John Timm

John Timm is an internationally recognized performer, instructor, choreographer, and adjudicator of Irish step dance. Timm began dancing at age 3 in Dayton, Ohio, under the tutelage of Ann Richens, a native of Dublin, Ireland, and a student of dance master Maitiú Ó Maoiléidigh. As a young competitor, Timm won more than a dozen dance championships in North America, and in 1993 at the age of 22 he earned the highest honor an Irish dancer can receive, the Senior Men’s World Championship.

After winning the World Championship, Timm received his dance teaching certification from the International Irish Dance governing body, An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha. Richens invited Timm to join her to form the Richens/Timm Academy of Irish Dance, where they continued to teach together until Richens passed away in 2011. Timm’s career spans an impressive range of performance, choreography, and a legacy of mentoring generations of new Irish step dancers—some of whom have gone on to form dance schools of their own. In 2012, Timm’s student Michael Holland won the Senior Men’s World Championship, the same international prize that Timm won 19 years earlier.

Competitive dancing has been key in developing and sustaining Irish step dance, but according to Timm, “there’s a bigger picture here than winning in competitions. It’s about training these kids to be good people and to learn that with commitment, dedication, and attention to detail, they can accomplish anything. Whether it be dancing, or in school, or in their work lives as they go forward in whatever they choose to do. And, hopefully, Irish dancing and we play a role in that.” Timm and Richens also used Irish dance to build community wherever they worked. In Dayton, they and their students were key collaborators and frequent performers at Cityfolk concerts and festivals. And in Dublin, Ohio, Timm has danced at every Dublin Irish Festival since its humble beginnings in 1988. First staged on a tennis court to compliment the Columbus Feis, a local dance competition that Richens founded, the Festival has since evolved into one of the largest Irish cultural gatherings in the world. There you can always find the Richens/Timm dancers, who continue to thrill the festival crowds year after year.

“Dueling Feet” with Rhythm in Shoes (2011)

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