Dance and culture to hundreds of South Bay children for over 35 years. The school was originally started by Joan Kelly, who has handed down the celtic traditions and teachings to her twin daughters Claire and Carol. Together, the Kelly family continues to bring irish culture and tradition to children of the south bay in a warm family atmospere. The school is under the direction of Claire Kelly Maxwell, TCRG, Joan Kelly, TCRG, and Carol Kelly Pirsztuk, TCRG. If you would like more information please see our About page or the Contacts page.
Our 8-Hand Team (under 10) placed 1st at the 2007 Western Region Oireachtas competition. They have qualified for the National competition to be held in Nashville TN July 2008. We are fundraising to help with expenses. Please support the team by particpating in our fundraising events listed in the Calendar below.
The Kelly School was founded by Joan Kelly over 35 years ago. Mrs. Kelly has taught Irish dance not only to her daughters, but to over a thousand children in the South Bay. The school today is made up of over one hundred students, of which some are children of Mrs. Kelly’s earliest students. The Kelly school has a family atmosphere and encourages friendship, as well as competition. Students who retire from the Kelly School possess confidence, stage presence and good sportsmanship as well as a knowledge of an ancient Celtic tradition.
Irish dance did not always flourish in Southern California. The Kelly school was one of only five schools in the all of Southern California. Feisianna (Irish dance competition) was also scarce; dancers would have to travel to San Francisco to compete. Mr. & Mrs. Kelly were part of an organization that held one of only two competitions in Southern California.
In the early years of the Kelly school, Mrs. Kelly taught dancing at Holy Trinity, St. Margaret Mary’s, St. Marks, American Martyrs, St. John Fisher, St. Lawrence, & St. Anthony’s. Mrs. Kelly was awarded Irish woman of the year in 1990 for her tremendous ability to educate Irish culture in America. The Kelly school has danced at thousands of functions and have been instrumental in the flourishing interest of Irish dance in Southern California. The Kelly School has performed with, the Chieftains, Natalie McMaster, 1984 Olympic Games, and the Catholic Conference, just to name a few.
The school is currently under the direction of Claire Maxwell, Joan Kelly and Carol Pirsztuk. They teach students ranging in ages from four to young adults. The girls and boys compete throughout the United States and do numerous shows and community events year round.
Claire Kelly Maxwell, T.C.R.G.* Claire received her T.C.R.G. in 1987 just after completing her bachelor degree at Loyola Marymount University. After working within the Oil and Gas industry for over 15 years, Claire retired from the industry to become a full time Irish dance teacher and a stay at home mom. Claire officially became the head director of the Kelly School in 2003 after her Mom, Joan Kelly, semi-retired. Claire has been Irish dancing since the age of four and competed throughout her life until going off to college. Claire has competed throughout the United States and the Worlds in Ireland as well as dancing at more performances than one can remember.
Joan Kelly, T.C.R.G. Joan was born in Dublin Ireland in the late 20’s. In the early 50’s Joan and her family immigrated to the United States searching for a better way of life. Joan’s family has been immersed within Irish dance since the 19th century. Joan’s aunt Kitty Murtha was the director of a well established school in Dublin Ireland until immigrating to the United States. Joan continued her family tradition and made sure her children were educated in Irish dance at a very young age. Joan’s two daughters Claire and Carol are currently T.C.R.G.’s within the Kelly School. Joan has taught Irish dance to over a thousand children in the South Bay and was named Irish woman of the year in 1990 for her tremendous ability to educate Irish culture in America.
Carol Kelly Pirsztuk, T.C.R.G. Carol also received her T.C.R.G. in 1987 just after completing her bachelor degree at Loyola Marymount University (twin thing). After working for many years in retail buying Carol made the transition to the Entertainment industry and is currently the Vice President of Sales Planning, Communications, Merchandising and New Business development at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE). Carol competed for many years at the National and World level and currently focuses her teaching time on advance levels.
* Note: TCRG is an acronym for the Irish Gaelic words "Teasgicoir Choimisiuin Le Rinci Gaelacha". The English translation is “Gaelic Commission Dancing Teacher”. Those who pass the Gaelic Commission Dancing Teacher examination receive the TCRG (Teasgicoir Coimisiún Le Rinci Gaelacha) certification and can work as certified Irish dance instructors.
Monday (1st Monday of month always no classes)
5:00pm-6:30pm All Levels class at American Martyrs, Manhattan Beach
7:00pm-8:30pm Championship level class at Kelly School Dance Studio, El Segundo
4:00pm-5:00pm Beginner Level class at Kelly School Dance Studio, El Segundo
4:30pm-5:30pm Advanced Beginner Level class at Kelly School Dance Studio, El Segundo
3:00pm-3:30pm Warm up period at St. Lawrence School Auditorium, Redondo Beach
3:30pm-5:00pm Beginner - Novice level class at Kelly School Dance Studio, El Segundo
6:30pm-7:00pm Preliminary Championship level class at Kelly School Dance Studio, El Segundo
7:00pm-9:00pm Championship level class at Kelly School Dance Studio, El Segundo
3:oopm-9:00pm Private classes at Kelly School Dance Studio, El Segundo
3:30pm-4:30pm Beginner class at American Martyrs, Manhattan Beach
5:00pm-6:30pm Novice & Prizewinners class at American Martyrs, Manhattan Beach
6:45pm-9:00pm Championship level class at American Martyrs, Manhattan Beach
Saturday & Sunday
Feishes and other activities are held on weekends periodically throughout the year.
Class Information and Emergencies
Clair Maxwell, 310-322-9090, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pamela Clarke, email@example.com
Dress Design, Maria Ball, 949 941-9829
Irish Imports, Imelda McCann, 818 505-9221, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reel Curls, Valerie Twitchell, 310 528-2964, email@example.com
Kelly School Studio The Kelly School Dance Studio is located at 513 Main St., El Segundo, CA 90245. The entrance is around back via the alley. Parking is on the corner in the public parking lot. Google Map
American Martyrs School We also hold classes at American Martyrs School Hall located at 1701 Laurel Avenue, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266. The hall is located directly across from the baseball field. Parking is in the parking lot between the field and the hall. Google Map
St. Lawrence School Auditorium Dance classes are also held at the St. Lawrence School Auditorium located at 1900 S Prospect Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90277. The entrance is... and parking is... Google Map
Irish Dancing Links
FeisWorx.com (Feis information, registration and results)
NorthAmerican FeisCommission.org (Dancing Competition Rules, etc)
Dance-Again.com (Buy and sell solo dresses, shoes, and more)
Dance.net (For sale, message board, tips and techniques, etc)
BackBattertoe.com (Dresses, fabrics, floors, wigs, photos, etc)
WesternUSRegion.com (Feisana, Oireachtas, and schools info)
KelsoCovers.com (Dress bags)
DanceIrish.com (Conway's Irish for shoes, socks, wigs, dress bags)
Our Dance Studio