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Jolie Kilpatrick

Ms. Jolie began her Irish dance career with the late Mr. Patrick Butler and the Butler Academy of Irish Dance in Syracuse, NY at the ripe old age of fourteen. After seeing Riverdance on the Late Night Show with David Letterman, she couldn't get the rhythms out of her head and knew she needed to learn herself. 

She was devastated when the first dance school she spoke with told her she was too old to begin. God knew that wasn't the right school for her, and opened the door a year later when Mr. Butler began a class just ten minutes down the road from her house. Though she began "late", Mr. Butler and his assistant teacher, Pattie, pushed and encouraged her in both her competitive and show career.


After several successful years with Mr. Butler, and later Pattie Sheehan-Malinowski of the Butler-Sheehan School, she met and married her highschool sweetheart, Piper. They began a whirlwind adventure of moving around for school and careers, which landed them in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, PA.

While in Pittsburgh, Ms. Jolie began dancing with the Bell School of Irish dance where she finished out her dancing career under the amazing coaching of Julia Bell, ADCRG. She had the opportunity to compete at both the regional and national levels before retiring from competitive dancing. One of the highlights of her dance career was joining Michael Londra's Celtic Fire with fellow dance teachers Brian and Mary Lanni. She was able to travel for one season before stopping to grow their family with their second son.

Ms. Jolie fell in love with the teaching ethics, organization, and positive family atmosphere that is the Bell School and decided to stay on as a teacher after her dancing career ended. In 2014 she sat and passed the TCRG exam to become a certified teacher with An Comisiun le Rinci Gaelacha in Ireland. She had ten wonderful years in Pittsburgh before relocating to the Triangle area. KIDS maintains a sister school relationship with the Bell School to this day.

 She and her husband, Piper, have four boys, two who dance and two who might, and two wonderful dogs.

Ms. Jolie is so excited to bring her love of Irish dance to the greater Raleigh community and cannot wait to welcome new students, young and old, to her passion.


Laura Kelly

Ms. Laura began Irish dancing with Rince na h’Eireann School of Irish Dance (now the Connick-Reid Academy) near Charlotte, NC when she was 6 years old. Her parents encouraged her to start dancing to pick up the Irish heritage of their family. From the first few classes in the Fellowship Hall of a church, Laura was excited by the way Irish dancing forged friendships as everyone stumbled through their skips and sevens.

Although dance classes, shows, and competitions brought so much joy to her life, a series of injuries brought her dancing life to an abrupt end at age 16. Throughout college, dance remained on her mind through re-watches of Riverdance and missing out on the fun around St. Patrick’s Day. But during her time in grad school at Duke Divinity, dance re-entered her heart when she began researching dance as a way to carry on the spiritual stories of ancestors.

This journey brought Laura to the Kilpatrick Irish Dance School earlier this year as a part of the adult class. Irish dancing now means many things for her: community with those past and present, being a part of beautiful rhythms, and an always-evolving physical and mental challenge. Laura has loved being a part of the adult KIDS community, and is so excited to meet all the KIDS dancers and families!

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