At the age of 2, Keara Osborne jumped out of her stroller and ran up on stage in the middle of an Irish dance competition yelling “MOMMY! I HAVE to do this!” So, when a new Irish Step Dance class opened near her home at the age of 6, Keara took her first steps into the world of Irish dancing, having no idea it would be such a big part of her life for the next 20 plus years.
Keara’s first class was with the O’Connor School of Irish Dance, under the direction of Bella Yerina, T.C.R.G. Over the next 11 years, Keara enjoyed the competitive journey from beginner to champion, and competed at the local, regional, and national level. Keara found her true love in performing through local shows with her dance school in the Los Angeles area.
After receiving her high school diploma, Keara attended the University of California, Irvine. The move to college required a change in dance schools, and Keara continued her love of dance with the Comerford School of Irish Dance, directed by Tony Comerford, T.C.R.G. Keara excelled in both solo and team competition under Comerford’s direction, but her progress was cut short by a devastating horseback riding accident in 2005 that left her with a fractured skull. Keara’s speed and completeness of recovery was nothing short of a miracle, and within less than a year she was back at UC, Irvine and working hard to get her body in dancing shape again. She graduated from UC, Irvine in 2007 with a BA in Psychology and Social Behavior.
Currently under the direction and encouragement of Christine Byrne, T.C.R.G., Keara gets to live her dream of being a performing Irish dancer. She is a member of The Orange County Performing Art’s Center’s Arts Teach Program as an Irish Dancer in the group Celtic Syke, and has enjoyed performing with the group all over Southern California since 2007. She can frequently be found performing throughout Southern California with the Long Beach-based Sligo Rags, and has also performed for American Wake, The Fenians, The Young Dubliners, and Gaelic Storm.
Ka-Ce J. Abshier--
Assist Director, Media Director
While on a camping trip Ka-Ce’s mom watched as her fearless four-year-old daughter climb up on the community stage and lead all the campers in a round of campfire songs. This prompted her mom to put her immediately into ballet, tap, and gymnastic classes. Due to unfortunate family circumstances the lessons had to be halted and it wasn’t until junior high that Ka-Ce’s passion for dance was found again when Riverdance visited the Pantages Theater in 1998.
That summer a friend of the family found an ad through the community paper; a summer Irish dance workshop was being taught! Ka-Ce was quickly enrolled, began her first lessons with Christine Byrne, T.C.R.G. of the then Christine Byrne School of Irish Dance, and the rest was history!
Ka-Ce naturally followed Christine to further her training, and soon began competing at the local and regional levels. During her senior year in high school, Ka-Ce began assisting Christine in her classes at the Santa Fe Springs Studio. The following year saw her assisting at the Monrovia classes as well.
Graduating high school in 2002, Ka-Ce quickly finished her studies at Cerritos College in 2003, graduating with Associate of Arts degrees in Anthropology and Dance. She then transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology in 2007. While at Cerritos College, Ka-Ce participated in the fall and spring dance concerts, even while having a full load in high school. Twice she was selected to be one of the student choreographers for the spring concerts, and brought over Irish dancers from the Aniar Academy of Irish Dance.
Ka-Ce still teaches Irish dance at the Santa Fe Springs Studio, helps maintain the school website, and is one of the studio’s photographers. She has also performed alongside The American Wake, The Fenians, and with Those Manning Boys for almost a decade.
Torrey Willcox began Irish Step Dancing in Junior High, after a television performance prompted her to seek out a studio. 11 years ago, Torrey began dancing with the Aniar Academy of Irish Dance, under the direction of Christine Byrne, T.C.R.G. Under Christine's direction, Torrey grew from beginner to champion competitor, and has competed at the local and regional levels. In September of 2005, Torrey became an assistant instructor at the Aniar Academy, and continues to teach some of Aniar's beginning classes. Torrey has performed in school shows with the Aniar Academy throughout Orange County, and has particularly enjoyed performing with the band The American Wake.
Not only is she a talented dancer, Torrey is accomplished in visual arts. She has combined her talents to be the Aniar Academy's Laguna Niguel studio photographer and is a part of its web team.
Our youngest troupe member Rebekah started dancing at the tender age of six. Buying her own poodle socks and ghillies with her birthday money, Rebekah could not wait to start Irish dancing. She began lessons with Christine Byrne, T.C.R.G. of Aniar Academy of Irish Dance and quickly rose through the ranks. She placed 38th at her first Nationals before she was even a Preliminary Champion dancer and was qualifying for Worlds shortly after.
Rebekah has placed 5th, 8th, 13th, and 22nd at the U.S. Western Regional Oireachtas, earning her spots to compete at Nationals each time and twice for Worlds. She has also placed in the top 30’s each time she competed at Nationals.
Aside from competition life, Rebekah has also performed twice as a guest artist at the Cerritos College Dance Spring Concerts and enjoys performing along great bands as The Young Dubliners, The Galway Hooker Band, and Those Manning Boys. Rebekah has also studied ballet at the Santa Fe Springs Center for the Performing Arts, and has recently added lyrical, tap, pointe, and hip-hop to her repertoire.
Megan & Adam Kirk
Irish step dancers Megan and Adam Kirk are a brother-sister team who have danced together for nearly two decades. They have been fortunate to share their love for dance by performing for audiences worldwide, and are excited to be performing for CTMS’ Fall Equinox Festival.
They began dancing together at the ages of 6 and 2, respectively, in Polynesian dance, and continued with classes, performances, and competitions for the next ten years. Their next endeavor was to become Irish dancers, and they began classes together 11 years ago with the O’Connor School of Irish Dance, under the direction of Bella Yerina, T.C.R.G. They both quickly rose up the ranks in competition, and also enjoyed performing locally in shows with their dance school and the Los Angeles-based Celtic Arts Center. They have performed at prestigious venues throughout Southern California, including the Ford Amphitheatre, the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, and Disneyland Resort. They are members of Everything Celtic Music and Dance Troupe, and have performed with them at Renaissance Fairs, Celtic Festivals, and private events.
Adam competed until the age of 19, achieving 5th place at the US Western Region Oireachtas, and 8th place at the North American National Championships. He performs on a regular basis throughout Southern California. In January 2010, Adam was the featured Irish dancer aboard the Wicked Tinkers Cruise, dancing for the band aboard a Carnival cruise ship along the Baja coast.
Megan competes in Irish dance with the Aniar Academy of Irish dance, under the direction of Christine Byrne, T.C.R.G. She has competed at regional, national, and world championships, and has placed 4th in the region, and 24th in the nation. Megan is also currently dancing in the Irish dance show sensation Celtic Legends, and has toured with them across the US, France, and China since early 2009.
Ryannlee Weiss-Davis is an exciting dancer, teacher and choreographer. Having spent all of her life dancing, she continued her dance education after graduating from HBHS in 2004 with a full scholarship to Defore’s Foundation Of The Arts. There she studied with such fantastic teachers as Christine Baltes, Michael Esperanza, Leann Alduenda, Michael VanPatten and Tim Stevenson. Currently she is the Assistant to the Creative Director (Cindy Peca-Dolan) at the Orange County High School Of The Arts and also is a substitute teacher on their facutly as well.
Her professional career has seen her dance in Las Vegas and Hollywood with The Young Dubliners, under the direction of Christine Byrne, T.C.R.G. Ryannlee has also danced with Chris Baltes and her company for the past 3 years, the 2006 Pro-bowl with the Back Street Boys, Pulse Productions for the past 5 years and so much more. Now working side by side with Cindy Peca Dolan, Ryannlee is now the assistant to the creative director as well as a teacher in the conservatory department at OCHSA.