Over the past 17 years I have had the privilege of being involved with Nora as an Irish dance dad, a sound guy for the Eire Born Irish dance troupe, and a member of the Eire Born Irish Dance Society.
“Our daughter owes her success, in part, to her involvement in the Nora Pickett Irish Dance Academy.”
Through that wonderful and fulfilling experience I have witnessed the growth and development of young children into accomplished adults. Our daughter, who now practices as a graphic designer, owes her success , in part, to her involvement in the Nora Pickett Irish Dance Academy and Nora ‘s vision to bring the best out in an individual through passion and hard work. Nora’s commitment and dedication towards making a difference in the lives of young individuals is what makes our community sustainable and stronger. In my dictionary, Nora Pickett means community builder.P. McAndless, Founder of PMAE Award for NPIDA/EBIDS, Head of Production Team for Eire Born Irish Dance Performance Co.
All my life I had tried many activities; different sports, arts and forms of music especially. At the start I would love them, but it seemed like I would always eventually get bored. However, this all changed when I started Irish dance. From the moment I stepped into my first dance class, I knew that I was at home. I was so drawn to the music, rhythm and fancy footwork which I hoped I would one day perfect.
“The bond between my teachers, fellow students, friends, and me is one that can never be broken.”
It was and still is the one thing which I could never get bored of, no matter how many hours I spent with the furniture pushed to the side, practicing and drilling my steps. Not only has Irish dance become one of my strongest passions, but it has taught me countless life lessons. I have learned hard work and dedication from many days spent training, leadership and commitment from teaching and show-captaining opportunities, I have grown as a person and conquered many fears and I have had the chance to empower and be empowered by others within the Irish dance community. From competing on the big world’s stage to performing and helping out at the Steveston docks every Sunday in August, the experiences I have attained are incredible. They have taught me so much about overcoming, persisting, achieving and pursuing my dreams.The bond between my teachers, fellow students, friends, and me is one that can never be broken.. With everything life has thrown at me; sickness, injury and the many other challenges the world has to offer; Irish dancing and the family this sport has given me have always been there for me to count on. Becoming involved with the NPIDA has been one of the most valuable choices I’ve made, and I will forever be thankful for everything Irish dance has to offer.J. Hebert - World Championship Recaller and Level 7 Competitive Dancer, age 16, Performer, Team Leader, Assistant Instructor, PMAE Ambassador and Award Recipient, NPIDA/EBIDS Scholarship Recipient
I danced with Nora for sixteen years and it absolutely transformed my life. I will always remember competing at the World Championships and the North American Nationals, dancing for thousands of people with NPIDA’s performance troupe ‘Eire Born’ in Canada, the US, and Switzerland, and leading Eire Born as a team captain, but the intangible effects run far deeper. Irish dance taught me discipline, good sportsmanship, and determination, while Nora provided an incredible environment for me to learn those lessons in a positive and supported way. Irish dance gave me a strong work ethic that carried over into my academics (I’m now a PhD student at Oxford) and a confidence that permanently affected my rather introverted and self-critical personality.
“Irish dance taught me discipline, good sportsmanship, determination, and a strong work ethic that carried over into my academics.”
Nora’s earliest generation of dancers are now in their mid-late 20s and many of us are still close friends. It was incredible to grow up as part of a team of committed, hardworking young athletes, and as I got older I loved having the opportunity to also teach the younger dancers and watch them develop their passion and technique! Irish dance is the perfect mix of factors for a child’s extracurricular activity: group classes and performances as a team, yet competing as individuals, and the beauty and grace of an art form with the rigorous athletic abilities of a sport. My life would have been completely different without it, and I cannot thank Nora enough for all the opportunities she has given me through Irish dance.H. Smyth - Open Championship Dancer, Eire Born Team Leader, Performer, Assistant Instructor, IDTANA Scholarship Recipient, PMAE Award Recipient, NPIDA/EBIDS Scholarship Recipient
It feels like just yesterday I was walking into Nora’s Irish dance academy, in reality that was over 12 years ago. I joined the Nora Pickett Dance Academy at the age of 8. I was looking to do a few classes over my summer break, little did I know I would still be attending classes over the age of 20. Nora’s dance studio is a community based, family oriented environment that offers extraordinary opportunities to its students. Nora not only cares for each dancer individually, but helps provide a professional experience that extends far beyond what the Irish dance world allows. Performing multiple shows for the community, even getting the opportunity to dance for the Queen of England while on her visit to Canada.
“Nora’s dance studio is a community based, family oriented environment that offers extraordinary opportunities to its students.”
Traveling all over the world to places like Switzerland, Nashville, Ireland and New York. Nora’s studio was a place to meet life long friends, have fun, gain self confidence, develop a positive attitude and learn the art of Irish dance. Nora cares about each dancer and their parents and also at every opportunity involves the community and others around her. I can’t imagine not being part of such a great environment while growing up. I was presented with so many great opportunities that helped shape my life and raise my self-esteem.K. Neale (Dawson) - N.American and Western Canadian Qualifier and Recaller, Level 7 Competitive (Open) Dancer, Performer, Team Leader, Previous Assistant Instructor, NPIDA/EBIDS Scholarship recipient
From the moment I stepped into my very first Irish dance class 17 years ago, I had no idea that it would become such a big part of my life and that it would help shape me into the person I am today. It was love at first sight and I quickly learned that it was also a place to build lifelong friendships and develop important life skills. Throughout my years of dance it presented so many opportunities that I will forever be grateful. From traveling to Switzerland and New York to perform in high profile shows, to competing on stage at the World Championships in Ireland,
“Nora strives to show her students what it takes to be the absolute best they can be.”
I learned how to work hard, be a team leader, always keep a positive attitude, and most of all, have fun! That is one thing Nora instilled in us from day one and it has honestly carried on in everything that I do. She brings so much support and encouragement in her teaching and strives to show her students what it takes to be the absolute best they can be. Because of Irish dance, I am who I am today: passionate, creative, a leader, a hard worker, and a communicator. Being a part of the NPIDA family has made a huge impact on my life and I can’t thank Nora enough for all of the amazing opportunities she has given me.Kali - World Championship and Level 7 Competitive Dancer, Performer, Team Leader, Assistant Instructor, PMAE Graphics & Web Designer, NPIDA/EBIDS Scholarship Recipient
Thank you so much for everything you do Nora! Irish dance has been such an important part of my life for so many years and I am really going to miss this wonderful community! Thank you for being such a fantastic, supportive teacher and mentor! I have absolutely loved the opportunity to teach and help younger dancers progress, and you made this possible. I will also miss all the Eire Born shows and fun times putting routines together on the fly. It has been a truly amazing community to be a part of, and I will miss being at the studio every week! Thank you so much!C. Jacobsen – Open Championship Competitive Dancer, Performer, Team Leader, Senior Assistant Instructor, PMAE Award Recipient, NPIDA/EBIDS Scholarship Recipient
When I was in my early 20’s Irish Music inspired me. I was enamoured with the beat, the passion, and the fun. I took a few drop-in classes at Harbour Dance in Vancouver with Mairead O’Brien and fell in love at first my 1,2,3! Life took over and I stopped dancing for a couple of years but when I decided it was time to return to dance I searched the Internet for classes near where I lived on Bowen Island. I saw the Red Dresses at NPIDA and I was sold! I returned at 25 years of age and was determined to become the best Irish Dancer I could be! Because I felt the need to compete I joined a beginner class in North Van and my helpers were seven and eight-year-olds who knew their beginner reel better that me! Nora really encouraged me to grow as a dancer.
“Even though I have come and gone, I have always felt part of the NPIDA family!!!”
My body felt stronger than ever and I felt so empowered every time I stepped onto the dance floor. As a performer by trade my next natural step was to join The Eire Born Irish Dance Performance Co! After a couple of years performing and competing, I took some time off to have my kids… And now after a six-year break, I am back. And I brought with me my 6-year old daughter Lily. She is so inspired by Irish Dance just as I was. Now, Wednesdays are our Mom and daughter dance days and we both look forward to it every week. We are so thankful to share this love of dance together and even though I have come and gone, I have always felt part of the NPIDA family!!!Sarah H.
Nora, you are the reason our girls love Irish dancing, and you are the reason they have had such success. More importantly, you showed them the bigger picture: that dance is fun, that performing makes other people happy and that growing as a person is important. The lessons learned on the dance floor carry over to all aspects of their lives. Thank you!J. Laing
Thank you so much for the endless support you have given Cara throughout the years. Through you and the school, Cara has had wonderful opportunities to teach and become a leader. What an amazing community you have created and life long friendships you have fostered! You should be very proud of all of it. Many thanks and much love!S. Jacobsen
Thank you again for providing the dance community and the many experiences that you have created for Raven throughout all the years. It is a big part of our family and we will be forever grateful.M. Grenier
Thank you so much for teaching me this year. I hope you have a wonderful Summer. I can’t wait to see you again.A. Clark – Level 4 Novice Competitive Dancer, age 9
The Eire Born Irish Dance Society have been coming to Fellburn Care Centre numerous times over the last 10 years and has maintained a positive connection throughout. The residents really enjoy their performances and they offer enjoyment, meaning, culture and positive experiences. Nora Pickett has also had a connection to Fellburn Care Centre going back 30 years performing for our residents. The Eire Born Irish Dance Performance Company is a non-profit reregistered society raising funds towards a valuable cause for our residents in our senior’s centres.Irene Arnold - Recreation Therapy Supervisor, Fellburn Care Centre
The Eire Born Irish Dancers have been a much loved and anticipated event each year. Not only do residents enjoy the music, dancing, and costumes…they also take great pleasure in reminiscing and interacting with the intergenerational group of which the dancers are a part. Eire Born Irish Dancers allow for celebration and community involvement, and they create some memorable experiences!Kelly Fosto - Recreation Therapist, Volunteer Services, Kiwanis Care Centre