SPOTLIGHT ON: Niamh O’Flannagain

We are delighted to introduce another of our 2019/2020 brand ambassadors, the enchanting Niamh O’Flannagain. Niamh told us about her dance career so far, her passion for ballet, and let us in on what she’s planning for the future.

Tell us a little bit about your dance training so far: Where and when you started out?
Where you have trained?

I started dancing in Dublin at the age of 5. There was a class in the school hall every Friday that I did with friends and I loved every second of it. I studied with The Dunbar School of Dance and then with The Goode School of Dance. When I was 15, I auditioned for schools in the UK and was accepted into Tring Park School for the Performing Arts. I was there for 4 years studying Ballet, Contemporary and Jazz and graduated with a Diploma in Professional Dance and A-Levels in Maths, Chemistry and Psychology.
In my final year, I auditioned for ballet companies and was accepted into Ballet Ireland. I’m now going into my third season with the company having previously toured Ireland with The Nutcracker and performed Ohad Naharin’s ‘Minus 16’. This summer I’ve been performing in Birmingham and London with Chrysalis London Contemporary and also worked as a dancer for TV advertisements and music videos. I am also Stott Pilates trained and currently working towards gaining my instructor qualification.

What do you love most about dancing?

What I love most about dancing is how much enjoyment it can bring to both the audience and to us as dancers. Through movement, we have the ability to transport the audience to a different place while telling a story. As dancers, we have the freedom to express and lose ourselves within the music and movement. We also have the opportunity to play characters that may be completely different to ourselves which is both fun and challenging.

What do you love most about dancing?

What I love most about dancing is how much enjoyment it can bring to both the audience and to us as dancers. Through movement, we have the ability to transport the audience to a different place while telling a story. As dancers, we have the freedom to express and lose ourselves within the music and movement. We also have the opportunity to play characters that may be completely different to ourselves which is both fun and challenging.

What has been your favourite dance-related moment in your career so far?

My favourite dance-related moment so far has to be my first performance as a professional dancer with Ballet Ireland. I felt so lucky to be doing what I love as a career. The Nutcracker was such a great ballet to do as my first professional show. It embodies the magic of Christmas. There were so many different characters and roles to dance and we had so much fun together as a company on stage. Being back in Ireland, after living in the UK for four years, also meant that my family and friends here had the opportunity to watch me perform, which was really special.

What made you apply for the ambassador programme?

I’ve shopped in Dance World since I started my first dance class at age five. It was, and still is, one of my favourite shops. I could spend hours there! I applied because I felt I knew all the products in the store really well. I get all my pointe shoes and dancewear from Dance World and the staff are always so friendly and helpful. I knew I would be proud to promote the store and its products. I also hoped I could give a glimpse into what dance company life is like, share any advice I have, and show other young dancers my favourite products and how I use them. I have lots of ideas and can’t wait to work with the team at Dance World as an ambassador.

What one piece of advice would you like to give to younger dancers?

I couldn’t pick one so here are my top two:

Work hard and be nice to everyone you meet.

Your reputation is everything in this industry. Often, and especially freelancing, you get more work from word of mouth and referrals than auditions. Hard work always pays off and people want to work with people who are genuine and good team players.


Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t put yourself down.

Nothing positive comes out of this and it’s a waste of time and energy. Instead, watch other dancer’s strengths and learn everything you can from them. If you can learn one thing from every other dancer’s forte, you will improve so much. Without knowing it, my colleagues teach me so much every day. Doing this and focusing on things done well also helps you to have a positive mindset in the studio.

What does the future hold for you?

Hopefully a lot more dancing! I love being part of a touring company and travelling. Working with choreographers creating new pieces is so exciting and I hope to keep having opportunities to perform both ballet and contemporary in the future. I also really enjoy teaching ballet and it is definitely something I’ll continue to do alongside performing. I’ll continue working towards getting my pilates instructor qualification so hopefully, soon I will be teaching that as well.

Finally, I studied Psychology as an A-Level and found it fascinating. I’m interested in taking that further at some point and maybe going into dance/sport psychology or sports science. Not knowing what the future holds is the exciting part!

What is your favourite Dance World product?

There are too many!

Pointe shoes – I can’t do my job without them. I buy all my pointe shoes from Dance World along with ribbons and elastics. I still get excited about new shoes, they always look so perfect and shiny when they are new. It’s a shame they don’t stay that way for very long!

Leotards – I can never resist popping into the store to see what new leotards are stocked. Dance World is always bringing in new brands, styles, and colours of leotards and I love looking through them. My favourite at the moment is the Mirella Fall 2019 range that has just been stocked – the colours and designs are so beautiful.

Notebooks – Writing down choreography is something that really helps me learn and remember steps so I always have notebooks with me for after rehearsals. I’ve gone through so many of Dance World’s ‘Like G’ notebooks and always love the style and images on the front.

We are thrilled to have Niamh on board this year and look forward to sharing more amazing content with you all soon! Keep an eye on our social media accounts and follow Niamh on Instagram to stay up to date with her and with Dance World!

Instagram – @niamhoflannagain

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