Features

Peggy Woods Doherty

March 2010

Peggy Woods Doherty has been Irish Step Dancing for forty years. From her first lesson at five years old from the legendary Mary Madden, Peggy was a natural.  With her signature high kicks and sharp and polished dancing technique, Peggy ultimately became a Champion dancer.  One of the pinnacles of her dancing career came when she danced in Dublin, Ireland when she was fourteen years old.  Another highpoint was opening her own school  – The Woods School of Irish Dance – over 20 years ago in her hometown of South Boston.  Peggy’s vivacious personality and her love dance combine to make her the perfect teacher. 

Peggy was born the second of five children to John and Mary (Bailey) Woods.  She grew up on Ticknor Street and eventually bought the house right next door to her parents where she currently lives with her husband Shaun Doherty and their two children Delia (12) and Sean (10).  Peggy attended St. Peter’s School and then on to Mount St. Joseph Academy for high school.  After graduating, she received her Associates degree from Aquinas Jr. College.  She worked at the prestigious law firm of Mintz Levin as a legal secretary for 10 years before opening the doors to her successful Irish Step School.

Peggy teaches lessons with her sister Roseann (Woods) McKenna to over 175 students in locations such as Southie, Hingham and Charlestown.  Their students begin as young at 2 years old and go up to age 21 and all perform competitively in dance competitions called Feis (pronounced Fesh).  They have traveled for competition to such places as Tennessee, Philadelphia, Ireland and will be traveling later this year to Scotland. 

Peggy also teaches a large group of adult students for fun on Thursday evenings.  “This group loves it!  They are so dedicated and they really enjoy themselves,” she says.  According to Peggy, it’s an extremely good workout and all her dancers work up quite a sweat.  The cost for adult classes is $15 for the hour but if you pay for the full month of classes it’s a $50 flat rate.  Peggy will also be teaching Thursday, March 11th at 8:30pm at the Seapoint Restaurant in conjunction with the group “The New Southie”.  “I’m so excited to teach them.  It’s gonna be lots of fun – they are such a fun group of guys.”

One of Peggy’s favorite months is March no doubt due to the fact St. Patrick’s Day is March 17th.  This month is packed with events leading up to Parade Day on March 14th and Peggy likes to give back to the community during this month.  The Woods School of Irish Dance Dancers will be performing at the Marion Manor and the Bay View Nursing home as well as the Jack Hart Breakfast the morning before the parade.  Also, keep an eye open for the group with the brightly colored embroidered dresses and heads full of curls.  They will be traveling from bars to restaurants all day on Wednesday, March 17th  with Peggy Woods Doherty proudly leading the way with her contagious smile and her girls in tow.  And seeing them will make your St. Pat’s that much more special. 

For more information about the Woods School of Irish Dance, please contact Peggy at woodsschool@comcast.net.

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Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.