Glencastle Irish Dancers, Inc. is a vibrant and inclusive Irish dance school located in Franklin, Wisconsin. Our dedicated studio provides comprehensive Irish dance instruction for both children and adults. We offer a diverse range of opportunities, including competition, solo and team dancing, performances, and a chance to immerse oneself in the traditions of Irish culture. At Glencastle, we prioritize our families and believe in tailoring involvement levels to individual preferences. Whether you seek to learn a few steps or aspire to perform and compete, our experienced staff is committed to fostering a sense of belonging, friendship, school spirit, and confidence in each and every student. Join us as we celebrate the joy of Irish dance while creating lifelong memories.
Glencastle, a small town in County Mayo, Ireland, near Belmullet, holds special significance for our owner and instructor, Bridget Jaskulski, as it is her ancestral home. Bridget's great grandparents were raised in Glencastle and immigrated to the United States in the late 1800's. As a tribute to her family roots, Bridget named our school Glencastle.
HOW WE GOT OUR START
Since February 23, 2000, Glencastle Irish Dancers, Inc. has been offering dance lessons in the Milwaukee area. Our children's classes initially started at the College Park School in Greendale, Wisconsin, while the adult classes began at the Celtic MKE Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. From our humble beginnings with 26 students, we have now expanded to over 150 students in our school.
Bridget Jaskulski, TCRG
Bridget, with over four decades of experience, has dedicated herself to teaching Irish dance. Her journey began at the age of 6 when she commenced her lessons with the Shamrock Club Irish Dancers, under the guidance of Dr. Mary Eileen Geary, TCRG.
Bridget's journey in Irish dance led her to compete at various levels, including regional, national, and world competitions. In 1987, she proudly competed on a team at the World Championships of Irish Dance in Galway, Ireland with the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance, where her team earned a gold medal. The following year, in 1988, Bridget returned to the World Championships as a solo dancer.
Sharing her love and passion for Irish dance, Bridget has mentored and coached students of all ages, guiding them to success in performances, solo dances, and team competitions, In 1998, Bridget earned her TCRG certification.
Beyond her role as owner and instructor, Bridget serves as the President of the Board for Celtic MKE, Sergeant at Arms for the Irish Dance Teachers Association of Mid-America, and Secretary of the Milwaukee Feis Society.
Colleen has been an integral part of Glencastle Irish Dancers since its inception in 2000. She competed at regional and national competitions on ceili teams and started instructing classes in 2009. Colleen serves as the performance coordinator and is the driving force behind creating memorable experiences for both dancers and audiences.
Colleen is a graduate of UW-Milwaukee with a degree in K-12 theater education. Alongside her role at Glencastle, she is the theater director at Wauwatosa East High School, bringing her love for the arts into the heart of education.
Colleen Nichol, TCRG
Colleen began dancing with Glencastle in 2001 and throughout her career competed as a soloist and on ceili teams at Regional and National competitions, ultimately reaching the Championship level of competition. She has a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Physiology and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Marquette University. Colleen passed her TCRG exam in September 2016. Colleen is the Curriculum Coordinator for Glencastle.
Kelly has been in the Irish dance world for over 35 years. She started dancing at the age of eight with the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance. She competed in regional, national, and world championships in solo and team dancing, ultimately receiving a gold medal in Dance Drama in 1990. She was a founding member of the Trinity Irish Dance Company performing overseas as well as appearing on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" in 1991. Kelly has been teaching for Glencastle since 2001, teaching all levels from beginners through adults as well as performance and team dancing. Kelly is married to her husband Adrian and works at the Milwaukee VA Hospital as a registered nurse that specializes in Palliative and Hospice Care.
Katie Simet Braunreiter, TCRG
Katie has been teaching Irish Dance since the age of 15. She taught classes side by side with Bridget at the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance. She passed her TCRG exam in 2008, making her a certified Irish dance instructor. Her experience as a K-8 educator and her passion for Irish dance have led her to design various Irish dance creative movement curriculums for new dancers. By day, Katie works at Marquette University in academic support for student-athletes.
Megan Sinclair Schwanke, TCRG
Megan has been dancing with Glencastle Irish Dancers since the school's foundation in 2000. She reached the Open Championship level of competition and competed as a soloist and team dancer at the Regional, National, All-Ireland, and World Championships before retiring in 2012. She has been teaching with Glencastle since 2009 and currently serves as the school's Beginner Coordinator. In 2016, she passed her TCRG examination making her a certified Irish dance teacher. She is a graduate of Fordham University in New York with a B.S. in Psychology and UW-Milwaukee with a Master's in Public Health. When not at Glencastle, Megan works in the non-profit sector as a Development professional.
Aidan has been dancing with Glencastle since 2007, and continued to compete and perform through 2022. After competing in solos and ceilis at the Oireachtas, National, and World Championship levels, as well has performing on the largest of stages. Aidan has shifted his focus from dance to teaching. While pursuing a TCRG certification, Aidan is a student at Marquette University, pursuing degrees in Exercise Physiology and Physical Therapy.
In 2011, Emily started her dancing journey with Glencastle. Throughout her time as a dancer, she achieved the Open Championship level and participated in various competitions, including the Mid-America Oireachtas, North American Irish Dance Championships, and the World Championships of Irish Dance, both as a soloist and team dancer. In 2018, she took on the role of instructor and teaches our beginners and grade level dancers. Emily is a student at Marquette University pursuing a degree in Applied Mathematical Economics.
Monique has been involved in the Irish dance world in different aspects for 30 years. She danced as a child from ages 10-17, followed by becoming a Glencastle dance mom for the past 16 years. Monique loves everything about Irish Dance and being a part of the Glencastle family and is now honored to continue that passion by being a part of this incredible staff as GID's administrative assistant. Monique is also the co-chair of The Glencastle and Milwaukee Feis. When not at Glencastle, Monique also owns her own travel agency that specializes in booking Disney vacations.
"I danced with Glencastle because it felt like one big family. With them I learned the value of being respectful to my fellow classmates and competitors, that results only come with hard work and determination, and the importance of supporting one another as we worked to achieve our goals."
Becky Reese, Former Dancer
Glencastle is an amazing dance school. My daughter is not only learning Irish Dance, but she is also growing more confident and independent. As a parent juggling many extracurricular activities for my children I appreciate the staff's clear and consistent communication. The response is always quick and professional. Joey is truly a GID kid and couldn't be happier!
Gesa Hegeman, Mother of Dancer
"Bridget and the instructors were incredibly supportive and caring of all of their students, and they continue to be so to this day. I've seen students transform from shy, quiet kids to confident, poised, and ambitious young adults through their Glencastle experiences."