IMG_8872Erica Pessanha Borges

Laois Dance Academy Principal, Owner

 Contemporary and Ballet Teacher

Laois Youth Dance Ensemble Artistic Director;  Laois Dance Platform Director & Coordinator; Lisbon Dance Platform Co. Director; Graduate Diploma in Dance with Honours, University of Limerick.

Brazilian born, Erica believes that dance encourages us to stay rooted in our bodies as we act, make decisions, and participate in the world; it all transpires from the personal. She has been nurturing and enabling people to become involved in dance so they can better understand and appreciate it.

Erica has worked with Cathy Coughlan (YES Scheme) , Mariam Ribon (DYDC),  Iselichiodi Dance Company (Dance Residency mentored by the French choreographer Helene Chatala), Ciaran Gray and others. She had been funded for 4 consecutive years by the Laois Arts Office to teach dance in schools as part of the Artist in Schools Scheme.

In 2013 she founded Laois Youth Dance Ensemble with the support of Dunamaise Arts Centre and in the same year she launched Laois Dance Platform. The festival is funded by Arts Council Ireland and  showcases national & international dance works, featuring performances by professional dancers.

Her choreographies have toured to France and Portugal (Project Dance Paris and Lisbon Dance Platform).She’s committed to bring  more than dance experience to Laois Dance Academy students, but essential skills for them to develop as dancers and personal growth.


Hip Hop

Amy Dunne

BA in Dance, University of Limerick. Amy is trained in Contemporary, Ballet, Hip-hop, Commercial, Musical Theatre and Jazz. In 2019 she travelled to USA for an intensive training at Milleninum Dance Complex, Los Angeles. Her aspiration is to continue to inspire students through her love of dance. Watch Amy’s Dance crew video here



Niamh McDermott 

Niamh has been trained in ballet since the age of 5, studying with the Prima School of Ballet until 2010, where she achieved distinction in Grade 7 examinations. She is currently at 2nd year of full time dance training at Inchicore College, Dublin where she aims to gain RAD and ISTD Dance Teaching Diploma.
She also has a passion for contemporary dance, receiving training through CoisCeim Dance Theatre. She is a current member the Dublin Youth Dance Company, and have performed in numerous dance festivals across Ireland. In 2019 she was selected to take part in the Emergence programme, in collaboration with the NOISE Moves dance festival, where she choreographed the piece ‘Rise’ under the direction of notable Irish artists such as Jessie Keenan, Ailish Claffey and John Scott.

“I love introducing children to the world of dance, and have previously taught classes in a variety of styles through outreach programmes overseen by Trinity College’s St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Voluntary Tuition Programme. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Laois Dance Academy and to train the newest generation of dancers. “ says Niamh

10 thoughts on “Staff”

  1. Hi are you still running classes for adults? If yes could you forward the timetable, prices etc please? Thanks avril

    1. Hi Avril,

      I have Contemporary Dance for Adults in Portlaoise on Fridays 8:30pm and Dance & Exercise on Tuesday 7pm. I hope you can make it! If you want, ring me on 087-132-8852. Regards, Erica

    1. Hi There,
      What I have for teenagers at moment is Laois Youth Dance Ensemble. A contemporary dance group meeting in the Dunamaise every Saturday 3-5pm. If you need more details, please do not hesitate in contact me. Regards, Erica (087-132-8852)

  2. Hi Erica,
    Thanks for all your help & advice before our wedding. We really enjoyed the classes with you. You did great to make us relax and enjoy our first dance on our big day.
    Thanks again,

    Dónal & Michelle

    1. Hello Donal and Michelle,

      Thank you for your lovely message. I believe you guys did great a job on your first dance. Congratulations on your wedding! You’re a lovely couple.
      Warm Regards,

  3. Hi Melanie,

    Thanks for your message. At the moment I’ve 2 options: Contemporary dance class on Fridays 5-6pm and Laois Youth Dance Ensemble on Saturdays 3-5pm. The Friday class is suitable for children from 8-11 years old, but if you don’t mind working with younger people than you, I welcome you in. The Laois Youth Dance ensemble is a dance company and admission is through free trial/audition. The age group in the ensemble is 12-19 years old and to join you need to commit. Please let me know what you prefer. If you can ring me also: 0871328852.
    I’m looking forward to hear from you.
    Erica Borges.

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