The Artists

Mark Howard

Mark Howard

Founding Artistic Director / Choreographer

For more than three decades, this Emmy Award-winning choreographer has been striving for and achieving that which is profoundly significant and equally difficult to attain—the transcendence of craft to art and the synthesis of forms to create something that is forward-looking and new. His work maintains integrity while simultaneously going beyond the framework of ethnicity to carve new traditions.

Born in Yorkshire, England, and raised in Chicago, Howard began his dancing career at the age of eight at the Dennehy School of Irish Dance. He began teaching when he was only 17 years old, and by 20 he had launched the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance, subsequently leading them to unprecedented World Championship team titles for the United States—the first when he was only 25. As a competitive coach and choreographer, he would go on to redefine what was possible for American teams becoming the first to win gold in all categories.

Howard’s pioneering work in the late 80s led to his unique transition from the competitive stage to the performing arts stage and began his gradual evolution from coach to artistic director. By 1990, these formative years led to the creation of a nonprofit forum, Trinity Irish Dance Company (TIDC), to celebrate and further his work. From its inception, TIDC has been met with great critical acclaim at renowned venues across the world.

Howard himself was a regular guest on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson from 1989 until Carson’s retirement in1991, and has accumulated a multitude of national and international television credits including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, CBS This Morning, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Today Show, Live with Regis, Good Morning America, Martha, CONAN, and 1st Look, to name a few. From PBS and Network specials, to extensive film work for Disney, Touchstone, Universal, and Dream Works, Howard has worked with the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Ron Howard, and Sam Mendez. He was the personal dance coach for actors Tom Hanks and Daniel Craig while working on the film Road to Perdition.

Howard continues to choreograph new works, as well as expand his independent career to work in theater, television, concert, and film. The feature film screenplay SOLES, which focuses on Howard and Trinity, is currently in the works. Howard’s work in the arts has led to numerous Choreographer’s Fellowships awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Howard has been named three times as one of Irish American Magazine’s “Top 100 Irish-Americans,” and he was honored by iBAM! in 2011 and in 2015 by Chicago’s Lawyers For the Creative Arts for his outstanding contribution to the performing arts.

Chelsea Hoy

Associate Artistic Director / Choreographer / Dancer

Denver, CO

At 28, Denver-born Hoy has already become a major player in the performing arts world. Generous, rebellious, creative and complex, her choreographic influence has significantly shaped TIDC’s newest works, from Communion, to Soles and Push. Hoy recently co-choreographed Taking the Mick alongside Howard, a versatile work following their first collaboration An Sorcas (The Circus), which previewed in Japan and had its world premiere at Chicago’s historic Auditorium Theatre in 2019.

In the dance studio, Hoy finds the creative process to be a rewarding and therapeutic combination of fluid expression and technical configuration. She is a game changer with a big vision, motivated by the ability this art form has to deeply connect strangers and friends alike. 

Chelsea grew up dancing competitively for the Wick School of Irish Dance in Denver, Colorado. She joined TIDC in 2014 after she began her studies at Loyola University Chicago. She graduated in 2017 with Bachelors’ degrees in Psychology and Photography. In addition to helping guide the company’s future, she is a professional photographer, dance instructor, and visual artist. Hoy’s love of empowering children through the arts continues to shape TIDC’s outreach programming. 

A powerful activist and artist, she has been entrusted with TIDC’s ethos and future.

Ali Doughty

Artistic Associate / Dancer

Philadelphia, PA

Ali Doughty started dancing at the age of eight with the McDade School of Irish dance in Philadelphia, PA. After moving to Ohio to the attend the University of Dayton in 2012, she continued her competitive dancing career with The Academy in Columbus, Ohio. While balancing her studies in exercise physiology, Ali continued to compete internationally and was ultimately crowned World Champion in 2014. Upon her graduation, Philadelphia-born Ali moved to Chicago to join the TIDC movement and begin her evolution from formidable competitor to a limitless performing artist while receiving her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at Northwestern University. With a seamless blend of aerial grace and percussive power, Ali connects with audiences on a deep level and is particularly well known and revered by Japanese audiences. She is part of a nucleus of company members that are carrying the TIDC legacy to new heights, while balancing a career in pediatric physical therapy.

Michael Fleck
Michael Fleck
Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

Michael Fleck

Artistic Associate / Dancer

Indianapolis, IN

A multidimensional artist, Michael thrives on the intersection of rhythms and spatial arrangement. Throughout a successful competitive career, Michael won the Midwest Regional Championships and the US National Championships several times, placing as high as 2nd at the World Championships and winning the All Ireland National Championships when he was only 9 years old. After earning his Bachelors of Architecture from Ball State University, Michael moved to Chicago to pursue a career in architecture while further immersing himself in TIDC’s mission.

Lydia Fredrick

Artistic Associate / Dancer

New Berlin, WI

Lydia grew up in New Berlin, Wisconsin dancing competitively with the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance.  At the age of 12, she became the co-captain of a U.S. team that captured a historic world title at the 2014 World Irish Dance Championships. Recently receiving her B.S. in chembio with minors in business management and psychology from Ripon College, Lydia is currently working as a certified EMT with plans to attend medical school, while changing the dialogue about what’s possible within Irish dance as a TIDC dancer, Artistic Associate, and the Training & Auditions Manager.

Sydney Niewiedzial

Artistic Associate / Dancer

Chicago, IL

Sydney is a rare combination of complexity, power, and poise. She grew up dancing at Chicago’s Trinity Academy of Irish Dance where her unique abilities as an athlete and a leader helped her rise to quick competitive success, winning the National Championships, regional titles, and leading her team to win a gold medal at the World Championships as their team co-captain, all by the age of 12. Introduced at that time to Japanese audiences by Howard, she has grown as an artist, a compassionate leader, and is on the frontlines of helping TIDC push the boundaries of our art form. Recently receiving a B.S. in zoology at Miami University in Ohio, Sydney is currently pursuing her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.

Main Company

Second Company

The Band

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