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About Us

Meet The Instructors

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Lauren hails from Portland, Oregon, where she was a 1988 Rose Festival Princess.  Trained in musical theater before applying her talents to Irish dancing, she has appeared on "Prime Time  Country" and "Live At The Grand Ole Opry," danced with The Chieftains, and  performed at renaissance festivals throughout the United States.
A two-time qualifier for the World Irish Dance Championships, Lauren spent much of 1999 and 2000 touring nationally with "Dancing on Common Ground."  In addition, she appeared with husband, Jim, on the cover of the December 2000 issue of "Irish Dancing Magazine."  In 2005, Lauren earned her TCRG, teacher's certification with the Irish Dance Commission (CLRG), and in 2017 earned her ADCRG, adjudicator's certification. Lauren is also a member of SAG/AFTRA and appeared in nationally-syndicated television programs including TNT's "Leverage" and NBC's "Grimm."

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Jim Mueller,

A native of Portland, Oregon, Jim learned
his first Irish steps as a post-graduate hobby, going on to become a successful international competitor, placing 2nd at the North American Championships and 4th at the All-Irelands.
Jim is a Western US Regional Champion and three-time qualifier for the World Irish Dance Championships.  He spent 1999 and 2000 touring nationally with "Dancing on Common  Ground," and with wife, Lauren, appeared on the cover of the December 2000 issue of Irish Dancing Magazine.  In 2003, Jim earned his TCRG, teacher's certification with the Irish Dance Commission (CLRG). In 2010, he earned his ADCRG, adjudicator's certification, and now travels throughout North America much of the year judging Irish dance competitions. In 2012, Jim was elected Vice President of the North American Feis Commission, the first teacher to be elected to the executive board. Jim currently serves as in an office on the Western Regional Board and has authored a Ceili book entitled "Rince Fóirne Caillte: Thirty Lost Figure Dances".


Kate Padilla,

Kate started Irish Dancing as an adult, after her first child was born, as a "break" from mothering full time as well as something to help her get back into shape.  She continued dancing through pregnancies, toddlers, moves, and homeschooling!  Kate danced as a Champ level dancer, competing both locally as well as at the Western Region Oireachtas, as both a soloist and Ceili Team dancer.  She has five children, all of whom have danced at one point, as well as a Master's in School Social Work.  In 2022, she earned her TMRF certification and is now registered with the CLRG as a certified teacher.  Both her dance and life experience help her to instruct both young dancers and adult dancers, alike.


Madeline Alford,
 Senior Student Class Assistant 

Madeline grew up in Portland, Oregon and she has spent the past two decades of her life Irish dancing. Throughout the years, she has performed and competed across the United States and Canada as an open champion level dancer. She also has a passion for team dancing, having qualified for the World Championships as part of an 8-hand ceili. Outside of Brightburn, Madeline teaches 8th and 9th grade Spanish here in Albuquerque. Currently, she is also pursuing her master’s degree in foreign language teaching and Spanish. Brightburn is the best of both worlds for Madeline, combining two of the things that she loves the most: Irish dance and teaching!

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