Michael and Matthew Gardiner are American born Irish Dancers living in Galway, Ireland. They have over 800 million views on social media, have won over 40 major Irish dancing titles between them and have performed to audiences all over the globe at their own corporate events and with the world famous Riverdance cast. They are known for their fast paced and rhythmic style of dance that they developed after training at the Hession School of Irish Dance in Galway, Ireland.
Background: Born in Denver, Colorado to two Irish parents, they followed their older sister Anna to their first dance classes at the ages of 3 and 4. Michael joined the class after loving the rhythm and music that he witnessed at Anna’s dance classes. Matthew then followed and was adamant that he wouldn’t miss out on what his two older siblings were doing. After competing all over the United States, the family moved home to Galway, Ireland where they continued to dance under the Hession School of Irish Dance. With the training of some of the best teachers and coaches in the world, Michael and Matthew went on to win over 40 major titles worldwide including the Connacht, Western Region USA, All Ireland, Irish National, British National, Great Britain, All Scotland, and ultimately 5 World Championships between them.
Competitions: From a young age, the brothers took a love to the competition scene in Irish Dancing. Being 4 years old wasn’t going to stop a young Matthew from competing in his first Western Regional Oireachtas which is a world qualifying event, but only if you are over the age of 10! Matthew won that day alongside his brother and wasn’t even as tall as the trophy! The brothers competed all over the states for the next few years and quickly rose through the levels of Irish Dancing. In 2006, the family decided to move ‘home’ to Ireland, where their parents were from. After joining the Hession School, they quickly adjusted to the Irish style and continued with the competition scene and soon began competing all over Ireland and the UK at major championships every few months. Soon, the brothers were stacking up major title wins and had conquered every major title in front of them except one. They set their eyes on the ultimate prize in Irish Dancing; The World Championships. The brothers came close on multiple occasions to their ultimate goal, but it wasn’t until 2014 in London when they had their first breakthrough. Having won every major title leading up to the World Championships that year, Michael won the U19 Mens World Title. After London, Michael considered retiring from competition and moving on to a performance career, but there was one goal left for the brothers before he could move on; that was to both win a World Title in the same year, a feat that hadn’t been achieved in nearly 40 years. In 2015, the brothers went to Montreal for the World Championships and after a tense week, the brothers created history by both winning their respective age groups. After one more Irish National title a month later, Michael retired from competition as a 15 time major winner and began to work towards a professional career. Matthew followed up his win in 2015 with two more World Titles in 2017 in Dublin and 2018 in Glasgow; both of which he secured perfect scores in his final round in order to win. After his win in 2018, Matthew had achieved everything he wanted in competition and decided to follow his brother into the professional world as a 30 time major winner.
Michael and Matthew both started performing at a very young age. Once they started Irish dancing in Denver, the performances for them started almost immediately in the form of competitions (‘feiseanna’) around the States. They instantly fell in love with performing to crowds big or small and have loved performing and choreographing ever since. As they continued dancing on the competitive circuit and working their way up through the ranks, they began to find increasing opportunities to perform outside of the competition environment. These performances included corporate shows near their home town in Galway, teaching foreign students how to dance followed by a performance of their own each night. Wedding performances began to become more and more popular for the brothers as well as well as corporate events around Ireland. This was where the brothers had their first outbreak on social media. Michael and Matthew choreographed a dance to Michael Jacksons Smooth Criminal in 2011 and it became an instant classic. When they performed their Michael Jackson tribute piece to a wedding audience in Galway City in 2012, a video was posted online which amassed over 39,000 shares on Facebook and an estimated 5 million views. As two boys aged 12 and 15, they were overwhelmed by the attention the video gathered online but of course loved to see that the performance spread so much joy and that people enjoyed their dancing! Throughout their dancing career, they have continued to create choreography to modern music and these performances became more and more frequent as a result of their success in the competition circuit, ultimately leading to professional touring shows and companies seeking the brothers to join and contribute to their shows.
Shows: The brothers initially started performing at shows at the ages of 5 and 6 which included the St. Patrick’s day parades as young boys in Denver, Colorado (where they were born) and the annual Hession School show in Galway’s town hall after their family moved to Galway, Ireland. These shows gave them an initial taste of their future in the professional Irish dancing and performing world. Since then, they have performed thousands of shows all over the world including Ragus, TIDC, Trad on The Prom, Fusion Fighters, Danceperados of Ireland, Spirit of Ireland and their own corporate gigs. For the last five years, the brothers have been honoured to tour Ireland and the World with The Kilfenora Ceili Band and of course, as principla dancers in the one and only Riverdance. Some of the countries that the brothers have performed in include The USA, Ireland, England, Scotland, Portugal, Dubai, Morocco, Canada, Japan and China.
Riverdance: It was in 2015 that Michael and Matthew auditioned for Riverdance together by attending the Riverdance Summer School. Since then, they were both selected to join the show and perform with them as a part of the ‘flying squad’ and eventually long-term tours with the show around the world. From a young age, the brothers had always wanted to join Riverdance and become principal dancers someday so it really was a dream come true. The brothers have performed at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin together and have toured in China and North America over the last 7 years. After the pandemic, Michael and Matthew were delighted to return to touring life with Riverdance on a 4-month UK tour in 2021, followed by a 4-month North America tour and a 3-month residency at the Gaiety in 2022. The brothers became the FIRST EVER brothers to both be Lead Dancers in the show during this latest stint on tour in 2022.
Career Highlights: The brothers have some incredible memories performing together at corporate events and dance shows over their career. In the last 5 years, apart from their own corporate performances, the two shows that Michael and Matthew have danced with the most are The Kilfenora Ceili Band and Riverdance, which included shows all over Ireland, England, China and North America. Some of their favourite performances so far include:
Choreography: For Michael and Matthew, choreography came hand in hand with both competing and performing throughout their career. Once they started to perfect their first steps as young boys, they were always curious about challenging themselves and adding new moves to their dances. As they became more experienced in performing, they had the skills to choreograph their own steps for competition as well as their shows, which has led to their well known choreographed pieces such as the Smooth Criminal tribute mentioned above, and their world renowned acapella which includes a perfect combination of syncopated and combatting rhythms. The biggest occasion that they have choreographed for was for The World Meeting of Families when Pope Francis visited Ireland. The brothers were asked to choreograph a special piece which they also performed, with some of the cast of Riverdance to a packed Croke Park with an approximate audience of 90,000. Michael and Matthew have also choreographed competition and show dances for the Hession School, Trinity Academy, Trinity Irish Dance Company, Fusion Fighters touring show and The Kilfenora Ceili Band.
The Gardiner Brothers first posted a video to social media in 2012 to Michael Jackson’s ‘Smooth Criminal’ which amassed over 39,000 shares on Facebook. Since then, they have enjoyed posting dancing videos showcasing their talent and the Irish culture to their social media audience.
At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the brothers spent their time choreographing and creating videos to various artists, with the aim of showcasing how modern, athletic and versatile Irish dancing has become. They started actively posting content on the video sharing apps TikTok and Instagram in 2020. Their videos started to catch fire on social media catching the attention of various celebrities such as Jack Black, Hugh Jackman, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tiesto, Arron Crascall, Lindsey Stirling, Kiesza, Oliver Heldens to name a few. Some of which were enthused enough to re-post Michael and Matthew’s videos to their millions of followers. Due to their success on social media, they were approached by multiple media outlets for interviews and features including the LA times, The Jennifer Hudson Show, Home and Family, RTE Nationwide, Spin South West, Virgin Media’s Six O’clock show, Ireland AM, Australia’s 7 network news, NBC’s Today show and RTE Today show.
The Gardiner Brothers were signed to a Model and Influencer Agency in September 2020 making them the first ever Irish dancing influencers. They are now signed with All Star Entertainment in London. Since their explosion on social media to nearly 6 million followers, they have begun to collaborate with global brands such as McDonalds, RedBull, Dubai Tourism, Tourism Ireland and Hugo Boss where they showcase various products in their videos with an Irish dancing twist.
The Gardiner Brothers have always had a keen goal to broaden their skill set as Irish dancers and to incorporate new styles in their performances and continue to push the boundaries of their art form. One way that they have done this is collaborating with some other amazing creators and performers across the world such as ‘Happy Kelli’, Vik White, Alex Wong, Tiler Peck, Mat Forget, Vicotria Dauberville, Habi, Aubrey Fisher, MALINDA, Miranda Derrick and ‘BDash’, Lindsey Stirling and the list goes on! Check out some of their collabs below!
Although Irish dancing is a prime aspect of Michael and Matthew’s lives, both of them also have many other interests and hobbies. Michael is a qualified Architect from the University of Limerick, Ireland and Matthew is qualified with a first class honours in Civil Engineering from his studies at the National University of Galway, Ireland. Both of them are avid sports fans with a particular interest in Soccer, American Football, Rugby, Basketball, GAA, Golf and Tennis. Their main teams and players that they support are Manchester United, Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, the Irish Rugby team, Galway GAA, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Roger Federer and Tiger Woods.
You never know where in the World we might show up next! On your TV screens, at a theatre near you or even dancing on the streets in a nearby city. We are currently working on some very exciting social media projects around the world! We will also soon be returning to the US as principal members of the world famous show Riverdance. Wherever we are, we want to let you know. Keep an eye out here to follow our journey!