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Brother and sister, John and Mary Mayer, started the Mayer School of Irish Dancing in 1980. The school consisted of about 5 students dancing in the basement of a house in Northwest Chicago. Today the school consists of locations in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa — with classes offered every day of the week.

John and Mary danced under the tutelage of Dennis and Marge Dennehy from Chicago. Both John and Mary placed at Regional and National Championships in their competitive years and competed at the World Championships in Dublin.

When they decided to open their own school, two of their first students were their younger brother and sister, Paul and Julie. Paul and Julie also went on to place at Regional and National Championships. John and Paul have since retired, but Mary continues to run the school with her sister, Julie. Peggy Maloney-Guardiola helps teach the Indiana classes.

Many students from the Mayer School have placed at Regional and National Championships and several have gone to Ireland to compete and win titles in the All-Ireland and World Championships. Each year, the school grows and the list of accomplishments grows as well.

Going back to the beginning…..The Dennehy part of the school.. Kathleen Dennehy and Mary Mayer began as childhood best friends and remain in that friendship today. Joining two schools together to make one only seemed natural.


The Dennehy-Mayer School of Irish Dancing has students in 3 states - Illinois, Indiana, Iowa. Our dancers perform at many functions throughout the year, such as festivals, weddings, nursing homes, sporting events and many more. Many of our students actively compete as well - at the local, National and International levels. We are proud to say that our dancers have won regional and national titles, as well as place at the World Championships each year.

We keep our class sizes small so that individual attention can be paid to each dancer at class. While competition is an integral part of our school's success, we also stress a fun and challenging learning environment for all our students. Our classes are structured in a way that allows students to see their own growth before their eyes. Because of the attention to details that our staff gives, our students not only develop into great dancers, but also into great people.