Maureen O’Malley-Byrnes, TCRG
Maureen is the founder and Director of the O’Malley Irish Dance Academy, established in 1994. A former champion dancer, who performed in Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall and aboard Carnival Cruise Lines, she instructs over 150 children and adults in Brooklyn and Queens. The focus of the school has always been to promote the Irish culture and foster in her dancers a sense of pride in themselves. She has trained dancers for local, regional, national and world competitions with great success. Additionally, her students can be found at over 60 events during the year, volunteering their time and talent to many worthwhile causes.
Maureen’s students have performed all over the country, on television, at Ellis Island, City Hall, for the NY METS, the NY NETS, NY LIBERTY, BROOKLYN CYCLONES & more. Her dancers perform in countless schools, nursing homes, children’s hospitals, convents, centers for children with special needs and military bases during the year. Maureen also has the school take part in many charitable fund-raisers annually including Making Strides. The school is a proud sponsor of sports programs in the parishes of Good Shepherd, St. Francis de Sales & Blessed Trinity. Additionally, the school seeks to help their own dancers as well by being able to defray the cost of the children’s costumes to the parents, provide annually 2 Full Year Irish Dance Scholarships and college scholarships to their graduating seniors.
Maureen is a graduate of Good Shepherd Grammar School, Bishop Kearney High School and Brooklyn College. She graduated cum laude with a BA in Economics &a minor in Business Management. She enjoyed a successful career with a major Wall Street firm, before leaving to start a family. Married in 1998 to John, they have 3 children: Katie,18, Jack, 17, & Tommy, 13. She is an active member of the Columbiettes Council # 126, the Good Shepherd Catholic Club & Ladies A.O.H. Div 19. Maureen is an active member of her parish & the Parents association at her children’s schools.
Maureen was honored to be named one of the Top 100 Irish Americans, to serve as an aide to the Grand Marshall in the Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Day parade and as Deputy Grand Marshall in the Queens County Parade. She has received Commendations from the Brooklyn Borough President, the Mayor and the Comptroller of the City of New York for her contributions to Irish culture. She was awarded the Community Service Award by the Circle of Hope Cancer Foundation and honored by the Rockaway Point Volunteer Fire Dept for her efforts to the community during Hurricane Sandy. Maureen was the recipient of the Good Shepherd Service award for her commitments to her parish, the Cultural Excellence & Community Leadership award from the LAOH, and the Irish culture award from the Breezy Point Pipe and Drum Band for her commitment to Irish culture in the communities of Brooklyn and Queens. She was honored as one of the 2015 Brooklyn Women of Distinction and awarded the “Winning Woman of 2017” Award by the Brooklyn Cyclones Organization for her commitment to the community. In the Fall of 2018, she was honored with the Harry Murphy Catholic Action Award by the Queens County AOH at their annual ball.
Lisa Murphy, TCRG
Lisa Murphy began dancing with the O’Malley Irish Dance Academy in 1997 at the age of 8. Throughout these years, she has worked her way up the ranks in the competitive Irish Dance world. A 6-time World Championship Qualifier, she has placed as high as 2nd at the Mid-Atlantic Oireachtas, 2nd at the North American Championships, 5th at the Great Britain Championships, and various All-Ireland & World Championship recall medals. She was also a principle dancer in our 1st place Dance Drama team at the 2013 North American Championships and Mid-Atlantic Oireachtas.
In 2012, Lisa was invited to audition for Riverdance and successfully passed the audition. She also danced in the 2012 production of Take The Floor in Dublin, Ireland. Lisa served for 4 years as the head counselor for the Camp Rince Ceol, the original Irish dance summer camp with instructors from all over the world. In Spring 2018, Lisa performed with Hammerstep in their debut immersive theater production Indigo Grey: The Micah Grey Experiment, where she was also named Dance Captain!
In addition to Irish Dance, Lisa has also taken master classes with the Abby Lee Dance Company and Richard Jackson (Lady Gaga’s choreographer). Lisa is currently enrolled in classes at the Broadway Dance Center. In 2017, Lisa was even featured in a Pepsi Super Bowl commercial for Lady Gaga’s halftime performance!
Lisa also is a certified Radiologic Technologist, having graduated in 2015 as Valedictorian of her class from NY Methodist’s Bartone School of Radiography. She is currently working with New York Radiology Partners as an x-ray & mammography technologist. Lisa successfully passed her T.C.R.G. examination with honors from An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha in September 2013 and is delighted to be teaching with the O’Malley Irish Dance Academy!
Catherine Muldoon, TCRG
Catherine first knew she loved Irish Step Dancing when she was 9 years old and she saw a TV special on Riverdance. She spent the rest of the night jumping around her room pretending she was on stage until her mom agreed to sign her up for dance classes. She joined the O’Malley Irish Dance academy in the fall of 1999, and she could not have made a better choice.
Under Maureen’s direction, Catherine has competed on the Regional, National, and World stages. She has performed at hundreds of events over the years ranging from anniversary parties to Major League baseball games to morning news shows. She enjoys the intensity of Irish dancing, and she values the long lasting friendships she has made through dance. Catherine successfully passed her T.C.R.G examination in September 2014 from An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha, and she is proud to teach with The O’Malley Irish Dance Academy!
Outside of dancing, Catherine enjoys everything related to Disney. She completed a Disney College Program in Walt Disney World as a Concierge at Saratoga Springs and Old Key West in the fall of 2012, after graduating summa cum laude from St. Joseph’s College. She holds an MBA in Strategic Management from Pace University, and is currently working for Silverpeak Real Estate Partners as an Investor Relations Analyst. She and her husband, Matthew, will celebrate their second wedding anniversary in November.
Cassie Russo, TCRG
Cassie fell in love with Irish Dance in 1997 at the age of 8. She joined The O’Malley Irish Dance Academy after moving to Maureen’s block (right across the street!). What started as an after-school activity, quickly became her central focus in all aspects of life. Cassie earned her first competitive position on the 1998 U11 4 Hand Oireachtas team, just a year after she started with the school. Over the years she has put her heart and soul into her passion; this dedication earned her positions in Solo, 4-hand, 8-hand, Choreography & Dance Drama competitions at the Regional, National & World Championship levels. In one of her last stage appearances, Cassie’s 4-hand team won 3rd place in the Senior Ladies competition (she was a Senior in college at the time).
In 2007, Cassie pursued her undergraduate degree at her dream college. She kept her dance career alive from over 100 miles away. Throughout her college experience she traveled home several times a year for practices and shows, as well as competing in Regional and World competition. She also choreographed for the Marist College Dance Ensemble. In 2012, Cassie moved to the island of Oahu, Hawaii, to pursue a career in high school education- while quenching her desire for exploration. She returned a year later; she didn’t even miss The Big Show that year!! She was also a Camp Rince Ceol counselor in 2013 & 2014.
In December 2016, Cassie earned the most esteemed accolade of her dancing and personal career – she successfully passed her exams and became a T.C.R.G. A lifelong dream come to life, Cassie is a recognized member of An Coimisiún & is overjoyed to be teaching with The O’Malley Irish Dance Academy! Cassie loves working with all the children- instilling a love of dance as the years progress and hopes to mold them into the best champions they can be!
When not in the studio, Cassie spends her days as an Executive Assistant at an economic consulting firm. She loves to take in the sights of Manhattan & moved to the Upper East Side.
Cassie & Brian like to keep themselves busy throughout the year & take as many trips as possible to Walt Disney World, becoming DVC members this year!
In August 2017, Cassie and her now fiancé Brian announced their engagement! The wedding is set for September 2019 – planning is in full swing!