Irish Dancing Magazine, a global publication covering the world of Irish dancing and culture, has named Iowa certified Irish dance teacher Trėa Champagne as one of 20 teachers in the world receiving the 2022 Excellence in Teaching Award.

The international award recognizes excellence in teaching by honoring extraordinary dance teachers, according to a Thursday release from the magazine.

Trea Champagne, with two of her students, runs Champagne Academy of Irish Dance in North Liberty, Iowa.

“Trėa Champagne is known to be an engaging, caring, and inspirational dance teacher,” Denise Keane, publisher of Irish Dancing Magazine, said in the release. She founded the Champagne Academy of Irish Dance in 2007, based in North Liberty Iowa, with classes also taking place in Bishop Hill, Ill., and online.

Champagne Academy is a small school, but dancers travel from well beyond the area to access Iowa’s only certified Irish Dance teacher for instruction, the Thursday release said. Dancers travel from as far west as Des Moines and farther east than the Quad Cities to attend Trėa Champage’s classes.

Champagne started her Irish dance school in 2007, and offers classes in North Liberty and Bishop Hill.

The Champagne Academy of Irish Dance is now enrolling those as young as age 3 for recurring classes beginning the week of Jan. 23, 2023.

Awards from 20 schools

After an extensive review of hundreds of nominations, Irish Dancing Magazine narrowed the field to an impressive list which includes 20 individuals representing 20 dance schools internationally. The award-winning teachers are from Ireland, the UK, Australia, Canada, Netherlands, and the U.S.

Irish Dancing is an activity with a robust performance and competitive scene, according to the magazine. The dance form shot to popularity more than 25 years ago with the debut of Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. Classes are available for all ages including toddlers through adults. 

Champagne leads two of her students in Irish dance.

“There are noticeable benefits of dance, which is a fun source of exercise, but beyond that we have seen many involved in Irish Dancing grow to be confident, smart, young adults who carry the lessons learned and friendships made through dancing with them throughout their lives,” Keane said.

According to the non-profit organization Advancing Dance Education in the Arts, dance helps children mature physically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively. 

In recent years, Irish Dance has exploded on social platforms such as TikTok and Instagram with hundreds of millions of views of Irish Dancing videos, the release said.

“All this attention has created huge demand for classes,” said Keane, who created the Global Excellence in Teaching Award to recognize the extraordinary efforts of a select group of international teachers.

Tara McGovern of Coralville has benefited from Champagne Academy both personally and professionally as the parent of two children who have enjoyed Irish dance classes and as a fiddler with eastern Iowa-based Irish traditional band Coppers & Brass who frequently welcomes CAID dancers to perform with them.

“Tréa is a gifted and passionate teacher and collaborator,” she said Thursday. “Our community benefits hugely from her dedication to upholding and uplifting the Irish arts.”

“Learn the joy of dance with Excellence in Teaching Award recipient Trėa Champagne, as we say at Irish Dancing Magazine, ‘If you try it, you’ll probably love it,’” said Keane.

For more information on Champagne Academy, visit its website HERE.