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Occupation: I am a dance teacher. My wonderful wife, Christina, and I are the directors of the Ashurst Academy of Irish Dance here in Newtown. We also have classes that run in Danbury and Southbury. We opened in June 2016, and we now have more than 85 students who just did their first recital. We’ve had our students dance at nationals and who are preparing for a lot of competitions and shows. It’s been amazing, I couldn’t ask for a better job. We love working in Newtown.
Family: I am from Melbourne, Australia. My mum was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and my dad was born and raised in Sheffield, England. They met in Australia and moved back to Ireland, where my sister was born. Then they moved back to Australia, where they eventually stayed, and my brother and I were born there. All of my family is in Australia. It’s pretty far away, but I like to look at it as it’s only a day away. My family here is Christina and her family, who are really great and live just down the road.
How long have you lived in Newtown? I first started visiting Christina here in 2010 and would stay for a while. We were on tour for so many years, living out of a suitcase. We bought our place in 2014, and I’m definitely enjoying it here.
What do you like to do in your free time? We like to go and get coffee. I go to Cafe Xpresso about ever single morning. We like to scope out good food places, to check out what’s new. We also like finding places to hike, and we are starting to get into watching a lot of Netflix and Hulu. Right now, we’re hooked on Nashville and Dancing With The Stars.
Do you have a favorite book or author? I like reading autobiographies. Some standouts are Andre Agassi’s book, Open, and Richard Branson’s autobiography, which was amazing.
What are your favorite travel destinations? I have a few: Disney World and Disneyland; anywhere with a beach; my hometown of Melbourne, Australia; and Paris.
What is the best part about Newtown? I love how it has somewhat of a fast pace like a big city, but it has the kindness of a small town. It’s really cool that New York City is only an hour and a half down the road, where you can be in that hustle and bustle, but come back here and be away from it. Also, in running the dancing school in town we have noticed the positive benefits of that community feel and the enthusiasm people here have for the arts.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My parents. My mum, Phil, never let me give up at anything, ever. It helped in many ways. I was able to achieve my goals and dreams, tour the world for years, meet Christina, and now be able to do what I love for my job. My dad, John, is amazing with advice all the time; he’s fantastic. Quite often I’ll remember things that he did in order to make my dreams in regards to dance happen, like him driving me to lessons and competitions in other states. When you’re a kid you don’t appreciate it as much, but as an adult you realize just how much they did. My parents and I may be on other sides of the world, but their influence is still definitely with me.
If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? I think it would be really cool to spend a day with my granddad, who is not with us anymore. As the years go on, I keep finding more and more similarities with his life growing up in Ireland that resonate with my life now. He was just hilarious, as well. Also, I would love to have a beer with Richard Branson.
Who is your favorite musical artist? Sia and Coldplay. Quite often when Christina and I are cooking we’ll go on YouTube and put on resort area music and choose a different place each time.
Do you have a favorite TV show? Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Friends, and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? You live better when you are thinking more positively.