Staff

Kristin Butke Zagorski, TCRG, ADCRG Owner and Co-director Southern Academy of Irish Dance

Kristin Butke was born in Akron, Ohio and began Irish dancing at the age of four.  She trained under two-time world champion Tim O’Hare.  While competing, Kristin achieved seven Midwest Regional titles, ranging from Under 8 to Over 21 and was the 2001 North American Senior Ladies Champion.  Kristin placed 4th at the World Championships in 1993 and 1994 and took the bronze medal in 1997.  After taking off five years to dance professionally, Kristin returned to the competitive scene in 2002 at the age of 25 to capture the bronze medal again at the World Championships and the silver medal at the All-Ireland Championships.

Kristin’s professional experience begin in 1997 when she toured with the Lord of the Dance as a chorus member, then as the principle dancer in the role of Morrighan in Las Vegas and danced opposite Michael Flately in the role of Cleopatra in Feet of Flames.  In August 2003, she performed as Grainne in the Celtic rock musical Celtic Fusion with former Riverdance star Liam Harney.  Kristin has also performed with the Chieftains, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.  She has also toured and performed with the world-renowned all-female band Cherish the Ladies.

In 2002, after obtaining her TCRG certification, Kristin moved to Nashville TN and began teaching Irish dance to The Willis Family, who now air on TLC. Kristin coached 4 Willis children to win 9 regional titles in just 3 years. Jair Willis was her first student to win a World Championship medal in 2004.  Kristin has trained four teachers who successfully passed the TCRG exam.  In January of 2007, Kristin passed her ADCRG (certified judge).

Kristin has been teaching in Northern Virginia since 2012 and resides here with her husband and 3 children.

Denise Foster Fumagali, TCRG – Co-director Southern Academy of Irish Dance – VA

     Denise began her dancing career in Ballet and Tap classes at age 4 and added Jazz and Irish dancing along the way. What started as a mother’s attempt to expose her child to the culture of her Irish roots soon landed her in Ireland, dancing in the World Championships. Throughout the last thirty plus years of Irish dancing, she has been a student of Maureen Malcom in Virginia and Michael Smith from Boston and worked with master teachers from Canada, England, and Ireland. She has danced in both local and international competitions.

After graduating from the College of William and Mary in Virginia with a B.A. in Elementary Education, she has returned to dancing as a teacher. She is a member of Cecchetti Council of America, which qualifies her to teach the Cecchetti Method of Classical Ballet. She is also certified with An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha to teach Irish dancing. After 11 years of teaching first grade and kindergarten in Fairfax and Loudoun County Public Schools, Denise resigned in order to devote more time to teaching classes and directing the company at Applause! Applause! Performing Arts Center.

With her education background and two children of her own, Denise has been pursuing special interest in cognitive skill development.  In addition to her work at the studio, Denise is a substitute teacher with Loudoun County Public Schools.

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