Nicole McKeever grew up with a love of dance and Celtic music. Her family always celebrated their Irish American heritage and it was at a Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Columbus, Ohio that young Nicole was first awestruck by a troupe of Irish Dancers. It wouldn’t be until her family’s move to New Jersey at age 12 that there would be the means to support her Irish Dance career. She began Irish dancing with the DeNogla School in New Jersey and quickly moved up from beginner to Open Champion, achieving top three standings at the Regional Oireachtas, ranking top 5 out of American competitors at the North American Championships, and medalling at All Ireland and World Championships for which she qualified for six times.
After completing her Undergraduate Degree in the Visual Arts at Rutgers University, Nicole moved to Ireland to earn a Masters Degree in Irish Dance Performance from the University of Limerick. During her studies in Ireland, Nicole worked with famous choreographers including Colin Dunne and Breandan De Gallai. Her studies at the University taught her various forms of Irish dance, some dances older than 150 years. Additionally, Nicole studied Contemporary Dance, Ballet, Tap and even other International Folk Dance styles during her time in Ireland. While earning her M.A. in Irish Traditional Dance Performance, she continued to compete internationally and study with the Michael Ryan School in Tipperary, Ireland. She competed under Michael Ryan's guidance for two years, qualifying for the Worlds twice, Medalling at the All–Irelands and ranking 4th at the Munster Championships. These two pivotal years studying Irish Dance at its source in the heart of Ireland shaped Nicole as a dancer and a teacher.
Nicole was asked to tutor the M.A. and B.A. students in Irish Dance at the University of Limerick. In 2007 she began an exciting professional career with the respected show Ragus, touring multiple times across Europe and Asia. In 2008 she was scouted and joined Riverdance the Show where she toured with the company full time until her recent move to California in 2013. She has danced across four continents, 26 countries, 49 states and some of her tour highlights include performing at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia; the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles, California; the Hammersmith in London, England's West End and dancing for the Princess of Hawaii in Honolulu, Hawaii. She was also the solo dancer chosen to be featured on Riverdance's posters for Summer and Fall of 2012. A signed copy of this poster is preserved in the National Dance Archives in Ireland.
Nicole has shared the professional stage with some of today's leading innovators in Irish Dance. In 2012 she earned her T.C.R.G. (Irish Dance Teaching Qualification/ Teagascóir Choimisiúin le Rinci Gaelacha) with An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha (an international governing body of Irish Dance). Nicole has taught classes and workshops in New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Brazil. She is also a member of The International Dance Council CID, in Paris, which is recognized by UNESCO. Nicole brings her sincere love of Irish Dance to California where her family has lived for five generations.
A heartfelt “thank you” goes out to her mom and dad who among so many things drove an hour and a half to practice each way up the NJ Turnpike multiple times a week to help Nicole achieve her dream. Thanks also go out to her Aunt Linda and Uncle Chris who inspired her move to Sacramento and have been an instrumental guidance to her as a business owner.
What is a TCRG? - T.C.R.G. (Irish Dance Teaching Qualification/ Teagascóir Choimisiúin le Rinci Gaelacha) with An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha (an international governing body of Irish Dance). In order to earn this qualification a teacher must complete 12 grade exams that can take up to 2 years to complete. Then they are eligible to sit the TCRG Examination. This is a two day exam (with a 33% pass rate!) that tests a candidate's knowledge of over 70 specific dances. There is a dancing section, a written exam, a two part teaching exam in front of a panel of judges and a music examination. Knowing your teacher holds this title means they have gone through great lengths to study the Art of Irish Dance.
"MY PATH FROM BEGINNER TO CHAMPION, FROM THE COMPETITIVE STAGE TO THE WORLD STAGE."
Nicole McKeever Performing at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia. 2009. Reel Around the Sun
Nicole McKeever Performing at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia. Heartland from Riverdance. 2009
Nicole McKeever in Highlights of Ragus an Seo, Summer of 2007, Japanese Tour.
Dancer and Choreographer: Nicole McKeever. www.McKeeverDance.com Video and Editing: Natalie M. McKeever. www.NatalieMcKeever.com Track: "Calico" by Flook. Shot on IPhone 5S. Filmed in Balboa Park, San Diego, CA.
Dancer and Choreographer Nicole McKeever www.McKeeverDance.com Video and Editing Natalie McKeever www.NatalieMcKeever.com Music Intro by The xx