Kelly MacArthur

Highland Dance

Kelly is a Champion Highland Dancer and seasoned Step Dancer from the island of Cape Breton, who has competed, performed and taught all over Canada, the United States and Europe. Kelly was a student of Karenanne (Campbell) Peck her entire competitive career, during which she won the Nova Scotia Championship and Atlantic Canadian Championship titles numerous times. She also won the Canadian Choreography titles as a member of Damhsa Breacan Dance Troupe.

Kelly taught with Karenanne for 12 years at the Campbell School of Dance in Sydney Mines, as well as over 30 years at the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts in St. Ann’s, NS. In 1996, she moved home and opened her own Studio in downtown Sydney, the MacArthur School of Dance. She has taught Highland & CB Step Dance Workshops throughout Canada, the US & Scotland. She has taught workshops at such festivals as: Rejigged, Celtic Colours, Schoodic Festival of the Arts, the College of Piping – and is excited to be teaching for the first time this summer at the Rollo Bay Festival in PEI. She will also be teaching Highland & Step Dance Workshops again this August in Scotland.

Since 1996, Kelly has been the Director/Choreographer of the school’s professional performance troupe, the MacArthur Dancers. Members of the troupe have performed in festivals, tattoos, galas, and shows – as well as toured with live performances – all over Canada, the US, Scotland, Switzerland, Russia, and Ireland. They have been fortunate to have graced stages with nearly every incredible musician that has come out of Cape Breton, including: The Barra MacNeils Christmas Tour, The Cape Breton Summertime Review Tour, Island Girls Tour, Colin Grant, MaryJane Lamond & Wendy MacIsaac, Sprag Session, Coig, Slainte Mhath, Aaron Lewis & Kimberley Fraser, the Beaton Sisters, the CB House Band – to name a few. The troupe has also won first overall at the Canadian Choreography Challenge several times, and are best known for their creative & stage appealing original & modern choreographies.

Kelly has taught Highland Dance, Cape Breton Step Dance, Hip Hop, Jazz, Lyrical and Contemporary dance at her Studio. As soloists, Kelly’s dancers have won titles provincially, nationally and internationally, including: Nova Scotia Champion, Atlantic Canadian Champion, Canadian Champion, Commonwealth Champion & World Champion. She is currently the teacher of the 2023 Junior World Champion.

Kelly still performs professionally as a member of Spirit of the Fiddle. She is main dancer with this diverse group of top Cape Breton musicians, performing over 100 shows each year for the Cruise Ships, as well as at the Louisbourg Playhouse Series throughout the summer. She is a member of the SDTA, SDNS, SDC, DANS. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from UCCB, and is married to award winning Studio Recording Engineer, Michael “Sheppy” Shepherd. The couple lives in Sydney with their children Drea & Jera – both of whom study traditional music and dance. Kelly strongly promotes the culture of Cape Breton, as well as the importance of sharing these unique traditions for generations to follow. She and her dancers contribute hundreds of volunteer hours each year to local charity and fundraising events.

Kelly is thrilled to be back at the Gaelic College for a week this coming July!
Summer Youth Session 3