Owned by Shani DuFrain, TCRG and Rachel Wolf R.N., Phoenix Irish Dance Academy (PIDA) is an affordable Irish Dance school located minutes away from Historic Old Town Manassas. Fully certified through An Coimisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha, PIDA serves the Northern Virginia area through public performances and offers classes that suit both recreational and competitive dancers alike.
Sorted by age and experience, this class provides the basics of traditional Irish Dance and allows dancers to excel both recreationally and competitively.
For dancers with some Symmetry experience, this class prepares them for public performances such as weddings, parties, restaurants, and more.
Every class at PIDA combines fitness, dance, and stage expertise to maximize your dancer's potential onstage, and minimize injuries offstage. Boys and girls reach their goals, while enjoying a fun environment at every level, both competitively and recreationally.
Shani DuFrain, TCRG
As the daughter of a professional jazz pianist, music and rhythm have been an integral part of Shani's life from day one. Nevertheless, it was at her first Irish dance class at the age of 8 that she fell in love with the art form and the combination of music and movement. As a competitor, Shani advanced through the grades in feiseanna and then competed in several Southern Region Championships, placing in the top 10 in 2010. She also placed in the top 50 in North American National Championships the following summer, and participated in the All Ireland and World Irish Dancing Championships before retiring from competition. As a performer, she danced on two different occasions on Carnival cruise ships with Isle Inn Tours in the Caribbean and Mexico, and in many festivals, shows, weddings, and private parties up and down the east coast of the US. After auditioning and receiving a call-back from Riverdance, she studied for, and passed, the vigorous TCRG exam attaining her Irish Dance teacher certification in 2012. In 2015 she sang on the title track of Mark Christopher Brandt's album, Joie de Vivre, and her footwork and steps may be heard as percussion on several tracks from the same album, which was featured in Irish Dance Magazine. After a brief hiatus, Shani started PIDA in 2016 with Rachel Wolf. Shani is also a certified group fitness instructor, and a POP Pilates instructor. Additionally, she has extensively studied pre- and postnatal fitness, nutrition, aerobic conditioning, strength training, adult health and development, and kinesiology. She continues to study and apply these topics daily in order to enrich her dancers. She spends the rest of her spare time with her husband, their four children, and their Australian Shepherd.
Rachel Wolf, R. N.
Rachel started Irish dancing at age 7 and has been in love with the style and energy of Irish Dance ever since. She has danced on a competitive level, but the roots of her love affair with Irish dance stem back to the stage and performance-style Irish dancing. She has danced in shows throughout the state of Virginia and Washington D.C. and has been teaching Irish dance on a professional and private level since she was a teenager. Rachel also has an extensive background in theater and directing. After graduating high school, she received a theater scholarship from Ave Maria college in Naples. She has directed many plays, productions, and both theater and Irish Dance camps, both in high school and as an adult. Rachel began an Irish Dance school called Wolves of Ireland in 2013, which eventually transformed into Phoenix Irish Dance Academy upon merging with Shani DuFrain in 2016. Rachel is currently a registered nurse and owner of several Let Mommy Sleep Franchises, and she uses her healthcare education to promote strong and healthy dancers. She also holds a degree in psychology, and uses this knowledge to boost the self-esteem and confidence of her students, and to help them reach their goals, whether they be geared towards recreation and basic Irish Dance skill, or the competitive arena. Rachel continues to study different aspects of health and fitness in order to share her knowledge with her dancers. In her spare time, you can find her crafting, choreographing, or playing with her two adorable Min-Pins.
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