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About District Irish Dance

Since 2018, District Irish Dance has sought to promote individuality in Irish dance through technique, teamwork, & tradition.  We achieve this goal by combining expert instruction led by some of the best professional Irish dancers in the world, with a focus on student inclusion and community building.  Running in our own beautiful, spacious studio in Tenleytown DC, we aim to bring out the best in every dancer, offering a well-rounded, rewarding Irish dance experience for all.

We're not just a dance studio, we're a community.

Meet Our Faculty


Joe Duffey, TCRG

Founder, Owner & Creative Director

Former Cast Member in Riverdance and Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance on Broadway & London's West End



Bernadette Devereaux, TCRG

Head of Programs & Lead Instructor

Former Lead Dancer in Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance on Broadway & London's West End

Our Story

Native Washingtonian Joe Duffey always dreamed of opening an Irish dance school and putting his mark on the DC dance scene.  An alum of Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, and George Washington University (B.A. 2013), his love for the DC area is reflected in the school's brand and vision.  At District Irish Dance, we apply innovative instruction to pass along our love for an art form rooted in tradition.  In doing so, we enable students the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive as Irish dancers in recreational, competitive and pre-professional tracks.


Starting a dance school didn't happen overnight:  Joe brings over a decade as a professional dancer to the studio.  Highlights of his remarkable career include touring with iconic Grammy Award-winning show Riverdance, working directly with and performing alongside Michael Flatley in Lord of the Dance on London's West End and on Broadway [read this Washington Post article to learn more about Joe’s time on Broadway!].  


Joe, joined by fellow DIDA instructors Elyse and Kendal, had the distinct honor of performing at the U.S. Capitol for President Biden, Speaker Johnson and An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the 2024 Friends of Ireland Luncheon, which was followed by a private reception at the Oval Office.


Joe Duffey (2nd from right) performs with the cast of Lord of the Dance on the Graham Norton Show.

Joe began dancing at age 6, training under renowned teacher Maureen Berry, TCRG at the Teelin School of Irish Dance in Columbia, MD. He earned his Irish dance teacher certification, TCRG with honors, in 2017.  Joe's extensive experience in both Irish dance and fitness help ensure a comprehensive well-rounded Irish dance experience is given to every District Academy student.  These qualifications include:

  • Accredited TCRG with honors granted by and registered with An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha

  • SafeSport Child Protection Certified Irish dance studio in DC

  • CPR/AED/First Aid-Certified with the American Red Cross

  • NASM-CPT and Fuse Pilates fitness certifications

  • Active member of The Irish Dance Teachers' Association of North America, CLRG - The Irish Dancing Commission, and IDTANA - Southern Region.

Joined by certified instructors Bernadette Devereaux, TCRG, Phil Stacy, TCRG, and Elyse Transon, TCRG (who lives in Milwaukee and is the owner of our sister school, Milwaukee Irish Dance), together with a talented assistant instructor team, District Irish Dance shares the fun and excitement of Irish dance with students throughout the greater Washington, DC area.  Pupils of District Irish Dance have won regional and national titles in solo and team championships, and have gone on to pursue professional tracks.  District student Maddie Cabral recently became a touring cast member with Trinity Irish Dance Company!  We are proud to offer a bespoke learning atmosphere and vibrant community focus at District Irish Dance.

Joe Duffey in Riverdance

Joe Duffey in "Riverdance" in Times Square, NYC. Credit:  Time Out Magazine

Bernadette Devereaux in Lord of the Dance

Head of Programs Bernadette Devereaux (center) performing the lead role in Lord of the Dance

Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America
CLRG - The Irish Dancing Commission
Southern Region IDTANA Irish Dance
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