Our School

Kilkenny Academy of Dance, formally The Forristal School of Dance has been successfully running since 1989. The school is known in Kilkenny for its combination of high standards and nurturing environments. In 2016, Gemma Grant and Finn Power took over ownership of the school from Sinead Keaskin.Gemma and Finn both grew up in this school as children so it is safe to say that both of their hearts are involved in every aspect of the running of the school. 

Our ethos

Our Vision

To provide a dance space that instils a passion for dance by creating show & exam opportunities in a nurturing environment.

Our Purpose

To be a modern and inclusive dance school who celebrates each individual student to be the best they can be.

Our Values

Fun & Friendship - Learning - Creativity - Respect - Personal Growth

Our Team

At Kilkenny Academy of Dance, our team is made up of teachers who focus on nurturing the ability of the students through fun and learning. Our teachers put emphasis on furthering their qualifications and attending courses regularly to improve their craft. We believe that the  bond created by our team of teachers is an integral part of running successful and safe classes for our students and their development.


Gemma Grant

My passion for teaching comes from showing students what they CAN achieve. For me, teaching dance acts as a vessel for educating confidence, self discipline, and social connections in a fun and exciting way. I find it so rewarding to know that learning these skills will be useful in all aspects of life.

Finn Power

It's so rewarding to see my work as a dance teacher shining through the happy children of Kilkenny. I am grateful to be able to facilitate determined, hardworking and passionate dancers. My students surprise and inspire me in every single class which is why I love this job so much.


Becky Sheil

Becoming a dance teacher has been so rewarding, watching the pure joy dance brings to students. I feel so grateful to be able to pass on my passion for dance to the younger generation of dancers.

Ciara-Peaches McDermott

I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the lessons that dance has given me, and to have the opportunity to share that with my students is the most fulfilling experience. Dance to me has always meant having the opportunity to express yourself and forget everything else in that moment, and I feel so lucky to be able to share that with my students.

Lauren Oman

Being a dance teacher is so rewarding, even tho it can be full of challenges for both student and teacher the amount of joy, passion and growth throughout is incredible and inspires me everyday

Gemma Grant

From childhood to the age of eighteen, Gemma was a pupil of Kilkenny Academy of Dance. On completing her BA degree she decided that dance was still to be part of her future. From here, Gemma continued her dance studies in Inchicore College and beyond and became a fully qualified Ballet and Modern Dance teacher. During the last sixteen years of her teaching, choreographing and performing, she has actively continued to evolve as a teacher to give the best possible service that she can.

In recent years, Gemma has become interested in the connection between mental health, sports psychology and dance and how this connection can aid the physical and mental development of children and adults through dance. To develop a better understanding of this area, she has completed a FETAC Level 6 in Child psychology, taken part in many courses involving mental skill sets within a dance setting and she is currently in her second year of a psychology degree.


  • BA in Music and Mathematical Studies – NUI Maynooth
  • Diploma in Dance Education in Modern Theatre Dance – I.S.T.D
  • Diploma in Dance Education in Imperial Ballet – I.S.T.D
  • Graduate of Inchicore College – 3 years dance training in Classical Ballet, Modern Theatre, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary and Improvisation
  • FETAC Level 5 in Dance Performance and Production (Kinesiology, Anatomy and Physiology, Occupational First Aid, Exercise and Fitness and Dance History also included)
  • FETAC Level 6 in Child Psychology
  • Qualified First Aid Responder
  • Currently in second year of an Honours Degree in Psychology


  • Worked at Kilkenny Academy of Dance since 2008, then managed the school before taking over as director in 2016.
  • Worked at Bunclody Academy of Dance since its opening in 2009 and was the principal from 2011 – 2017.
  • Past Dance teacher at Bray school of Dance
  • Past Dance Teacher at Bray Institute of Further Education
  • Attended The Deborah Capon College of Dance, England for a 4 week course
    received a scholarship to visit Impulstanz Dance festival in Vienna
  • Past Choreographer for Kilkenny Musical Society, Watergate Productions, KYMP, Devious Theatre, FCJ Bunclody, Maynooth Drama Soc on such productions as Little Shop of Horrors, Chess, Westside Story, Jesus Christ Superstar, Into the Woods, Back to the Eighties, Devious Theatre’s ‘Smitten’, Kilkenny Pantomimes and Kilkenny Musical Society’s Aims award winning ‘ Michael Collins – A Musical Drama’
  • Runs successful Adult Ballet Classes
  • Writes a blog called ‘Dance Teacher to Dance Teacher’.
  • Performed such roles as Maria in ‘Westside Story’, Ronette in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, Dorothy in ‘A Life’,Caroline Cassidy in ‘By the Bog of Cats’,Uncle Thomas in ‘The King and I’, and Snow White in ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’.

Finn Power

A former student of Deirdre Forristal School of Dance, Finn has been working with The Kilkenny Academy of Dance since 2010.

A graduate of Inchicore VEC, Dublin where she spent 3 brilliant years in full time training, Finn gained her DDI and DDE in Modern Theatre and Classical Ballet, she is a fully qualified and registered teacher of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.

While at Inchicore College Finn was awarded a scholarship to attend Impulstanz Dance Festival, Vienna, where she had the opportunity to work with internationally acclaimed dancers and choreographers.

Finn also studied in the UK with the Anthony Clifford Dance Studio under ISTD examiner, Ms Helen Steggles and continues to do so regularly.


  • Diploma in Dance Education Imperial Ballet – ISTD
  • Diploma in Dance Education in Modern Theatre Dance ISTD
  • Graduate of Inchicore College – 3 years dance training in Classical Ballet and Pointe Work, Modern Theatre, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary and Improvisation
  • FETAC Level 5 in Dance Performance and Production (Kinesiology, Anatomy and Physiology, Occupational First Aid, Exercise and Fitness and Dance History also included)
  • National Certificate in Exercise & Fitness University of Limerick
  • Qualified First Aider
  • Working With Children With Dyspraxia (DCD) – Child Psychology Institute


Finn began her career as a dance teacher working in Dublin musical theatre school – LiveWire as head dance teacher where she gained invaluable experience under the direction of Diane Richardson.

While still in college she travelled around the country teaching in dance schools in Wexford, Wicklow, Kildare, Howth and Drogheda.

In 2010 Finn began teaching in Bray School of Dance where she has also worked as manager. During her time as manager in Bray she prepared students for ISTD ballet and modern exams and, also produced and choreographed their full-scale school production.

She has also made a strong mark on many of the local Primary and Secondary schools where she has shared her knowledge of fitness and dance in these schools, providing fun and energetic dance classes throughout the city and county. Finn adores working with Kilkenny Recreation & Sport Partnership teaching online Dance & Movement classes for young people with disabilities.

Becky Sheil

Becky began dancing at the age of 7 when she joined the Sheila Grace Dance Company. In her teenage years she started ballet classes at The Ballet Academy in Wexford. Becky continued dancing in both schools until leaving secondary school. During the time she spent at the Sheila Grace Dance Company she attended many dance competitions in Ireland and abroad including the ‘International Festival of Dance and Performing Arts’ in Disneyland Paris. While attending the Ballet Academy she took ISTD ballet exams. Becky performed in many shows over the years in Wexford Opera House. She knew she wanted to pursue dance and become a dance teacher so when she left school she studied dance in Colaiste Stiofain Naofa in Cork. She completed the 1 year course and left with a QQI FETAC Level 5 qualification in Dance. While at college she studied many different types of dance as well as singing and acting. She was also awarded ‘Dancer of the Year’ at the college end of year show in The Firkin Crane theatre.

During her time in Cork, Becky was also part of Cork Youth Ballet Company. Shortly after finishing the college year she suffered a bad back injury requiring surgery and remained out of dance for over 18 months. Becky is now currently working towards her Diploma in Dance Education (DDE) teacher training with the ISTD in ballet, jazz and tap. Alongside teaching at Kilkenny Academy of Dance, she also teaches at Slaneyside School of Dancing, The Ballet Academy in Wexford and her own classes at Becky Sheil Dance.

Ciara-Peaches McDermott

Ciara-Peaches McDermott has been dancing with Kilkenny Academy of Dance since the age of 3 and has been working there since 2016. She completed a four-year BA Hons Degree in Contemporary Dance at the University of Limerick where she received a first class honours result. This included training in Ballet, Yoga, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Flamenco, Aerial Dance and Pilates, as well as Dance History, Dance for Camera, Inclusive Dance, Anatomy and Music. She researched and wrote her dissertation on the topic of Gender and Dance. In her time at UL she was a committee member of the Dance UL society and competed at the 2020 All Ireland Dance Inter-varsities where they came second in Contemporary dance. She also performed at the Tipperary Dance Platform in 2019. As part of her time with Kilkenny Academy of Dance, she has taken many exams in ballet, modern, and tap, and has performed in many productions. Ciara-Peaches has completed certificates in Continued Professional Development in areas such as Ballet, Contemporary Dance, Improvisation, and Early Years Free Work. As well as this, she is currently studying and training for her ISTD Diploma in Dance Education (DDE) teaching qualifications in ballet, while working in both the Kilkenny Academy of Dance and the Kildare Academy of Dance, alongside running dance workshops in primary schools. Ciara – Peaches runs very successful Contemporary classes at Kilkenny Academy of Dance for 9 – 18 years, and has a big focus on promoting confidence and independence in dancers.

Lauren Oman

Lauren has been dancing since a young age, training in Ballet and Modern. She then moved to England to further her dance training at Morea performing arts where she studied for 3yrs while gaining both professional and teaching training. During college she trained in many dance styles such as Ballet, Musical Theatre jazz, Contemporary, Commercial, Tap along with singing and acting lessons too. While at college she performed at many events such as ‘Can you dance’, ‘Jack and the beanstalk’ pantomime and end of year shows while also learning from many amazing teachers and choreographers from the industry. She also completed her ISTD modern DDI and ISTD ballet DDE teaching qualifications. Lauren has also taught many workshops over the years and choreographed pieces for end of year shows. She has been apart of TV work for Amazon prime and Disney’s new movie ‘Disenchanted’ that was released in 2022. She is also a company dancer for Roisin.Whelan.Dance (R.W.D).