Dawn MacDonald-Gillis began step dancing at the age of 8 under the tutelage of Kaye Hanrahan in New Waterford. With strong ties to the Iona area, she grew up surrounded by traditional Cape Breton music. By the time Dawn and sister Helen had reached their teen years, their synchronized footwork had them invited to perform in many concerts in Cape Breton and beyond. Furthermore, they began teaching step dancing, both privately and for other dancing schools in the industrial Cape Breton area.
Dawn and Helen’s dancing skills have been featured in Buddy MacMaster’s DVD “Buddy MacMaster in Concert”, in tours for Natalie MacMaster, the Barra MacNeils and in productions such as Howie’s Celtic Brew. They both continue to teach step dance workshops at various professional conferences as well as at the Gaelic College, St. Ann’s and at Fèis an Eilein, Christmas Island, among others.