Christine Byrne

Christine Byrne

Christine Byrne began her dancing career at age four when her parents, immigrants from Ireland, answered an ad in the local newspaper. She competed in her first feis, and also received her first medal at the brothers of St. Patrick in Midway City. She took instruction from Bernadette Bonnie, director of the Tara School of Irish Dance in South Gate, near Los Angeles.

With an enrollment of over one hundred students that time, the Tara school was the largest Irish dance school in southern California. Bernadette was a gifted and talented teacher who was a champion in her own right, having studied dance with Mae Butler of Toronto, Canada.

Christine began the championship level competition at age seven. At nine years of age, she qualified to dance at the World Championships in Dublin, Ireland in both the eight hand ceili and soloship categories. Christine went on to qualify for the world championships each consecutive year by achieving one of the top three places at every Oireachtas, a regional competition. At age twelve, she won first place at Oireachtas receiving perfect scores from all three judges.

Upon Bernadette's retirement from teaching dance, she brought Christine by the hand to her long-time dancing companion and friend, Ron Plummer of the Plummer studios in Escondido, near San Diego. It was that Christine became friends with Theresa Thomas LaBlanc.

At the age of nineteen Christine retired from competitive Irish dancing, but continued to dance at various shows and festivals. In 1993, she received her license to teach Irish dance from An Coimisium le Rinci Gaelacha in Dublin, Ireland.

Christine taught Irish dance part-time while finishing her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. After graduating from California State University of Long Beach, she began teaching at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Downey.

Christine transitioned to teaching Irish dance full-time after joining her students at Aniar Academy, and started a new partnership with Theresa Thomas LaBlanc.

Christine is currently the sole owner of Aniar Academy of Irish Dance, and has since gone back to teaching kindergarten at St. Maria Goretti Elementary School. Christine also teaches a fall quarter Irish Dance class at the University of California, Irvine.

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