Meet us, the members of our standing committee and founding members of SAIDA, and get to know a bit more about the work we have been doing through the years developing and promoting Irish Dance in our respective countries.
Fernando Marcos ADCRG (Argentina)
Born in the city of Rosario in Argentina Fernando trained with 10-time world Champion Kevin McCormack ADCRG. Thanks to his instruction Fernando passed his TCRG on his first attempt on May 2003 which gave him the honour of being the first non-English speaking person in the world to achieve this highly respected qualification.
Appart from actively teaching Irish Dance in Argentina and Mexico, he has been dancing with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann's Brú Ború Show in Cashel, Ireland for the past ten years and has toured the world extensively with them. In 2010 he danced for former president Mary McAleese at World Expo Shanghai and has more recently performed for Ireland's Presidency of the European Union events. Fernando has accompanied President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins in several official events over the last couple of years, being the latest one, the official opening of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2016 in Ennis, Co. Care.
Fernando has a vast experience teaching and choreographing Irish Dance, having taught workshops and camps all over the world as well as choreographing for Irish Dance shows.
Fernando is the current Chairperson for SAIDA - South American Irish Dance Association. In August 2018 Fernando passed the ADCRG exam (Irish Dance Adjudicator), now making him the first South American to achieve the coveted degree.
Paula Sabatino TCRG (Brasil)
Paula Sabbatino was born in Rio de Janeiro and is a professional tap dancer and Irish dancer, having started her studies in Irish Dance in 2007 with Fernanda Faez in Campinas, in the state of São Paulo. She later became a teacher and company member of Banana Broadway (a school in Campinas specializing in tap dancing and Irish dancing). She has studied under renowned Irish teachers, such as Bernadette Chaney, Richard Griffin, Olive Hurley, Anthony Fallon and Breandan de Gallaí.
In 2011 Paula travelled to Dublin to take the TCRG, exam which qualifies her as an Irish Dance teacher for An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha.
From 2011 to 2016 Paula gave tap dancing and Irish dancing classes and workshops in Rio de Janeiro. She also created and directed the Irish Dance group Sintonia Celta. She danced professionally and with Sintonia Celta at many Irish Culture events with known Brazilian musicians of Traditional Irish Music, such as Café Irlanda and Navar&Friends. Paula also danced with the Irish Dance group Cia Celta Brasil at "Rock in Rio 2013".
Paula moved to Campinas, Sao Paulo in early 2017 where she teaches tap dancing and Irish dancing at Banana Broadway, Studio de Dança Anita Grossi and dances with Cia. Celta Brasil.
Dominique Duré TCRG (Argentina)
Secretary / Treasurer
Born in Buenos Aires, Dominique is the director of "Celtic Argentina" school of Irish dance. Founded in 1979 by her mother, Christine Rasmuseen (who learned her basics from the legendary Mary Walsh!), Dominique started Irish dancing at the young age of 3. During her dance career she was trained by a wide variety of international teachers like Kevin McCormack ADCGR and Mary Sweeney ADCRG to mention a few. Dominique has taken several courses and study programs in the University of Limerick in Ireland and was part of Riverdance Masterclasses in 2013. That year she was granted an award from the Marie Duffy Foundation for her work on Irish Dancing in her region, funding her trip to Ireland to take her TCRG exam. Her interests in dance don't stop at Irish step dancing but extends to the roots of the indigenous dances of Ireland, having taken various masterclasses and workshops in Sean Nós dancing and Set Dancing.
Dominique has yearly organized ESDI (Encuentro Sudamericano de Danzas Irlandesas - South American Gathering of Irish Dancers) in Buenos Aires since 2012: a multiple platform event which saw dancers from everywhere in the South American continent take Workshops, compete at the Buenos Aires Feis, sit CLRG Grade Exams as well as perform in an International Showcase of the talents of our Region's Irish Dance Schools.
Sandra Claren TCRG (Chile)
Sandra began dancing at the age of 3. She has a degree in Physical Education Pedagogy from the Cardenal Silva Hernandez University. In 1992 she opened her dance School -Sandra Claren School of Irish Dance-
She has taken several courses (2003-2012) both in dance technique and teaching methods with Hession School of Irish Dance. Her mentor was Gemma Hession, a Riverdance dancer for many years and the teacher of many Irish dance World champions. Sandra has perfected her techniques for Ceilí dance teaching in Scottown, Co. Monaghan as well as hardshoe performance technique with Gerard Hayes (Celtic Legends), Adam Sherry (Lord of the Dance), Christopher McGrory TCRG and Anthony Fallon (Women of Ireland 2015) among many others.
Sandra has taught workshops in Chile and abroad: GAM 2013, a special course for dancers from the "Teatro Municipal of Santiago Ballet" and in Tucson, AZ for the Senita Valley Elementary School in 2012.
Sandra took her TCRG examination in 2016 joining An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha's huge worldwide network of dance schools and since then had her class take part in Feiseanna.
Sandra Claren School of Irish Dance have done countless performances and small shows for Universities, Schools, Casinos and Chilean TV shows. It has also perfomed at the International Festival of Claquet in Reus, Barcelona and has assisted in promoting Lord of the Dance on national TV in 2006.
Sandra's was one of the many schools attending ESDI (Gathering of Southamerican Irish Dancers) in Buenos Aires, Argentina 2015 and 2016 and bows to organize ESDI Chile in late September 2017!
Fernanda Faez TCRG (Brasil)
Fernanda Faez holds a Bachelor's Degree in Dance from the Department of Body Arts at UNICAMP (emphasis on Brazilian Dances from a technical, anthropological and cultural point of view), specialization in Dance Movement Therapy at CEFID, Titulada T.C.R.G. An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha, founder of Banana Broadway (Campinas-SP), pioneering school in American Pattaya, Irish Dance and Aerial Silk dancing.
She is the creator and producer of the "Celta Brasil Festival", since 2000, with 14 successful editions. As a soloist, she won 10 awards at Traditional Irish Dance Championships (Feis) in Dublin, Ireland. She was one of the 80 selected in the world to participate in the program "Riverdance The Gathering" in 2013. Fernanda and her school attended the World Championship of Irish Dance in Boston making Brazil the pioneer and to this day the first and only South American country to participate in such an event. As a choreographer, she received numerous awards in Dance Festivals, with an exchange prize from MinC (2013) and Cultural Circuit Paulista.
Daniela Sandoval TCRG (Colombia)
Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Daniela is a Business Administrator, dancer and Irish Dance teacher since May 2017. She learned Irish dancing under the tutelage of Olive Hurley TCRG ADCRG and Kevin Warren TCRG. Daniela has participated in the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance’s (University of Limerick) Summer Course: Blás in 2008 and 2009 having taken lessons with world renowned teachers and dancers such as Colin Dunne among others. A similar experience at the “Irish Dance South” workshop in France, saw her dance under Riverdance and TV stars Breandan De Gallaí; Joanne Doyle; Ronan McCormack and Dearbhla Lennon.
In 2013 she had the pleasure of taking part in the “1ra Jornada de Capacitación en Danza Irlandesa - Irish Dance Camp Latino" in Bogotá along David Barkley and Siobhán Joyce TCRG. 2015 and 2016 saw Daniela get involved into the organizational side of the Irish Dance Camp Latino, where she had MA in Irish Traditional Dance Performance and TCRG, Luis Sanchez from Guadalajara, Mexico as main teacher.
Daniela passed her TCRG exam in May 2017 and is Colombia’s first fully qualified Irish Dance teacher. She teaches in several locations in Bogotá and directs and choreographs her own Irish Dance performance company called “Fuego Celta” (Celtic Fire).
Andrea Debais TCRG (Argentina)
Andrea Debais comenzó a bailar a los 8 años en la Escuela de Danzas Irlandesas Celtic Argentina (Buenos Aires). Sus primeros pasos fueron con Christine Rasmussen, directora fundadora, y continuó su formación como bailarina con Dominique Dure TCRG, profesora calificada en danzas irlandesas por la Comisión mundial de danza irlandesa (CLRG). En sus años de aprendizaje asistió a talleres con renombrados profesores internacionales como Kevin McCormack ADCRG, Michael Ryan ADCRG y Dearbhla Lennon ADCRG. Participó en el programa de verano Blas Summer School en la Universidad de Limerick y en los encuentros sudamericanos de danza irlandesa celebrados en la región, en los que obtuvo premios tanto individuales como grupales. En su última edición, fue la ganadora del Oireachtas (2018), obtuvo la clasificación a los Campeonatos Mundiales de Danza Irlandesa 2019 y concluyó su último examen de bailarina irlandesa.
En el año 2011 se incorporó al elenco de Celtic Argentina y desde entonces colabora en la formación de nuevos bailarines. En 2023 Andrea aprobó el examen de TCRG en Dublin, Irlanda.
Clarisa Rakos TCRG (Chile)
Clarisa Rakos TCRG was born in Britain but raised in Amsterdam where she got to hear the sounds of Celtic music and dance for the first time... a true cosmopolitan!
Having originally trained in Irish Dancing in Ireland and Britain, Clarisa is the first registered teacher with An Coimisiún in Chile and was the director and principal choreographer of the C.Rakos Irish Dance Academy Chile.
Sponsored by the British Council and the Irish Consulate for Chile, she has organized many events, workshops and cultural activities linking Irish Celtic Music and Dance. She has toured both nationally and internationally with several groups and bands. In 2013 Clarisa was Chile's ambassador at the multicultural Riverdance-The Gathering event, which saw the record-breaking longest line of Irish dancers in history earn an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Although as of early 2017 Clarisa has moved to London indefinitely, SAIDA would like to acknowledge her support as a founding member of this organization.