"You know the wee faces, when you can see them and you know just to leave them alone, and they are standing, they're practising and they're marking through it and they do it and it's just like ..."

Catherine Hughes doesn't get finishing her line before she and the other half of Newry Dance and Cheer Company, Danielle Hughes-Quinn break into screams of glee and laughter. Catherine continues "They're so proud of themselves. It's that pride. I think it's that pride and their confidence - when you see someone come to this that can't even look at you"

Both agree that dance is a great confidence booster for both children and adults.

Catherine Hughes and Danielle Hughes-Quinn, Newry Dance and Cheer Company in their new premises at Carnbane. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
Catherine Hughes and Danielle Hughes-Quinn, Newry Dance and Cheer Company in their new premises at Carnbane. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

Get ready to Social Dis-Dance at NDCC Dance

The pair run Newry Dance and Cheer Company and have moved into new premises at Carnbane in Newry. Catherine teaches at St Paul's High School, Bessbrook. She is a PE and Dance Teacher as well as being head of Year 14. Danielle has taken dance schools in St Mary's High School and St Pauls as well as working for Galaxy Coaching. As Danielle says "It couldn't be a better partnership, she's one of my best friends"

Catherine says Newry Dance Company is 16 years in the making. "We are well established in the Newry area. Danielle was a student of mine both in St Paul's where I teach, and did GCSE Dance with me. She also came to my private dance classes Newry Dance at Newry Sports Centre so she's kind of 'home produce'

"We have another teacher Turlough O'Neill and he also was a past pupil of St Paul's where I taught him his GCSE and A Level Dance, and then he did his degree in Dance and he has ended up teaching here too." Catherine's sister Patrice Murphy is also involved, dealing with the parents.

Catherine adds "We are very community based. We are not all about elitism. We are not about going to the big competitions all the time and getting firsts. We are more about taking part, getting involved and making sure we have got a well rounded kid. You are getting confidence, you are getting social interaction"

Newry Dance and Cheer Company started off in Newry Sports Centre and when council moved to their new facility, they moved with them, but this new opportunity presented them with the option of moving to their own place. They were approached by Jamie Robson, Robsons Family Karate, along with Me Time Studio, who do Yoga and Pilates and the three groups have block timetabled the premises between them.

Danielle and Catherine have done a lot of competition work between them. This year the Ulster Fitness and Dance Championships went online and Newry Dance and Cheer Company took many of the awards.


As to why she does it Catherine has no doubt "It has been my life. It's all I've known from I was four. I think I danced before I could walk. It's all I know, It's all I've ever done, and dancing led me into being a PE teacher. I'm only there because of my love of dance."

Inspiration came from several areas Catherine explains "It came from within. I would say it came from an old dance coach of mine, Evelyn Watt who is now deceased. She died at the very young age of 42 and she was my main inspiration going forward. Also there is a very prominent figure in all of this dancing background - Ann Black from Bessbrook. She was a lady that was with me from the very start, when Danielle was a little 'poppet' Ann Black would have been my confidant and mentor and was always there for me. She is now retired from St Paul's High School."

Danielle adds "I'm the same. I've been dancing from I could walk. I always loved dancing and music. I just love seeing the happiness children get out of dancing. This doesn't seem like a job to me. I say I'm going to dance, I don't say I'm going to work. It doesn't seem like a job, it's been my life from I could walk"

Danielle Hughes-Quinn with a Newry Dance and Cheer Company facemask. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
Danielle Hughes-Quinn models a Newry Dance and Cheer Company facemask. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/


NDCC have something quite unique here and they know there are so many opportunities in dance. They have something to offer everybody whether you want to take part for the fun of it, to attain qualifications or to take part in competitions.

The dance company have now added grades to their offerings. Catherine says "We have got grading and vocational examinations for all our students. For anybody from the age of three, which is our Pre-School Early Years course they can do a Speech and Drama grade.

"All these grades will eventually equal up to UCAS points for university and this can go on their forms. So we can work our pupils through Speech and Drama, Public Speaking, Jazz, Musical Theatre which is singing and movement and maybe move to our Dance styles, contemporary, ballet, jazz, commercial, tap.

Catherine adds "Then there's our fun classes, for kids who do not want to do grades, who do not want to do competitions. TikTok - We have got another pupil of mine from school, Moya Quinn who's a TikTok sensation, thousands of followers and she's just turned 17 and she will be taking our TikTok classes. We are the only dance school south of Belfast that offer Cheer Leading. You've got your cheers, you've got your vocals, your pom poms, your dance elements, your tricks and your lifts."

Danielle Hughes-Quinn adds "We also offer a mummy and baby class. We take babies from 14/15 months accompanied by a parent/adult and it's all about fun. It's on a Friday morning at 10. We are now offering classes for babies from 14 months right up to adult classes. We offer adult fitness mixed with Zumba, Yoga, stretches and Pilates."

Catherine Hughes and Danielle Hughes-Quinn in their new dance studio at Carnbane. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
Catherine and Danielle in their new dance studio at Carnbane. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

Speaking about their adult classes Catherine says "We fuse everything together. Core work and strength, conditioning and toning are combined with a fun element, some cheesy dance routines as well thrown in, and your Zumba and we end with Yoga Stretches and a wee bit of Pilates and a cool down.

"We are for the family. We have children coming to us that have got learning and behavioural difficulties and we cater for all of those needs. We also link in with vulnerable groups as well in the Newry and Mourne area. We would prefer them in here than not here."

The fun classes are very important but they also want those children who want to be pushed. Catherine explains "We have gifted and talented dancers here and we have to make sure we cater for those children as well as cater for the children who have learning disabilities or those with learning needs. We are trying to be all encompassing."

Catherine and Danielle decided to look for a professional dancer to give the children another role model, somebody who they might look up to, that they might aspire to be like as well, which saw them take on a new teacher to teach technique in tap, modern, drama and contemporary to their competition dancers.

Catherine explains the importance to themselves of constantly improving and to this end the reason they have taken on a new teacher, Debbie Mercer who has first class honours in Musical Theatre "She is going to take our gifted and talented dancers who want to be in the competitive teams and she is going to give them a little more edge. Basically to take us to more competitions and raise our standards a bit. We are all learning. When you stop learning there is something wrong. Danielle and I are always looking ways to learn, informing ourselves." Catherine says.

As Danielle adds "We want to be the best we can be"

Zoom Classes

Danielle Hughes-Quinn and Catherine Hughes, Newry Dance and Cheer Company.. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
Danielle Hughes-Quinn and Catherine Hughes, Newry Dance and Cheer Company.. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

With Covid-19 the dance school now offers classes via Zoom. Catherine explains "While we are here teaching our classes in studio, there is a big overhead screen and if there is any child for whatever reason, if there's a vulnerable adult in that house or if they are feeling sick that day and they can't attend, they can still attend at home and take part in the class. They will be able to see everything that's going on.

Dance Parties

As well as Halloween, Easter and Summer Camps NDCC do parties for birthdays, confirmations, holy communions etc, both at home or at their new premises.

Danielle adds "I would have went to peoples houses or maybe they were in a community centre and I would have been entertainer. We do any style of dance that they want. We'd ask if there's any favourite songs that they want us to do their dancing to. We offer face painting, nail painting, if parents want party bags we do everything. Parties are available from 14 months up."

Fully Trained

Newry Dance and Cheer Company are fully trained, qualified and insured. Staff are Covid-19 trained via Royal London College and qualified through professional teaching organisations. They have been contracted with the Health and Social Care Trust going into community centres for recreational dancing, hip-hop, modern and jazz.


Dancing for the Northern Ireland Dance Team for 12 years Catherine got to perform in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London. She has danced in the Winter Gardens in Blackpool as well as the Royal Albert Hall, and adds that she also did an advert for Ards Shopping Centre for their Easter and Christmas promotion, to much mirth from Danielle.

Term 1 Timetable

Adult Classes

Studio 1
6.30 – 7.30pm: Adult Dance/Fitness

Studio 1
6.30-7.30pm: Adults Yoga Dance/Fitness (We will be adding more adult fitness, zumba, dance and yoga classes to our timetable and all will be confirmed within the next 2 weeks).

Achievement Awards and Grades are available in the following areas

Performing Arts
Musical Theatre
Public Speaking

Jazz Dance
Tap Dance


Hall 2 P1-P3: 

3.30 - 4.30: Recreational Dance and Medal Award Class

Hall 2 P4-P7

4.45-6.45pm Medal and Star Award
4.45-5.45: DANCE/Contemporary/Commercial
5.45-6.45: Modern/Aerobic/Street 


Studio 1

4.30-5.15pm: TIKTOK MANIA
5.30 - 6.15pm: Boys Hip-hop
6.30 – 7.30pm: Adult Dance/Fitness


Studio 1

Teen Dance 4 – 6.30pm
Recreational Dance, Freestyle, Jazz/Musical Theatre, Dance Aerobics and Commercial 


Studio 1 – Parent and Toddler Class

10-10.45am: Me and My Mini Toddler Class 
This class operates as an 8 week course at £40 per child (this price has been already discounted)

Studio 1

6.30-7.30pm: Adults Yoga Fitness

Studio 2

4.45-5.45pm: Primary Modern technique
(Compulsory for all primary school aged dancers on competition teams)

Studio 2
6-7pm: Secondary Modern technique 
(Compulsory for all secondary school age/adult dancers on competition teams)


Studio 2 

9.30-10.15am: Recreational Preschool Ballet 

Meeting Room and Zoom
-Speech & Drama Grades (according to age & in small groups of 4)

Private 1 to 1 sessions are also available upon request.

Studio 2

10.30-11.15am: Musical Theatre Preschool/P1-3 Competition Class
10.30-11.15am: Musical Theatre P4-P7 Competition Class

Studio 2 

11.30-12.30: P4-P7 Street Cheer Competition Class.

Studio 1

12.45-1.30: TIKTOK MANIA

Studio 2

12.45- 1.30: Primary Ballet (grades/exam class)

Studio 1 

1.45-2.30: Preschool/P1-P3 Street Cheer Competition Class

PRIVATE 1 to 1 Tuition

We have Private 1 to 1 tuition in dancing/singing/drama available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. These slots fill up extremely fast, so we recommend you book your place asap.



Newry Dance and Cheer Company are based at Unit 7 Springhill Road Carnbane Industrial Estate, Newry. Registration is now open through email and newcomers are welcome. To register or for more information contact NDCC at

Facebook NDCC Danceand Instagram @newrydanceco

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