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About

The Hester Academy of Irish Dance opened its doors in September, 2014.  Our school is fully certified and registered with An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha and the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America.  We aim to share the love of Irish dance with both Irish and non-Irish students alike in a family-oriented environment where each student creates goals for themselves and learns how to achieve those goals through discipline and hard work.

J.J. Hester, A.D.C.R.G, T.C.R.G., Owner

Although most students start young, J.J. started dancing for the Peter Smith School of Irish Dance in 2001 at age 16.  During his competitive career he earned numerous solo and team awards throughout local, regional, national, and world competitions.  He is a three-time First Place Mid-Atlantic Regional Oireachtas champion.  He placed in the top five at the North American Championships on three occasions, with 2nd place being his highest placement in 2006.   In 2005, he became a world medalist, placing 6th at the World Championships of Irish Dance.  In addition to his competitive career, he had the opportunity to perform in concert with the Chieftains and Eileen Ivers.  In 2005 he was accepted into Riverdance.  And, in 2011, he passed the rigorous T.C.R.G. exam to become a fully certified Irish Dance teacher, registered with An Coimisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha, the Irish Dance Commission in Dublin, Ireland.  In 2017, J.J. passed the extensive A.D.C.R.G. exam to become a fully certified Irish Dance adjudicator. Since becoming certified, he has taught students who have won numerous regional, national, and international competitions.  He attributes a great deal of his success in Irish Dance to the support he has received from his family and all of his dancing instructors. 

 

Aside from dance, he pursued and completed his Bachelor of Science degree with teacher certification at Montclair State University in 2009 and is an elementary Physical Education and Health teacher. While at Montclair State, he met his wife Brittany. She is also a dancer with over 20 years classical ballet experience, has worked in Disney's entertainment, and has been in and/or choreographed over 20 musicals. J.J. and Brittany have recently welcomed their first baby boy.