Mary Kay Heneghan started Irish dancing at the age of four under the direction of Paul Tynan. Her mother was also an Irish dancer and faithfully brought her to dance classes and promoted Mary Kay’s love of Irish dance. After Paul relocated, Mary Kay finished her years of competing with the Woodgate School. She opened her own school, Rince Na Tiarna, in Erie, Pa. and expanded throughout Western New York starting in 1986 when she took her teachers exam. (She was the first Western New Yorker to receive her Irish Dance teacher certification In 1997, Mary Kay passed her adjudicators exam and has been honored to have judged all over the world, including Australian qualifier, Great Britains, British Nationals as well as North American Dance Championships. In 2000, RNT was the first school in North America to ever win the All Ireland Championships in team dancing. In 2005, Rince Na Tiarna’s Kevinah Dargan won the World Championships, making her the youngest North American to win a world. That same year, Mary Kay was named one of Buffalo’s Top 40 Under 40, as well as one of Irish America Magazines Top 100.
Dancers from RNT have won Worlds, All Irelands, Nationals and Regionals. They have performed on Broadway and London’s Westend in Lord of the Dance. Dancers have also toured with Riverdance throughout the world.
On a non-competitive level, Mary Kay has choreographed dance scenes in movies including “Travelers” starring Mark Wahlberg and Julianna Margolis and her dancers have also appeared on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” as well as “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee”. Mary Kay and her dancers were also one of three featured schools in the reality TV show “The Big Jig” which aired October 2013.
Mary Kay has a master’s degree in Counseling Education from Canisius College.