Helsinki - Teachers

All our teachers in Helsinki are experienced Irish dancers and teachers.
They can be reached by email:

Laura Merisaari

When Laura tried out Irish dancing for the first time in 2012, she immediately knew there was no return. Since her childhood she has been doing different dance styles from ballet to jazz dance. However, little by little Irish dancing superseded everything else, including any additional free time. Laura was attracted by the discipline of the dance and the possibility to outdo herself in every single practice. In the end the elegance of the dance fascinated her; even though the hands don’t move, she felt she was able to diversely express herself through the dance.

Earlier Laura’s teacher in Finland has been Therese Rooney (TCRG) and now she is practicing with Tereza Bernardová (TCRG) in inSpiral Dance Company. In addition, Laura has gained a lot of experience from abroad by dancing in different dance schools. In 2016 Laura danced under London based Irish dance school Maguire O’Shea with Deirdre and Michael Maguire (TCRG) as her teachers. In 2017 Laura danced under Elaine Kavanagh (ADCRG) in Dublin. During her time abroad, she has had the change to practice with some of the best dancers in the world, which has been an eye-opening experience.

Laura has been competing regularly from the very beginning of her Irish dancing career, reaching Open level in only a few years. The biggest achievements in her career have been 1st place in Nordic Feis (2015), 1st place in Ramstein Feis (2016), 2nd place in RCCEA Mainland Europe Championships (2016), 12th place in Irish Nationals (2017) and 1st place in Helsinki Feis (2017). Laura was also the first Finnish solo dancer to compete in the over 21-year-olds category in the CLRG World Irish Dancing Championships (2017). Laura has performance experience from several shows and private events. Most recently, solos at the Irish Festival Tampere in 2022 and 2023.

Laura wants to pass on all the experience she has gained so that everyone would be able to outdo themselves and achieve their dreams. Laura wants to foster the joy of dancing in every class and encourage her students to pursue their dreams. There is no shortcut to success but hard work, positive attitude and strong team spirit will bring you far.

Heidi Aaltonen

Heidi started dancing ballet at the age of nine and continued dancing over ten years. In 2000 she fell in love with Irish dance and never looked back. Over the years she has been taught by several teachers, including: Anne Reid (Belfast, NI), Soili Stenroos, Francis Ward (TCRG), Lotta Virkkunen, Therese Rooney (TCRG) and now Tereza Berdanova (TCRG).

Heidi has gained experience by competing at All Ireland Championships (solos), Worlds (team) and other competitions all over Europe, being the Nordic Champion in 2012. Currently she performs with the Celtic Spirit Irish Dancers and teaches workshops under inSpiral.

She is a demanding, but enthusiastic teacher, wishing to give her students both the correct technique and a love for dance.

Laura Ahonen

Laura started practicing Irish dance in 2015 and from the very beginning it was clear that she has found her own thing. Thereafter Laura has been dancing regularly in both Jyväskylä and Helsinki for several years. Laura’s teachers have been Piia-Maria Aho, Karoliina Hirvonen, Laura Merisaari and Tereza Bernardová (TCRG).

During the dance years, Laura has also gained performance and competition experience. She has found these a good way to notice her skills and follow the development. On the other hand, these have also brought more enthusiasm for practicing and increased the desire to develop every year.

Interest in Irish dance has not diminished or disappeared over time. Laura hopes that during the lessons she can pass the enthusiasm for Irish dance to others as well. The dance lessons should also be fun, so hopefully there will be enjoyable learning experiences and successful moments.

Vilma Kivinen

Vilma’s fascination for Irish dance began in 2005 when she became interested in the culture of Ireland. However, she only started Irish dancing a few years later. Over the years, dancing has turned from a hobby to a way of life, and it has become more purposeful and ambitious. From the beginning, Vilma has been fascinated by Irish dance due to its rhythmicality, technical precision, and endless challenges, but also due to the joy and feeling of accomplishment it gives. Her teachers over the years have been Tiina Murtola, Nelli Sinisalo, Karoliina Hirvonen, Laura Merisaari, Therese Rooney (TCRG) and Tereza Bernardová (TCRG). Vilma has also attended several workshops given by both foreign and Finnish dance teachers.

Vilma has been competing for several years both in solo and céilí competitions, and she feels that competitions have pushed her to surpass herself, in addition to the good results, important memories, and new friends she has gained. Vilma has taken part in CLRG World Championships in London in 2014 and in Glasgow in 2016 with céilí teams, and these have been some of the most important moments of Vilma’s life. Vilma has also competed with céilí teams at the RCCEA Mainland European Championships in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017. In addition to competing, she is also progressing through her grade exams.

Vilma has studied basic studies in dance pedagogy at the University of the Arts Helsinki and has also studied positive pedagogy and coaching. Vilma has been teaching in Helsinki since autumn 2017. In teaching, she wants to consider everyone’s strengths as a dancer, the importance of learning and succeeding together, and good technique and muscle fitness.