Our History 

In the early 1960’s, several teachers of Irish Dance across North America began to explore ways to organize Irish dance teachers, classes, and feiseanna with the ultimate goal of establishing a direct connection to An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG) in Dublin.  A number of meetings and discussions involved Peter Smith, Anna O’Sullivan, Fedelmia Mullan Davis, Mike Bergin, Mae Butler, Jimmy Irwin, and Una Ellis. 

The Irish Dancing Teachers Association of North America (IDTANA) was initially founded in March, 1964, when Mae Butler, Fedelmia Davis, Kevin McKenna, Peter Smith, Cyril McNiff and Anna O’Sullivan met at the Irish Institute in New York City during a massive snow storm and brought the fledgling organization to life. The Irish dancing legends who had planned for this special event began to realize their goal of assuring teacher and adjudicator competency, as well as standardizing the ever growing number of feiseanna throughout North America.

The IDTANA and CLRG have confirmed that the founding members of the IDTANA are Fedelmia Mullan Davis, Anna O'Sullivan, Una Ellis, and the late Peter Smith.  They also affirmed that Maureen McTeggart Hall was a major force in the spread of Irish Dance across North America and confirmed her as a founding member as well.  Peter Smith and Maureen McTeggart Hall have passed away.  Fedelmia Mullan Davis, Anna O'Sullivan, and Una Ellis are still active members, hold lifetime positions on the IDTANA Executive Board, and are designated as Honorary Members of CLRG. 

Since those small humble beginnings, and through the efforts of many dedicated Irish dance teachers throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the IDTANA has grown to nearly 900 members.  There are over 135 members in Canada, 725 members in the United States, and 4 members in Mexico. The IDTANA is affiliated with seven regions within North America.

Celebrating the Life of Fedelmia Mullan Davis, SDCRG

A Letter to the IDTANA Community

Along with her family members, we mourn the loss of Fedelmia Mullan Davis, SDCRG. We also take this opportunity to celebrate a life well lived and we must add, well danced. Our organization owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Fedelmia as a Founding Member of IDTANA. Based on the outpouring of love and the beautiful photos on social media, it is clear the tremendous impact Fedelmia had on so many. Her legacy will certainly live and dance on in future generations of Irish dancers in North America.

Fedelmia's family members have asked that we share the lovely tribute below and have requested that anyone who would like to celebrate Fedelmia's life with them via live-streaming on Friday - March 12 at 12 Noon EST, click here to join Celebrating the Life of Fedelmia Mullan Davis.

In Fedelmia's words, wishing you Happy Days!

Russell, Lisa, Michael, Margaret & Allison

Fedelmia Mullan Davis, SDCRG

Fedelmia Mullan Davis, 85, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, March 7, 2021 after years of declining health, due to dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Fedelmia was born in Derry City, Northern Ireland on November 28, 1935, she was the youngest of four children. She is preceded in death by her parents Annie and Willie Mullan, sister Nan O’Doherty, brothers Seamus and Raymond Mullan, and her beloved husband Bill Davis. She is survived by her two daughters, Anne Cole and her husband Jim; and Fedelmia Gallagher and her husband Ken. Her four grandchildren Heather, Sean and wife Jessica, Kenny and wife Tab, and Theresa and husband Eddie, as well as her four great-grandchildren, Emma, Brian, Annabelle, and Madison. She also has many nieces and nephews in Ireland and England. We would be remiss if we did not also acknowledge all of the individuals who enriched her life, her chosen family, lifelong colleagues, dancers, students, supporters, neighbors, and close friends, who added to her happiness and joy.

Fedelmia’s life work was focused on her passion for Irish Dance. As a child, she started dancing at the age of five with Brendan DeGlin. She quickly thrived winning numerous championships including three All Ireland Championships and Three Ulster Championships. After retiring from competing Fedelmia went on to receive her teaching (T.C.R.G.) and adjudicating (A.D.C.R.G) certificates through the Irish Dancing Commission. Shortly after moving to the United States, Fedelmia and five other certified teachers met in New York and founded the Irish Dancing Teachers Association of North America. She opened her own dance school in New Jersey, The Davis Academy, which she operated for over 55 years. She trained countless dancers, successfully cultivating numerous champion dancers, many of whom are now certified teachers and adjudicators as well.

Her contributions to the Irish Dance community are immeasurable. She has received many distinguished honors in her lifetime. Some of her proudest include leading the Mid-Atlantic Region as Regional Director for more than 25 years, receiving the Gradam Rince Award of Distinction from An Coimisiun, being named to the North American Hall of Fame as well as being celebrated at the Felie Dea Mheasa in Ireland. She considered the community of Irish Dance, an extension of her family. Irish Dance brought her so much joy, so many laughs, more happiness, and memories that can be written into a single acknowledgment. She loved you. She loved sharing her passion and talent.

Due to the global pandemic, we will not be receiving guests or holding a public service. A celebration of life will be planned when we can responsibly meet. In lieu of flowers, for those who wish to honor her life, we ask that donations are made to the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org).

Even in the darkest times, we must honor Fedelmia’s favorite phrase- Happy Days!

With love,

Fedelmia’s loving family