The D’Arcy School of Irish Dance, operated by Colleen Nicosia TCRG, places an emphasis on kindness at every class
Earlier this month, IrishCentral asked for nominations for Irish dance schools to receive a special feature on our website. We received plenty of wonderful recommendations from all over the world, but one of the first ones we received from was from an Irish dance mom in New Jersey.
Colleen Nicosia, TCRG and her school the D’Arcy School of Irish Dance were nominated by Nicole Telerico, who told IrishCentral: “The owner and teacher Colleen Nicosia is by far the most encouraging and talented person I have met.
“When my girls started dancing with this school three years ago, she welcomed them into what is a true family. She makes dancing fun and is not overly discouraging or demanding. She teaches them to set goals and to be proud of every achievement no matter how small. My kids look forward to every single class and have never felt so accomplished before in anything they have done.
“When I look around at a Feis I never fail to see fellow D’Arcy dancers cheering on their teammates and truly being happy for each other’s accomplishments, and that’s something that Colleen instills in her dancers.”
Colleen Nicosia, TCRG told IrishCentral that she grew up Irish dancing at the Patricia Murphy School of Irish Dance in New Jersey. After college, Nicosia found herself working in New York City, but soon realized that Irish dancing was “missing” from her life.
Nicosia set out to get her TCRG certification and, after achieving it on her first attempt, she began teaching alongside her former instructor Patty Murphy. A year later, Murphy decided it was time to retire from teaching, so Nicosia purchased the dance school and relaunched it as the D’Arcy School of Irish Dance, named for her grandparents Andrew and Bridget D’arcy who came to America from Co Kerry in 1959.
Nicosia now runs the D’Arcy School full time and offers classes mainly in Wall, New Jersey, but also in Brick and Fair Haven. The school, affiliated with the CLRG organization, accepts students from ages 3 to adult and teaches traditional solo and ceili Irish dancing. Students can choose to Irish dance as a hobby, or go on to compete.
Students from the D'Arcy School have competed at local, regional, and national competitions, and even took a team to compete in the dance drama at the 2019 World Irish Dancing Championships.
While Nicosia aims to see her students succeed in competition, she stresses “it’s not all about winning. Irish dance is so much more than that!
“We love to feis and we love to win, but I constantly stress the importance of having fun and loving to dance. I feel that the 'fun' part is often forgotten. We are proud of our unique talent.”
D’Arcy friends creating fun memories at the Oireachtas!! #teamdarcy #darcyirishdancePubliée par D'Arcy School of Irish Dance sur Mercredi 4 décembre 2019
One of the most important things that Nicosia aims to instill in her some 150 students is kindness. At every class during stretches, each student gets to tell the class what kind deed they accomplished that day.
“Being kind during class and outside of class is the culture of our school,” says Nicosia, “Everyone who steps through our doors feels welcomed, accepted, and loved.”
Putting her teachings of kindness into practice, Nicosia says that every St. Patrick's Day, naturally the busiest season of the year for Irish dancers, she books "not just big shows" but performances at "nursing homes and homes for children with special needs, and hospitals.
"Giving back is the biggest gift we can do as artists.”
Looking ahead, Nicosia hopes to see some of her students go on to achieve their TCRGs, just as she did under the guidance of her Irish dance teacher Patty Murphy.
“Our students might not be world champions, says Nicosia, “but to me, they are my WORLD and they are my champions.”
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Do you know an Irish dance school you'd like to nominate to be featured on IrishCentral? Email us at Editors@IrishCentral.com!