Theresa Shaffer Wilkinson, ADCRG
Certified Instructor and Adjudicator
Theresa Shaffer Wilkinson, ADCRG began dancing at age four at the Burke School of Irish Dance in Youngstown, Ohio, with legendary instructor Tessie Burke ADCRG. During her successful competitive career, Theresa competed at the World Championships numerous times; she was ranked top 5 in the Midwest Region and top 15 in North America. As a teenager, Theresa began working with younger students at the Burke school. She quickly found a passion in teaching dance. In 1999 she became a registered teacher (TCRG) through the Irish Dance Commission (An Coimisiun le Rince Gaelacha) in Ireland. Theresa continued dancing in performances with Trinity Dance Company and Irish music groups such as Solas and Cherish the Ladies. After moving to Boston with her husband Philip, Theresa founded the Dunleavy Shaffer School of Irish Dance in 2005. Together with co-director Suzanne Dunleavy McDonough ADCRG, Theresa taught hundreds of students in all levels of Irish dance over a 10-year period, ranging from preschool level classes to coaching numerous world medal holders and New England Regional Champion teams and soloists. She and Suzanne co-directed the school until 2015, when Theresa relocated to the Pittsburgh area to be closer to her family. In December 2015, Theresa was awarded the ADCRG certification.
Music and dance are a family affair for Theresa - her father Mike Shaffer is a world-renowned feis musician, as was Theresa's late grandfather Gordon Shaffer. Theresa and her father made several recordings of Irish dance practice music, and they are frequently invited to play at local, regional and national Irish dance competitions. She also continues to pass on the family heritage to her two children, Kiera and Theo, who are both involved in Irish dance and music. Theresa is also a preschool teacher and now lives in Franklin Park, PA with her husband Philip and their children.