Saturday, 19 December 2015

Holiday Break

Holiday Break
A reminder the studio  will be closed December 20th – January 3rd, 2016 . 
Classes will resume Monday, January 4th, 2016.

Wishing our dancers and their families all the best of the season.

Nollaig shona duit!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Buying Christmas gifts or new items that need labelling? Support McConnell School of Dance Student Association by ordering Mabel's Labels.
It is a simple easy process.
1) Visit the website,
2) Click the “Support A Fundraiser” button located on the top of your screen
3) Select your School/Organization or Camp from the drop-down list.
4) Start ordering.

20% of your order will go to McConnell School of Dance Student Association to pay for water for students. As an added bonus, you can save 10% by putting in the code McConnell10 when you complete your form. This code is good until March, 2016 so tell your friends and family to order as well.
Thank you for supporting MSDSA.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival - January 28th – January 30th, 2016

Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival - January 28th – January 30th, 2016
All Brandon dancers are invited to perform at the Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival, sponsored by the Irish Society of Western Manitoba.
1) Please confirm your participation with Mary-Margaret by no later than Saturday, December 19th
2) If you wish to book a room at the Victoria Inn, please confirm with Tracy Balagus by no later than Saturday, December 19th
Irish Pavilion & Hotel Location
Royal Oak Inn - 3130 Victoria Ave, Brandon
Hotel Check In 3:00 PM Check Out 11:00 AM
*Rooms are offered at a discount rate through the Irish Society of Western Manitoba. In order to receive the discount rooms MUST be reserved through Tracy Balagus
Brandon Performance Dates: Friday, January 29th (evening) and Saturday, January 30th (afternoon & evening)
More information and performance schedule will follow in the new year.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Brandon Holiday Potluck

Brandon Holiday Potluck
We will be holding a pot luck dinner for dancers and parents and Secret Santa gift exchange on Saturday, December 19th from 12:30  - 3:00 PM.  Please note, classes for all levels will run from 11:00  - 12:30 PM on December 19th, so we don’t lose valuable rehearsal time before our performances for Winter Festival.
Secret Santa Names will be chosen on Saturday, December 5th.  If you are unable to attend this class, a name will be selected on your behalf.  If you do not wish to participate in the gift exchange please let us know before Saturday, December 5th.
A reminder of the "rules" we have for our gift exchange:
-          A limit of $10
-          No gift cards please
-          Homemade gifts are welcome and sometimes more personal
-          Label your gift without signing your name.
-          We ask that all gifts be brought to class on Saturday, December 19th.
Mary-Margaret will have a sign -up sheet for the potluck supper. 
If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us!
Thank you,


Traditional Music Lessons

Are you interested in Traditional Music from IRELAND & UK?
Please see the message below from Paul & Susan Hammer who offer traditional Irish music lessons for all ages!
Lessons & Classes In the City of Winnipeg & MB Interlake
Susan Hammer T.T.C.T. (Honours) Ireland; B. Music
Paul Hammer M. Music; B. Music
For more information check out their web site at

Hello folks,
As you know Paul and I are available for music lessons/classes IN THE CITY!!!!m We teach EVERY SATURDAY at the Winnipeg Conservatory of Music in Winnipeg (WCMusic)

Paul teaches private lessons (not just Irish music) which you can join at any time during the year and take weekly or bi-weekly lessons.
I offer Irish Traditional Music Classes for all instruments/all levels.
My classes are in 12-week terms @ $240/term Advance registration is required. This is a steal of a deal!!! Only $20/hour for top level instruction (if I do say so myself..... smile emoticon
If you plan to sign up for the term that starts in January (next month!) - please contact me (or the WCMusic) soon.
In my classes you will learn authentic Irish traditional music and style including Rhythm, Tunes, Technique, Ornamentation, plus you will learn about the Tradition (tune history, style history, great players, regional styles etc etc)I also offer private lessons (weekly or bi-weekly) for anyone interested.
So ....what are you waiting for? Don't miss this opportunity!
Improve your skills....learn new ones....develop your understanding of Traditional Irish Music.
Please share this info with anyone who might be interested.
PS - don't forget our Christmas Ceili on Dec 13th at the WCMusic in Winnipeg.
Susan Hammer

MSDSA - Holiday Blessing Bags

To all members of McConnell School of Dance Students Association,

As the holiday season approaches, the MSDSA board generally collects for a family from the Cheer Board. This year we discussed trying something different to help some of the unfortunate people who may be out on the streets alone this Christmas. We hope to help more people and give them the hope and love everyone deserves at this special time of year.

What we will be gathering is a list of specific items that will be placed in strong Ziploc bags (supplied) and given out to those on the street. They will be called Blessing Bags. The children of the dance divisions will be asked to make inspirational or thoughtful cards that will be placed in the bag with the items. If a family would like to take a couple of the filled bags and hand them out personally to someone they may see often out on the street, you are welcome to do so. Otherwise we will bring them to one of the shelters like Siloam Mission to hand out as people visit the shelter during the Christmas Season.  Suggestions for donated items are below.

There will be a box left in the studio to collect any items you may wish to donate.

Thank you from the MSDSA Board.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

No Classes – Wednesday November 11th, 2015

No Classes – Wednesday November 11th, 2015

In honour of Remembrance Day, there will be no classes on Wednesday  November 11th 2015

Thank you

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Rince Nua Feile Information

Best wishes and safe travels to all our dancers competing at the Rince Nua Feile this weekend.  You’ve all worked very hard and we know you will make us all proud of your accomplishments!  

Rince Nua Feile Information

Dancer's Entry Number
•             Upon arrival, each dancer will need to check-in at the Dancer Registration table to receive his/her entry number.
•             The dancer's entry number will need to be worn on his/her competition outfit (securely attached by a safety pin or ribbon). Please come prepared with safety pins!
•             This number will be used throughout the day for every competition entered.
Awards Ceremony
•             There will be an awards ceremony after each level.
•             A Rince Nua Feile medal will be awarded for the overall winner of each dance, and the top 3 dancers will be recognized on the podium. 
•             Additional (fun!) awards will be given as well! 

8:00am – Doors Open
9:00am – Event Begins/Competitions: Level 1
10:30am – Awards Ceremony for Level 1
11:00am – Competitions: Level 2
1:00pm – Awards Ceremony for Level 2
1:30pm – Competitions: Level 3
3:00 – Awards Ceremony for Level 3
3:30pm – Competitions: Levels 4 & 5
4:30pm – Awards Ceremony for Levels 4 & 5
5:00pm – Event Ends

Admission is free!

Volunteers are VERY MUCH NEEDED for this feile.  Parents, if you can please spare a small amount of time to assist, it is greatly appreciated.
Dancers are welcome and encouraged to volunteer as well!

McConnell School of Dance Competition Guidelines
Below are the basic guidelines for McConnell Dancers and Parents attending competitions.  We have quite a few dancers who are attending their first or second competition so parents, please take the time to go through the information with your competing dancer so everyone is prepared for the feile.  If you have questions, please contact us!

Instructor availability is limited during competitions as CRN Teachers are required to volunteer at the Feile. 
  • ·         Please be mindful of instructor’s time at competitions. 
  • ·         Do not discuss school business with instructors as their attention must be focused on the feile.
  • ·         If you have important questions, feel free to ask Tracy or your Instructors, but keep in mind our time is limited and we have a responsibility to CRN and the other dancers competing.

Solo costumes are not permitted in Bungrad or Ullmhuchan levels with the exception of dancers over 18.  Solo costumes may be worn in Meangrad, Ardgrad, and Craobhgrad levels by dancers of any age
All school costumes are registered with CRN so please wear appropriate school costumes.
·         Performance – Black with cummerbund & cuffs
·         General – Green Skirt & Black Bodysuit
·         Please make sure costume items are secure as dancer will be disqualified if items fall off.  If a costume piece falls off, dancers are required to stop dancing, pick up the item and return back to their position to wait until competition is over.

Dance Shoes
·         Shoes should be well fitting, clean, and polished.  Ill-fitting shoes will affect a dancer’s placement.
·         Absolutely no elastic in shoes (hard or soft). Use proper hard shoe or soft shoe laces only.
·         Double knot all laces and secure buckles on hard shoes.  Untied laces will result in disqualification.  If a dancer’s lace becomes untied, dancers should return to their position to wait until the competition is over.
Wigs are optional for CRN Feile’s, however we prefer dancers wear wigs rather than hair down.  Dancers who wish to wear their hair down should verify the style with instructors prior to competition
·         Full, Bun, or Pony tail wigs are acceptable
·         Team dances must have their style of wigs coordinated by instructor.
·         Please make sure wigs are secure as dancer will be disqualified if it falls off.

Tights / Socks
CRN Rule, dancers 20 and over must wear black tight
·         Dancers under 20 may wear poodle socks or tights, however we prefer dancers wear socks as it shows off footwork better than tights
·         Team dancers must coordinate socks or tights, depending on age of the team.
·         If you are under 20 and you wish to wear tights please verify with your instructor prior to competition
·         Make sure your socks are newer, clean, white, and well fitting.  Sock glue is essential.

MSD & CRN discourage the use of heavy make-up, spray tan, etc. especially with younger dancers. There are no stage lights at Feile’s so heavy make-up is not necessary.  Light or no make-up is acceptable. 

CRN General Feile Information & Regulations
·          Be dressed and ready to compete at least 30 minutes prior to competition time as there can be long line ups at check in, especially during earlier competitions.
·         Absolutely no changing in competition room or in hallways.  All dancers must change in dancer’s room (or wherever directed by the Feile).  Change rooms are not co-ed and male dancers must stay in area designed for them.
·         No practicing in hallways, hotel lobby, etc.  Practicing is permitted in the dancer’s change room if a practice room is not designated
·         Dancers must be in full costume to receive their prize.  If you are not in costume including footwear, you will not be allowed on the stage / podium.
·         Dancers who impede another competition on stage will result in disciplinary action being taken 1st offence – written warning  2nd offence – immediate suspension for a period of 3 months.
·         Dancers who fall while competition in a solo competition will not be penalized and will be allowed the opportunity to compete again at a later time.   If a dancer falls, the other competitors should continue to dance, unless otherwise directed by the adjudicator.
·         Dancers who are injured will not be allowed to compete.
·         There must be complete silence in the hall during competitions
·         Absolutely no photography or video during competitions
·         The use of cell phones is not permitted during competitions, mobile phones much be switched to silence at all times in the hall
·         At no time should dancers or parents approach the adjudicator or scrutineers, before, during, or after competitions.

Competition Results
In Bungrad, Ullmhuchan, and Meangrad, whenever the number of competitors is less than seven the winner will not advance unless specified by the adjudicator.  This will be announced during results.  If a competitor wins a graded dance three times, with three or more competitors in the competition at the time of winning, that dancer moves on to the next grade in that dance
·         MSD will keep track of dancer’s results
·         Results are posted on CRN’s website

Results & Award Ceremonies
Typically schools will group together for the reading of results.  Photos are permitted but dancers & parents are reminded not to be intrusive with their photography.
·         Dancers must be in costume with shoes to accept awards and stand on podium
·         Dancers are reminded to accept the results of the adjudicator without question or upset.  Absolutely no sad faces or tears allowed!
·         If you are cheering for your school’s dancers, please keep in mind you should cheer equally for other dancers / school’s results.
·         Parents are asked NOT to place pressure on dancers or instructors.  Please do not show disappointment if dancers do not place and keep in mind you must set the example and offer guidance to assist dancers who may be dealing with their own disappointment.
·         Dancers & Parents are also reminded to accept achievements with grace and dignity and not “show off” when they place well.

CRN Award & Championship grading system
All dancers start with 100 points for each dance in a championship competition (Awards & Championships are 200 -300) 
·         No grades apply to children up to the age of 6
·         Merit Award –dance who achieves a mark of 50 – 64 points.

·         Under 50 no prize is awarded

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Competitive Division Classes Cancelled – Saturday, November 7th, 2015

Competitive Division Classes Cancelled – Saturday, November 7th, 2015
Due to the competition in Minnesota, competive classes in Winnipeg will be cancelled for Saturday November 7th, 2015. Brandon Competitive Classes will continue as scheduled.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Brandon Division - Adult & Intermediate Change of lesson time Oct 31st

Dear Brandon Dancers & Parents,

      Due to a double booking at the Park Community Centre, we are going to re-schedule our Intermediate & Adult classes from 1:00 – 2:30 PM on Saturday, October 31st.  Classes will return to the normally scheduled time after October 31st.  Our apologies for any inconvenience to your schedules.
Thank you


Thursday, 22 October 2015

Féile Rince Rí

Féile Rince Rí
Sat December 5th, 2015

We are pleased to announce another CUMANN RINCE NÁISIÚNTA FÉILE in Philadelphia which we will be attending on Saturday, December 5th, 2015.

Please see attached sylabus for more information.

Registration Information:
Dancers should confirm their participation with Tracy Balagus but no later than Monday, November 2nd, 2015.
Please confirm if dancers will be travelling will be travelling & staying with family or require chaparone.
All solo and team registrations will be handled through the school.

Hotel Information :
Crown Plaza Philadelphia West, 4010 City Avenue, Philadelphia Pa 19131.
Phone : 215-477-0200. Room rate $112 per night plus tax. Individuals
must identify themselves as attending Féile Rince Rí to avail of the
discounted room rate. Reservations cut-off date for discount hotel rate is Thursday 11/12/15.

Minneapolis Feile - UPDATE

The Rince Nua Minnesota Feile will take place on Saturday November 7th as scheduled, however it will now be run as an Open Platform Feile.

For our purposes, the change from CRN to Open Platform will not affect us.  Dancer wins (with 7 or more competitors) will be recognized by CRN and any level advancements will be honoured. 

There will no longer be a Sunday workshop with the adjudicators.  We apologies for any inconvenience to your travel plans!

We hope everyone who was planning on attending will still join us in Minneapolis.  If your plans have changed, please contact Tracy Balagus immediately

If you have any questions please let us know!

Thank you,

Brandon Division Meeting - Oct 24th, 2015

Brandon Division Meeting
We will be holding an information meeting for our Brandon Parents & Adult dancers on Saturday, October 24th from 11:30  - 12:30 PM at the Park Community Club.
Shayleen McConnell Finucan will be in attendance along with a representative from our Student’s Association.  We hope you can make it!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

CRN Regional Competitions Results

Congratulations to all of the dancers who competed in the CRN USA Regional Irish Dance Competitions in Atlanta, Georgia on Oct 10th & 11th.   We are very proud of our McConnell Irish Dancers attending their first Regional competition.  All 8 dancers have qualified to compete at the CRN USA Nationals in Philadelphia in February.  Our dancers brought home a total of 38 Medals in Solo Competitions (14 – 1st Place, 9 – 2nd Place, 8 – 3rd Place, and 7 – 4th Place wins) and we placed 3rd in the 4 Hand Reel Páiste. 
We are so excited to annouce we have 4 Award Winners!
Amanda Berezowski – Meánghrád U15 
Bailey Cumming – Meánghrád U13
Lizann Magee – Ullmhúchán U15
Melissa Smith – Meánghrád 019

Our dancers & families had a wonderful time in Atlanta and we thank the CRN USA Regional Committee for organizing the event.  We couldn’t be more pleased to celebrate our 1 year anniversary as members of Cumann Rince Náisiúnta!

CRN Minnesota Feile - Deadline Oct 14th, 2015

Dear Competitive Dancers & Parents,
     The CRN Minnesota Feile will take place on Saturday November 7th and we require confirmation for all dancers attending this competition by no later than 5:00 PM on October 14th
All registered competitive students are invited to attend the Minnesota Feile.  Please confirm your attendance with Tracy Balagus  (Do not reply to this email) and provide the following information;
11)      Dancer’s name
22)      Date of birth
33)      Will the dancer be attending the competition with family or will they require  transportation, accommodation, and chaperone.
44)      Dancers in Ullmhuchan, Meanghrad, & Ardghrad levels have the option to compete in a Treble Reel Special Competition.  Please confirm if you would like to register for the Treble Reel

Competition Registration will be handled through the school, on dancers behalf.   Dancers travelling with families will need to book hotel rooms and arrange transportation themselves.

More information on the CRN Minnesota Feile is available on their website

If you have any questions please let us know!

Friday, 2 October 2015

MSDSA Annual General Meeting REMINDER


McConnell School of Dance Student's Association's Annual General Meeting will take place on Saturday October 3rd, 2015 at the studio (32 Barberry Rd) at 3:45 PM

We'd like to thank our outgoing board members for their work and contributions to our Student's Association for the 2014 - 2015 Season.
Teresa Yestrau - President
Simone Magee - Vice President
Jackie Naphin - Secretary
Sandra Magyar - Treasurer
Jacquie Cumming - Director
Jocelyn Grant - Director

McConnell School of Dance Students Association Inc.
MSDSA is a non-profit corporation, established to assist all students with McConnell School of Dance. Membership is free to all students and dependant on yearly registration with McConnell School of Dance.
Board Meetings are held at the studio and are open for all students and parents to attend.  All dancers and parents are encouraged to actively participate in events with regards to our Students Association.  Eight board positions are elected yearly and board members are expected to participate in fundraising activities.  Board nomination sheets are posted at the beginning of each dance season and elections take place at our Annual General Meeting at the end of September.
Please check the bulletin board at the studio for meeting dates.

Friday, 25 September 2015

CRN USA Regional T-Shirt & Hoodie Orders - Tuesday Deadline


Youth Small-Large (YS, YM, YL),
Adult Small to 3 Extra Large* (AS, AM, AL, AXL A2XL A3XL)  

Youth Small-Extra Large (YS, YM, YL, YXL), Adult Small to 3 Extra Large* (AS, AM, AL, AXL, A2XL, A3XL)

* Add $5 to cost of the item for XXL and XXXL sizes.

Please email orders to Tracy by no later than Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Thursday, 24 September 2015

CHANGE OF CLASS LOCATION - Sat Sept 26th, 2015

We will have to chance location for our classes on Saturday September 26th as the troupe from Riverdance 20th Anniversary Show will be practicing at our studio all day.

General Division & Competitive classes will be held at the Irish Association of Manitoba 654 Erin Street for all classes on Saturday September 26th (at their regularly scheduled time).  Unfortunately there is no space for parents to wait during lessons, so we ask that parents please drop dancers off and pick up at the end of class.

COMPETITIVE DIVISION MEETING REMINDER – 11:00 AM at the Irish Association of Manitoba

We apologize for any inconvenience to your schedule, but we are very excited to host the Riverdance troupe so we thank you for your understanding.

Classes will return to our studio next week!

We have sent this email with a read-receipt.  Please acknowledge the read receipt so we know you’ve received the message!

Thank you,

Performance Division - Update Sept 29th, 2015

Performance Division Update - Septmember 24th, 2015

No Classes - Tuesday, September 29th
A reminder there will be no Performance Division classes on Tuesday, September 29th as most of our dancers will be at the Riverdance show!

Solo & Class Costume Checks - Thursday, October 1st
All Performance Division dancers are asked to bring their solo & black class costumes for a costume check.  If you are unable to attend Thursday's lesson please contact Mary-Margaret to arrange an alternate time to bring your costumes in for inspection.

Running shoes & Yoga mats 
We are asking dancers to please bring an indoor pair of running shoes (or dance trainers) as well as Yoga mats to every class.

Thank you,

McConnell School of Dance

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Performance Division - Wigs

Performance Division – Wigs

For our 2015 – 2016 Season, Performance Division female dancers will only require the new bun wigs. 

Dancers who wish to sell their 2nd hand Full Wigs may do so at the costume swap, providing they are in good, useable condition.

The next wig order will be placed at the end of October.  If you require a bun wig immediately, special orders can be placed at any time and wigs are ordered on the website.

Irish Music Lessons - Hammer's Music & Arts Centre

A message from Susan Hammer, from the Hammer’s Music & Arts Centre.
If you’re interested in learning how to play Irish music, the Hammer’s are the best!

 Hi folks,

If you plan to register for any of my Saturday Irish Music Classes in Winnipeg, please do so NOW as classes start in just over a week, and will be CANCELED if not enough students register before the advance registration deadline.

- Classes are tailored to the needs of the participants (you help to decide what is taught) 
- In a term, you can make up any missed classes by taking part in any of my other classes that same term.
- Learn with one of the most experienced and qualified Irish Music Teachers available in MB
- Classes are a good deal  (only $20/hour for 12 weeks).
-- Tax receipts are issued for all WCM students (not just kids!)
      .....and my classes are lots of fun...guaranteed!

Beginner Whistle   &  Beginner Bodhran
Bodhran for Intermediate/Advanced....includeds developing bodhran solos
Tunes/Style/Ornamentation for all instruments

 Register now - contact the Winnipeg Conservatory at

Email me if you have any questions.
      .... and remember IRISH FEST IS THIS WEEKEND!!