David Branton, T.C.R.G.
My introduction to Irish dance began in 2002 when a neighbour, Lynn Nazarwich, brought over Michael Flatley’s Feet of Flames DVD from their 1998 performance in Hyde Park. Having participated in tap and jazz for several years, I knew that dance was my “thing”, but this performance ignited something different in me. The power, elegance, and passion those dancers brought to the stage was like nothing I had ever seen.
Soon after, I enrolled in my first trial class with the Goggin School of Irish dance with Sara Johnson, a championship level dancer, serving as my main teacher from the day I started to my final competition. Sara, along with Barb Goggin, Ryan Carroll (then under the Goggin-Carroll School of Irish Dance) and Frances McGahan (our workshop teacher), taught me for the next 11 years as I moved through the ranks of the competitive Irish dance world. During this time I am proud of the hard work I put in to win the Eastern Canadian Regional Oireachtas for both solos and teams, as well as my placements overseas, including a 14th place at the world championships.
When Sara went on maternity leave, I transitioned from dancer to teacher and found that the passion I had for Irish dance was doubled as an Irish dance teacher. The next 10 years were met with tremendous competitive success for our Windsor location.
Some of the accomplishments I’m most proud of contributing to during this time are 23 world solo recalls, 4 solo world medals, the first North American Champion for Goggin-Carroll in solos and teams, a top five place at the All Irelands, All Scotlands, and Great Britain’s, several top 10 finishes at the worlds, and the numerous dancers who have achieved their own personal best.
I’m delighted to now start the Branton Academy of Irish dance to help share all of the joy Irish dance has brought to my life with new students. However, what makes me more proud is that I will continue to work with Frances McGahan and so many people that I danced with and taught over the years as we work towards spreading a love of Irish dance and the many benefits it can bring to your life.
In addition to teaching Irish dance, I am also a graduate of the University of Windsor, having achieved a Bachelor of Arts and Science (2016) and Bachelor of Education (2021). Since 2021, I have been an elementary occasional teacher with the Greater Essex County District School Board.