Nelli Sinisalo started Irish dancing in 2004 at Ahjolan Kansalaisopisto under the instruction of Lotta Virkkunen. Her first contact with Irish music and dance was, however, already in 1992, when she was part of a folk-dance event Pispalan Sottiisi. Two Irish families were performing at the event, and Nelli got to try Irish dance with them. Nelli started dancing when she was 3 years old, and continued with Finnish folk dance for 10 years until her passion for amateur theatre starting consuming too much time to continue both.
In the summer of 2007, Nelli moved to Dublin, Ireland, attended classes with Mary Beth Taylor (TCRG), and started her competitive career at City of Dublin Championships in March 2008. She also attended classes given by Ronan McCormack (TCRG, Riverdance) for one autumn gaining more experience and new points of view into Irish dance. During 2011-2014, Nelli danced and taught under Therese Rooney in Scoil Rince Rooney Finland. She has competed successfully for the last couple of years in, e.g., Nordic Feiseanna in Stockholm and Tampere and the Mainland Europe Championships in both solo and group dances.
Nelli is an encouraging teacher, and she challenges her students to do more difficult things in order for them to progress as dancers and to prepare them to learn more each year. She emphasises overall conditioning of the body, and practicing technique is also a big part of her classes.
Nelli is also taking show- and musical dance classes.
Lotta is a professional musician with MA Music Performance (Sibelius Academy, Cork School Of Music) and BA in Music pedagogy (TAMK). Se is also one of the pioneers in Irish dancing in Finland. She has travelled the world as a violinist and dancer with Gaelforce, Women of Ireland and Dance Masters and other productions. She has played with several top musicians, producers and dancers from Riverdance and Lord of the Dance and also performed to sir Rod Steward and the president of Ireland. She has also played in several TV- and radio shows, including Voice of Ireland in 2016.
Lotta has taught irish dance for several years in i.e. Footlight, EtnoFitness and Irish Dance School Helsinki. She has also produced Irish dance & music shows such as Fusions and Áineas. She’s been living in Ireland for the past seven years performing in various functions. Lotta has danced with the Irish World Academy and Scoil Úi Ruairc. She has also become a personal trainer & fitness instructor.
As a teacher Lotta experienced and proficient. She expects a lot from her students but with her encouraging and down to earth manner is able to push students forward and work towards their best performance and results. Lotta is excited to get back to Finland and bring new ideas, dance technique and knowledge about suitable practice and nutrition for Irish dancers.