Irish dance teacher Unataresa Sheahan-Gormley

UNATARESA SHEAHAN-GORMLEY

Occupation:

Irish dancing teacher, part owner of two gymnastic facilities and owner of a homeless shelter.

 

Tell us about yourself.

“I was born and bred in the Bronx. I am part of a very musical talented family. My mom is from Co. Longford and my dad from Co. Kerry.  My family was always very involved in the community and everything Irish. I am married to Samuel Gormley from Omagh, Co. Tyrone and we have an eight-year-old son, Shea Anthony Gormley.”

 

Do you travel to Ireland?

“Yes, I travel to Ireland several times a year. I was just there for the All-Ireland Championships in Kerry in February. In April I attended the World Dancing Championships in Philadelphia. I also join my son and husband when they travel over to Ireland for the summer to spend time with family and business.”

 

When did you start dancing?

“At the age of three with the Anna O'Sullivan School of Dancing. Dancing and music was in the blood, part of our being, part of our soul!”

 

What is your greatest Irish dance achievement? 

“I won my first open championship at the age of eight. I traveled to Ireland every year dancing and placing in local competitions all over Ireland.  When I was 11 I placed sixth at the regional Oireachtas and qualified for worlds several times.  

“My greatest achievement in Irish dancing is being a teacher and having the opportunity to share my culture, traditions and talent with the younger generations of today.  

 

How would you describe today’s Irish dancing generation?

“Today's younger generation is diverse, and to see their willingness to learn and to watch their accomplishments is very rewarding.  This past March was one of the biggest challenges and achievements in my career to date. We hosted the first Big Apple Feis in New York City.  So many opportunities and doors have opened due to this event.”

 

When did you start your own school?

“I started teaching with my brother at the age of 16 for several Irish cultural societies, and I opened my own school in the Bronx after I took the TCRG exam and became a qualified teacher. I have many hopes and dreams for the school. Even though we are a small, family orientated school, we do have a few young ones who have qualified for major championships. Some have come home with regional, national and All-Ireland medals. Now my goal is that they bring home a world medal.”

 

What do you do in your spare time?

“Me and my husband have been working and volunteering for Project Children for the past 12 years.  We have opened our home and our hearts to several children throughout the years. We have been taking the same children plus new ones every year, their part of our extended family now.  All the children are talented in their own way. We've seen them go through college and get married.”