Former Riverdance phenom bringing her culture to NWI

2013-09-01T09:45:00Z 2013-09-03T15:52:13Z Former Riverdance phenom bringing her culture to NWIDamian Rico | Times Media
September 01, 2013 9:45 am  • 

OAK FOREST, IL | The passion and drive can still be seen in Dearbhla Fay’s eyes as she intently observes her young Irish dance students pouncing the floors during a recent practice at Gaelic Park Banquet Hall.

“I love to dance and enjoy sharing my passion for it with those who want to learn,” said Fay. “Music and dance speak to us and when people want me to teach them, I take it very seriously.”

At just 18 years of age, Fay left her home in Dublin, to join the hottest show on earth-Michael Flatley’s ‘Lord of The Dance’ world tour. During what she deems a euphoric time of her life, Fay was in the middle of an “explosion” of Irish culture for seven years.

“I visited many countries and enjoyed sharing our life with the world,” said Fay. “I guess I really was too young to understand the magnitude of what was going on. I was just having a great time with wonderful people doing what we did all of our lives.”

The Irish dance culture became world-renown in the mid 90’s, at the height of the ‘Riverdance’ phenomenon. Today, that cultural dance remains popular as three national dance productions still tour the world performing “a piece of home.”

Fresh out of high school in 1998, Fay remembers meeting American icons such as Bon Jovi, Derek Jeter, Robert Downey, Jr. and Keifer Sutherland among others, that stayed at the same hotels and dined in the same restaurants as the Riverdance troop.

“We would be on the road for six months and then get two weeks off and hit the road again,” said Fay. “We got to see the world and get paid to do it. We had a great time and met some really fascinating people.”

Fay, who started dancing at the age of two, is no stranger to fame as she comes from a great line of performers. That list starts with her brother Fergal who is a dancer, mother Grainne, who has taught Irish Folkloric for five decades in Dublin and is currently the President of The Irish Dance Organization, and continues with her late father Martin Fay, one of the original members of the traditional Irish band ‘The Chieftains.’

"Dearbhla was always a wonderful child," said Grainne Fay during a recent Chicago visit. "She had so much passion and dedication. I am so glad she is teaching and sharing her gift with others."

Fay has taught all over Ireland, England and currently the United States and strongly feels life is all about “giving back.” She currently teaches in Oak Forest, Crystal Lake and Woodstock , Illinois and will be sharing her culture and bringing her McCormack/Fay Dance Academy to Dyer, Indiana at the VFW Post 6448, 2125 Gettler St., starting September 5.

“The veterans have given us so much and I appreciate their dedication to this country,” said Fay. “I’m very excited about bringing McCormack/Fay to Indiana.”

For more information, contact Dearhbla at 708-439-9850 or email her at

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