We pride ourselves on offering some of the best Irish dance instruction in Atlantic Canada. Passionate about all things Irish dance, Rising Tide’s coaches tailor their teaching to each dancer through focused attention, specific feedback, and dance steps suited to each student’s style.

We know every dancer has the potential to be a champion. Our goal is to stretch each dancer to reach their full potential in a fun and motivating way that builds a love of Irish dance and our community. Dance classes focus on giving dancers a detailed, first-rate education in Irish dance, technique, fitness and training, mental resilience, music, and Irish culture.

On top of high-caliber coaching, dancers get the opportunity to perform, compete, travel, and build life-long friendships.

Rising Tide Irish Dance Academy Incorporated, and its teachers, are registered with An Coimisiún Le Rinci Gaelacha in Dublin, Ireland.

Our dance studio

In January 2020 (our fifth anniversary), we opened the door to our brand new studio space. Rising Tide’s space is complete with a community room, locker room and top-quality dance studio. Our studio is 1,200+ square feet and features a sprung dance floor, non-slip marley surface and wall-to-wall mirrors, providing dancers the best, and safest, dance environment possible.

Dance studio
Rising Tide's coaches

About Irish dance

As an art form and a sport, Irish dance offers something for everyone: an opportunity to be creative, physical exercise, individual and team activities, and opportunities to compete locally, nationally and internationally (if desired). Using both hard shoes (similar to tap shoes, but with fibre glass tips) and soft shoes (similar to Highland dance shoes or ballet slippers), Irish dance can be percussive and powerful, athletic and elegant.

Popularized by such shows as Riverdance and Lord of the Dance, Irish dance was originally a social form of group dancing performed at weddings, fairs and holidays. It is rooted in the dances taught by traveling dance masters throughout Ireland in the 16th and 17th centuries. Famously, Irish dancers move only their legs, keeping their arms tightly by their sides – a tradition rumoured to have begun as a way for dancers to perform in crowded pubs without the risk of knocking over pints. Learn more about the early history of Irish Dance.

Today, Irish dance is taught and performed all over the world. Schools can be found across North & South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. In addition to learning a unique cultural art form and highly effective method of fitness, students also learn critical life skills including goal setting, team work, listening, giving and receiving feedback, sportsmanship and confidence.

Our governing body of Irish dance, CLRG, allows dancers to participate recreationally or competitively. Students interested in a competitive track have the opportunity to compete at local competitions (feiseanna), national feiseanna, such as the North American Championships, and international feiseanna including the World Championships. Visit CLRG to learn more.

Our coaches

At Rising Tide our highly qualified coaches have over forty combined years of experience dancing, competing, and teaching and a strong commitment to professional development. Our classes are designed to provide dancers a first-rate education in Irish dance supported by technique, fitness, music, mental resilience and Irish culture.

Rising Tide’s coaches and owners, Becky and Laura, are also supported by wonderful assistant coaches. Currently on staff are Abigail Beamish, Emma Foran, Quinn MacDonald, Brooke McKenzie, Stephanie McEwan, Connor Russell and choreographer, Blaire McKenzie. All dancers come to Rising Tide with valuable and diverse experiences teaching, competing, and performing, adding extra value to our dancers’ learning through their unique strengths and spirit.

  • Becky Chapman, TCRG Co-owner/coach

    How lucky am I to have combined two of my favourite things – Irish dance and entrepreneurship – to create Rising Tide with Laura? Outside of dance, my background is entrepreneurship and public relations and I’m passionate about making Rising Tide the best experience possible for our community.

    In the dance studio, my goal is to train our dancers to be the best they can be all the while making sure their experience in Irish dance is a highlight. I approach teaching from the point of view of a dancer’s whole career. More than having some choreography memorized for a competition, it’s important that dancers have a holistic understanding of Irish dance, from understanding how and why to improve even the smallest of details, to the history of Irish dance. If at the end of their dancing days our dancers know more and can do more than me, I’ll consider the job done.

    Having danced (and lived) in Halifax and Dublin I bring many perspectives to my teaching but also a real love for Ireland which I truly enjoy passing on to our students. James Joyce once said “When I die Dublin will be written in my heart.” and I think the same will be said of me – and maybe a few future Rising Tiders.

  • Laura Hopper, TCRG, ADCRG Co-owner/coach

    As co-owner and coach at Rising Tide, it’s no surprise that I love Irish dance and I love sharing it with others. But beyond my passion for the sport, my job as a teacher and adjudicator is to stretch each student to reach their full potential in a way that is challenging and fun. For me, the most exciting part about teaching is determining what’s possible for each of our students and then working to achieve those goals.

    With over 20 years of training in both Irish dance and ballet, and a background in human resources, my teaching style is grounded in technique and supported by a strong understanding of goal setting, feedback, and motivation.

    As the first Adjudicator (ADCRG) in Atlantic Canada, and past World Irish Dance Championship competitor, I understand the dedication required of Irish dancers. I offer our students a trained eye, clear feedback, passion, energy, enthusiasm (and a bit of silliness) as they work towards their goals.

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