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We are the Newry Studio

Newry Studio students surrounding their teacher Emilie

About Us

Newry opened the door to the first class in St Mary's, just south of the Adelaide CBD in 1980 lead by Julie Idema, closely followed by sister Bernadette Helbig (both née Mayger) and had 5 students. Each student was either Irish or had some close connection to someone Irish. Joining the leadership team in the mid ‘80’s was the late Patsy Denneny. An established ADCRG (Adjudicator and Teacher) in NZ, Patsy mentored the sisters ensuring the legitimacy of the school. With Patsy’s expertise and vision, the Newry Studio became one of the most successful schools in South Australia and secured our very first Australian National Championship title which set the stage for future recognition.  

Fast forward to 2024, Newry welcomes 114 students each week, from many cultural backgrounds who test their skills and share their love of Irish Dance. 

For more than 40yrs, Irish Dance has been experienced, loved and admired by generations of families across Adelaide, SA and whether a dancer or not, they get to participate in the events throughout the year. St Patrick’s Day is the biggest day in the Irish Dancing calendar, followed by the end of year Newry Studio performance, competitions called “Feiseanna” (pronounced “fesh-ah-na") and performances around Adelaide venues.

Those with financial means for travel and have qualified in their sections, travel all over the world for competitions such as the All Ireland (Ireland), North American (USA/ Canada), European (Spain), Great Britain (UK) and of course the coveted World Irish Dance Championship held in a different country each year. 

Australian National Championships are held in a different state each year on rotation to give states a local option every 4-5 years, with the next Adelaide, SA hosted event proposed for 2026. 

For more information on Australian National Championships please visit >

About the Director

The Newry Studio is lead by Emilie Court (née Helbig) who was a very successful competitive and professional dancer prior to sitting her TCRG exams in 2017  through the Australian Irish Dancing Association or ‘AIDA’ , registered under world governing body CLRG.

For more information on the TCRG exam criteria please see >

Not only did Emilie come from two generations of Irish Dancing genes, with her mother (Bernadette) and auntie (Julie) being the founders of the school and grandmother (Carmel) being an ex-dancer, Emilie has a passion for teaching and an insatiable love of Irish Dancing. Officially taking the helm in 2023, with a Bachelor of Education - Primary Years and Certificate llll Personal Training, Miss Emilie had the desire to push through the boundaries of Irish Dance education and showcase the versatility of this traditional art form.

As a recipient of the 2022 Irish Dancing Magazine’s Irish Dancing Teacher Award, Miss Emilie shared this honour with 20 other deserving teachers around the world, but was the only Australian recognised for excellence in teaching.

For more information on the award please see >

Emilie’s dream is to share the benefits of dance to the broader community involving more culturally diverse and socio economic groups. Miss Emilie hopes to extend Irish Dancing's reach around regional South Australia and leads our team and students to be the best version of themselves through Irish Dancing.

Student Development

Future opportunities for dancers aren’t all just about competitions. At The Newry Studio, dancers are given the opportunity to mentor younger dancers, assist in teaching classes as a paid junior/ senior assistant teacher and choreograph performance pieces. Previous Newry Studio students have gone on to become professional Irish Dancers, performance artists (singing, acting and dancing) and qualified teachers offering a secure career path from this art form and sport. We have past and present students currently performing in local Adelaide Fringe Festival shows and international dance show Rhythm of the Dance currently touring through Europe and the UK.


Every student is encouraged to sit Grade Exams for Irish Dance with the 12th grade earning “The Diploma of the Irish Dancing Commission” and credits SACE points in South Australia. Newry dancers have 100% pass rate in each grade. 

Any dancer that may wish to become a registered teacher of Irish Dancing, must complete the 12th grade Diploma to qualify.

For more information on the exams please see >

End of Year Performance

The Newry Studio end of year performance is ‘kind of a big deal’! With more than 100 families and invited guests from the broader Irish Dance community, this event is massive. You’re probably thinking… ballet recital, sitting in a theatre for 2hrs while you can’t sneeze, go to the bathroom or eat anything and fighting off the urge to fall asleep ZZzzzzz. Not at the Newry Studio!

Our concert is banquet style seating with BYO food and beverages so you can share your space with your family + friends over a drink and a chat. The concert is themed for the year with senior students choreographing some pieces and features the music you listen to as opposed to the traditional Irish Dance music you’d hear at a feis. Costumes are not traditional either, they’re based on the theme for the year and are the dancer's to keep after the performance! It’s a wonderful family friendly event that everyone looks forward to and enjoys immensely.

Support and Community

Being introduced to the world of Irish Dancing for the first time can seem a lot at first, which is why the Newry Studio has a dedicated “Parents and Friends” Facebook page to support all families and include everyone no matter how experienced or novice they are. Members post with last minute changes, seemingly strange questions (there’s never a silly one), calls for assistance like a missing shoe or a hair 000, travel information, congratulatory posts and sometimes just some fun pics of family involvement during events and feiseanna. 

All students’ online privacy is taken seriously so this is a Newry Studio member only site and consent is always required prior to posting any images of a person, on any platform.

Tutorials on hair and makeup for performances and competitions are available with the option to utilise a paid service if desired.  


On Saturdays the Newry Shop is open in the main hall from 9am - 2pm with dance items such as shoes, bubble socks, buckles, laces, Newry branded uniforms and Newry student previously owned products for resale and purchase. The Newry Studio branded uniforms are also available for purchase through an online portal direct with the clothing producer twice a year.

Many lifelong friendships have been curated through Irish Dancing and the Newry ‘family’. The involvement and support of each family is cemented in the success of the school and the individual dancer. 

We create a fun, challenging and supportive environment where students are encouraged to establish themselves in their own right, earning them the respect of their peers and equally measured rewards for the effort put in.

Strength, power and passion, The Newry Studio of Irish Dancing.

About the Director
Student Development
End of Year Performance
Support and Community

Our Team

There is no way to run a dancing school without the dedication and passion for Irish Dance that each teacher at The Newry Studio has. The pure joy this art form has brought to each of the teachers throughout their lives is apparent in the way they pass on their love and learning to every student.

Most of the teachers have been involved with Irish Dancing for generations and were all highly successful competitors and performers in their own right. Come meet the team...

Emilie Helbig - TCRG and director
Emilie Court - TCRG, BAED

Director, Principal Teacher

Cherie Toubia - Adults Principal Teacher
Cherie Toubia

Adults Principal Teacher

Kim Anastasiou - Assistant Teacher
Kim Anastasiou

Assistant Teacher

Bernadette Helbig - TCRG and Co-Founder
Bernadette Helbig - TCRG

Co-Founder, Administrative Assistance

Natalie Collins - Jump'n Jig Principal Teacher and Website
Natalie Collins

Jump'n Jig Principal Teacher, Assistant Teacher and Digital Platform

McNelis Cunningham logo - sister school in Donegal Ireland
Paula Monaghan - TCRG
McNelis Cunningham School, Donegal, Ireland

Director, Principal Teacher, Choreographer, Collaborator

Eileen Schultz - Senior Assistant Teacher
Eileen Shultz

Senior Assistant Teacher

Erinna Unwin - Assistant Teacher and Social Media
Erinna Unwin

Assistant Teacher, Social Media, Administration and Newry Shop

Clare McDermott - Workshop Teacher
Clare McDermott - ADCRG
McNelis Cunningham School, Donegal, Ireland

Workshop Teacher

Julie Idema - TCRG and Co-Founder (deceased)
hanging Irish Dance soft shoes
Julie Idema - TCRG

Co-Founder, Director and Principal Teacher 

In Loving Memory

Our founding teacher, mother, sister, aunt, and dear friend, Miss Julie, passed away in September 2023. She was surrounded by her family and was so very loved by so many. 

Miss Julie was just 16 years old when she stepped to the front of her first Newry Studio class, and over five decades trained three generations of our dance community. Her legacy within the South Australian Irish dance community is proudly entrusted to us all now. We are so grateful that Miss Julie got to attend one final State Championship in August '23. She was so proud of her dancers and completely preoccupied with each of their performances, despite her ongoing health battles.

Miss Julie loved Irish dancing, the school she created with her sister Bernadette and absolutely revelled in the achievements of her students. She will continue to be our "lucky charm" each time we pop our dancing shoes on. 

She had her mum, dad, brother and friends all to greet her at the big céilí in heaven.

"May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields, And, until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand."

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