The Goodwin Academy was founded in Rochester, NY in 2007 by sisters Mary Echter-Cantin and Colleen Echter Bennett. Several years after Colleen's career (and fiance!) took her across the country to live in sunny California, elder sister Sarah Echter-Sadowski and original company member Maura Olson joined the teaching staff. Sarah, Mary, and Colleen are three of five siblings whose mother, Sarah Goodwin, moved to the USA as a child from Ballinasloe, County Galway. Their paternal grandmother, Dorothy Flanagan, had strong family roots in Ireland as well.
Their childhood was rich in family
gatherings, song, and of course,
The Goodwin Academy is certified by An Comisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha (Dublin, Ireland) to teach traditional Irish dancing in Rochester, NY to students of all ages, levels, and abilities. We maintain small classes at the beginner through prizewinner level, which means we are able to focus on the individual needs and progress of each student. Our advanced dancers train several times weekly as a team. Our approach also involves a strong emphasis on physical fitness, which is introduced starting in our beginner Irish dance classes. There is NO requirement to compete, although participation is encouraged.
Through the combination of fitness, fun, and technique training, the Goodwin Academy develops dancers who enjoy success both as soloists and on teams at feisanna (competitions) and oireactasi (regional, national, and world level events).