Melody Cameron

Step Dance

Melody Cameron is an accomplished Cape Breton style step dancer and fiddler with over 40 years of dance experience. From a young age, she performed and taught with her sister Kelly at venues throughout Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Western Newfoundland. Through the 1980’s, they appeared four times on ATV television’s “Up Home Tonight” and were filmed for a BBC documentary “Down Home”.  Towards the late 1980’s, they were part of the group “Highland Classic”. Other members of that group included Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, Wendy MacIsaac, Rodney MacDonald, Stephanie Wills and Jackie Dunn.  In the spring of 1998, Melody worked as a choreographer for The Rankins, one of Canada’s foremost folk groups.  In 2005 Melody and Kelly danced on The Rankin Sisters’ televised Christmas special, “Home for Christmas” which aired on Canada’s Bravo! network.  

Melody and her husband Derrick have very active in Cape Breton’s traditional music and dance scene.  They perform music together for dances, pubs, concerts and festivals throughout Cape Breton Island, Ontario and the New England States and have taught workshops and performed at the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Aberdeen, Scotland in 2010 and at the Barga School of Scots Music, Song and Dance in Italy in 2016 and 2017.  Melody and Derrick served as a board members of Comunn Féis Mhàbu from 2004 to 2016.  This Mabou based organization worked to support both children and adults in their pursuits to learn more about Cape Breton’s Gaelic culture through various programs and events.  Melody and Derrick are currently board members of West Mabou Development Association. This non-profit association hosts one of Cape Breton’s longest running square dances, The West Mabou Family Dance, which features some of Cape Breton’s finest traditional musicians and has been offering weekly square dances for all ages since 1988.  Another recent dance event for Melody was a trip to Quebec City to teach workshops with fellow instructors Nic Gareiss, Normand Legault, Michel Bordeleau (foot tapping) and Pierre Chartrand for Danse traditionnelle Québec in the fall of 2018.  Melody has been invited by Irish sean nos dancer Edwina Guckian  to teach dance in April of 2020 in Ireland for the Leitrim Dance Project.  Fellow Cape Breton step dancers Mac Morin and Mairi Rankin have also been invited to teach there.    

One of Melody’s more recent dance related activities has been to help establish Dance Dialects.  This unique and informative event is hosted by West Mabou Development Association in association with Celtic Colours International Festival and is held in October in West Mabou Hall.  Dance Dialects is an exploration of different percussive dance styles. It features discussion and performances by local and visiting dancers and allows for some audience participation.  Dance Dialects was held in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and is scheduled for October of 2020.  Some of Dance Dialects past guests include Edwina Guckian, Dominic Desrochers, Mary Frances MacMaster Leahy, Emma O’Sullivan, Pierre Chartrand, John Pellerin, Mac Morin, Nic Gareiss and April Verch.  

In the summer of 2017, Melody started the Mabou School of Cape Breton Step Dance featuring some of Cape Breton’s finest instructors and a series of presentations focusing on step dance related topics.  This week of step dance and set dance instruction was repeated in 2018 and 2019.  The next school week is scheduled for July of 2020.  The goals for the school are not only to offer high quality dance instruction, but also to give a well rounded Mabou, Cape Breton experience.

Summer Workshop Week