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

Elina Kortetmaa

Elina attended her first Irish dance class in 2004 and fell immediately in love with Irish music and the captivating rhythm of the dance. Over the years she’s been taught by Soili Stenroos, Francis Ward (TCRG), Terhi Spackstein, Lotta Virkkunen and Heidi Aaltonen.  While studying in Belfast in 2008 she was taught by Anne Reid (ADCRG). Back in Finland her teachers have been Therese Rooney (TCRG) and Tereza Bernardová (TCRG). Besides Irish dance, she has also done tap dance and ballet.

Elina has performed with dance groups JigIt, Irish Dance Company Helsinki (IDCH) and Celtic Spirit Irish Dancers. She also performed with Irish dance show Áineas in 2010. She has successfully competed since 2006 in the Nordic Countries, England, Ireland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Russia. She placed 3rd in both the British and Irish Open Premierships in 2009 and 2010, 2nd in intermediate traditional set dance in 2011, and she also has won several 1st places over the years in Nordic Feisanna and 5th place in Nordic Championships in 2012. She participated the World Irish Dancing Championships in London with a ceili team in 2014. For her, that was a dream come true and the most memorable experience with Irish dance. She’s currently taking a break from competing due to the studies and family reasons.

Before inSpiral Dance Company she taught Irish dance in dance schools Etnofitness and Helsingin Tanssiopisto (Helsinki Dance Institute). As a teacher, she is cheerful and encouraging but also emphasizes good technique.

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 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 Berdanová (TCRG) in InSpiral Dance Company. In addition, Laura has gained a lot of experience from abroad by dancing in different schools. In 2016 Laura danced under London 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 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 World Irish Dancing Championships (2017). Besides competing Laura has been an active member of Dragún Irish Dancers association based in Turku. That has given her experience in teaching as well as in performing.

After returning to Finland Laura wants to pass on all the experience she has gained during her time abroad 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 give all they have got. There is no shortcut to success but hard work, positive attitude and strong team spirit will bring you far.

Tiina Murtola

Tiina found her way to her first Irish dance class in her late teens in 2003, but she really got into dance when she was at university in England. After returning to Finland, Tiina has been taught by Finnish and foreign teachers (e.g., Taina Schorin-Keltto, Heidi Aaltonen, Therese Rooney TCRG, Tereza Bernardová TCRG) and she has attended numerous workshops around Europe (e.g., ceili workshops by Mary McElroy, Masterclasses with Colin Dunne, and the prestigious Blas Summer School at the University of Limerick). Tiina is also an active performer and choreographer: for several years with JigIt and Celtic Spirit Irish Dancers, and nowadays focusing on inSpiral Dance Company Finland performances.

Irish dance competitions under CLRG have been part of Tiina’s life since 2013. During her competitive career, she has progressed to Open Championship level and gained a lot of experience in both solo and ceili dancing. Tiina has also been a member of several senior ladies ceili teams, winning e.g. 3rd place in Mainland Europe Championships in 2014 and 2017, and representing Finland at the World Championships in 2014 and 2016. In addition to competing, Tiina has also been actively working her way through the grade examination scheme. In 2018 her hard work was rewarded, as she became the first dancer in Finland to complete all 12 grades and be granted the Diploma of  the Irish Dancing Commission.  The next goals is to start working towards her TCRG exam (teacher’s certification).

Teaching has always been near and dear to Tiina’s heart. Her first experiences teaching Irish dance were at the student society in England, where she taught beginners’ and ceili classes, and before coming to work at inSpiral, Tiina taught at Tanssikeskus Footlight. To add to her own experiences dancing and teaching, Tiina has also sought tools for teaching from the RCCEA Teacher Training Seminars in 2017 and 2019, and she completed an open university course in dance pedagogy in 2017-18. As a teacher, Tiina is strict especially about technique but she also encourages each dancer to discover dance within their own bodies. The most rewarding thing in dance for Tiina are the Heureka-moments (both her own and her dancers’): when after long hours of practice things click into place and you finally realise how and why things are done a certain way.

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, Heidi Aaltonen, Karoliina Hirvonen, Lotta Virkkunen, 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 ceili 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 World Championships in London in 2014 and in Glasgow in 2016 with ceili teams, and these have been some of the most important moments of Vilma’s life. Vilma has also competed with ceili teams at the Mainland European Championships in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017. In addition to competing, she is also progressing through her grade exams and performs with Celtic Spirit Irish Dancers.

When not dancing, Vilma works as a kindergarten teacher. She believes that it is important to teach children in a way that facilitates experiencing dance as a special kind of play, provides a lot of positive experiences of success, and encourages participation and trying things together. Vilma started as the teacher of the children’s classes in Helsinki in the autumn of 2017.