SCHOOL BIO

Founded in 1991, by Karen and Lisa Petri, the Petri School of Irish Dancing has grown quickly and has become one of the preeminent Irish Dance schools in the world. The school has over 140 dancers aged 4 to 21. Classes are offered to beginners through champions at the Petri Studios in East Northport and Franklin Square, NY. Dancers from the school have performed at numerous venues around the tri-state area including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden where the NY Knick's have repeatedly asked them to perform during the game's halftime break, Radio City Music Hall, the Joyce Theater, the Tilles Center, and the New Victory Theater. Our dancers have been featured on the Rosie O'Donnell Show, The Maury Show, CBS-The Early Show, The WB-11, NBC News, ABC News, Fox News, and Sesame Street. They have also recorded spots for several TV commercials. Senior dancers have performed on the Norwegian Cruise Lines. Every year since 1999, the Petri School has been invited to perform the New York Knicks halftime show at Madison Square Garden. In 2006 the school performed at the New Jersey Nets halftime show on March 17th. Dancers have performed at Gracie Mansion several times for Mayor Giuliani and Mayor Bloomberg and their invited guests, who have included Michael Flatley. Every year on St. Patrick's Day, the school is invited to perform at the NY NY Governor's Breakfast at the Waldorf Astoria to help kick off the New York City St. Patrick's Day parade. The school has been covered by numerous newspapers and magazines because of its success including a 4 page layout in Newsday, a 2 page layout in Dance Magazine, a 2 page layout in Home Magazine, a 6 page layout in Irish Dance Magazine in 2000, and a 3 page layout in Irish Dance Magazine in 2005. In addition Gabriella Wood and Taylor Kerrane of the Petri School were selected as the cover dancers for Irish Dance Magazine and each received a 5 page layout in their month. The BBC featured the school in a special ½ hour documentary broadcast in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Former senior dancers, Deidre Faughnan and Katherine Whelan, performed in International and National tours with the Trinity Irish Dance Company.

The school is especially proud of its international competition accomplishments. In 2005, Gabriella Wood, became the first Long Islander and only the fifth American woman to ever win the World Championships of Irish Dancing in its 35 year history. In June, 2005, Gabriella won the prestigious North American Minor Cup Championship in 2006 and was honored as the top North American Dancer under the age of 13. In 2009 Gabriella won the World Champioship again. She has also won the British National Championship, Great Britain Champioship, she has won the North American National Champioship 5 times and the Mid-Atlantic Oireachtas 7 times.

In 2010, Julia O'Rourke became the second female dancer from the school to win the covoted World Championship title in Glasgow, Scotland. At the young age of 10, Julia has already won the prestigious All Ireland Championship, the Great Britain Championship, the North American National Championship 3 times and the Mid-Atlantic Oireachtas 3 times. Julia was the featured dancer on the BBC documentary on Irish Step Dancing "JIG" produced by Wellpark Productions. The documentary followed her for one year in preparation of her first World Championship in 2010. After multiple injuries Julia repeated has World Champion in 2014 and 2015.

In 2012, Melanie Valdes became the third dancer from the school to win a World Championship. Melanie followed up on her success by winning the World Championship in 2014 and 2015. Melanie has also won the prestigious All Ireland title three times, the North American championship five times, the All Scotland title and the British
National Championship. Melanie is a seven time holder of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship.
Melanie has won the North American Feis Comission Belt, a competition open only to champion dancers, four times. She won the MINOR CHAMPIONSHIP in 2011 and swept the JUNIOR TITLE IN 2012, 2013 AND 2014.

The school's solo successes over the years include 2 All Scotland Championships won by Taylor Kerrane and Meaghan Murphy. 15 different dancers from the school have won the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships for a total of 45 titles between them. The Petri School is proud to have had over 50 dancers achieve international recognition, with 10 dancers receiving World Medals in 2010 including Melanie Valdes who placed 3rd in 2010 and 2nd in 2009.

The Petri School teams have enjoyed great success over the years. The school's Dance Drama Team won the North American National Championships in 1998 and silver in 2004. The team won the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship in 1997, 1998, 2003, and 2004. The Dance Drama Team also placed 7th at the 1998 World Championships. The school's Figure Choreography Team won the bronze medal at the 2001 North American National Championships.

The Petri School hosts a yearly feis (dance competition), where 1000 dancers from throughout North America come to Long Island to compete. Renowned adjudicators from around the world have come to judge the competitions. The school has had the honor to have prominent persons such as NY Senator Charles Schumer attend the event and present awards to the winners.

        Owner, Lisa Petri, is the past President of the Irish Dancing Teachers Association of North America. The IDTANA represents over 600 members in North America. She was also a long time member of the Mid-Atlantic Region Executive Board and is a U.S. delegate to An Coimisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha where she is a member of the Oireachtas Committee.

        Owner Karen Petri, is the Director of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the IDTANA representing over 150 members in thr Tri-State area. She is also a U.S. delegate to An Coimisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha where she is a member of the Udaras Committe.

Lisa & Karen Petri, along with Mary Kay Heneghan, were the chairpeople of the 2010 North American Irish Dance Championships held on July 4th weekend in Orlando, Florida. With over 4000 competitors and 14000 spectators, the 5 day event was the largest North American Irish Dance Championship to date.