Teacher: Kelly MacArthur

Dancer: 42 years. 

Dance Teacher: 37 years.

Training: Campbell School of Dance: Highland. Jean MacNeil/Betty Matheson: CB Step Dance. Dance Interplay (Maxine Finnell/Marie Nugent): Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, Contemporary. 

Styles Trained: Highland. CB Step Dance. Hip Hop. Jazz. Lyrical. Contemporary. Modern. 

Teaching Styles: Highland. CB Step Dance. Hip Hop. Choreography in all styles above. 

Certification: Member Certification of the SDTA (Scottish Dance Teacher’s Alliance). Member SDNS. Member DANS.

Day Job: Director/Owner MacArthur School of Dance Studio. Director/Choreographer: MacArthur Dancers. Professional Dancer: Spirit of the Fiddle & Casino N.S. Cruise Ship Ceilidh Series.  


Kelly is a Champion Highland Dancer, a seasoned Step Dancer and a well travelled stage performer. Kelly has danced for the past 42 years, having been fortunate to grace stages across Canada, the United States and Europe – both competitively and as a performer. She has been teaching for the past 36 years throughout Nova Scotia and the Maritimes Provinces, as well as along the Eastern Coastline of Canada and the United States. 

During her 20+ years as a competitive dancer, Kelly won many awards throughout the Maritimes – including Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canadian Champion titles repeatedly, as well as holding over 25 other Runner-Up titles. Kelly represented Nova Scotia on the Provincial Highland Dance Team for 5 consecutive years, which travelled across the country to compete at Canadian National Championships annually. She was fortunate to have competed in almost every province in Canada, several US States, and twice in the beautiful birthplace of Highland Dance – Scotland. Kelly danced her full career with the Campbell School of Dance in Sydney Mines, under the direction of Karenanne (Campbell) Peck. She was also a member of the award winning Dance Troupe Damhsa Breacan – winning awards throughout Canada, and taking home the Canadian Choreography Challenge title twice with this group. 

Kelly studied Cape Breton Step Dance at the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts for 8 years, under the teachings of Jean MacNeil and Betty Matheson. She was also part of the performance troupe Dance Interplay in Sydney for 3 years – learning Jazz, Contemporary, Modern and Lyrical Choreography under the direction of Marie Nugent and Maxine Finnell. Kelly has also taken workshops in Ballet, Tap, Irish, Social Dance, Scottish Country, Square-sets and Movement throughout her career.  

Teaching began at the early age of 13 as an Assistant Instructor at the Campbell School of Dance, teaching there for 12 years. She taught at the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts for 25 years, starting at the age of 15 in the Winter & Spring Workshop Programs – and then full time in the Summer Camp Programs starting at age 17. Kelly taught for 6 summers at the Schoodic Festival of the Arts in Maine. She also taught in the school system in Maine for 3 years, travelling down several times a year to run programs. She has taught all over Canada and the US – some workshop highlights include: The College of Piping in PEI; Rejigged Festival in Dartmouth; Celtic Colours International Festival in Sydney; The Michigan Dance & Theatre Company; SDTA North American Conference; The Celtic Department in Sydney. 

Kelly has taught Highland Dance, Step Dance, Hip Hop, Square-sets and Dance & Movement Programs within the Cape Breton school system for over 20 years independently. She also taught with a program called LTTA (Learning Through The Arts) for 6 years in 3 counties of Cape Breton, as well as within the Mi’Kmaq Board for one year. Kelly was a teaching member with PERFORM, through DANS (Dance Nova Scotia), within the CB school system and continues to teach regularly throughout the school system. 

Kelly is a professional dancer, performing at events and festivals throughout the year. She dances full time with two companies: Spirit of the Fiddle (May-November) and the Casino Nova Scotia Cruise Ship Ceilidhs Series (May-November). 

She is the Director/Choreographer of the ‘MacArthur Dancers’ (See Page). This dance troupe consists of top-level Premier Highland Dancers and Step Dancers from all over Cape Breton Island – well known for both their traditional and modern stage appealing choreography. This troupe performs professionally for over 50 shows each year, with highlights including: The Cape Breton Summertime Review Tour; Island Girls Tour; Barra MacNeils Christmas Tour; Celtic Colours International Festival; Savoy Theatre 90th Anniversary; C200 30th Anniversary; Nova Scotia Hall of Fame Gala; Acoustic Roots Festival. The troupe also performs at over 30 community and charity events locally throughout the year. These young dancers have won the Canadian Choreography Challenge twice, as well as many other accolades all over Canada. 

Throughout the years, Kelly’s dancers have won many Championship and Premiership Titles, including: Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canadian, Ship Hector, New Scotland Open and Halifax Citadel Champions. They have won hundreds of runner-up titles all over the Maritimes, as well worldwide – at the Canadian Championships, ScotDance Canada Open Championships, British Commonwealth and Scottish Championships. One of Kelly’s dancers qualified for the World Juvenile Championships at Cowal, in Dunoon, Scotland, in 2019 – allowing her to compete for the World Championship Title in ages 12-15 years. She took home two judges placing medals in the top 6 of some of the best dancers in the world 🌎 Kelly has won two prestigious awards for her contribution to her Scottish culture: The Nova Scotia Women In Business Progress Award in Arts/Culture in 2003, and the Ambassador of Cape Breton/Scottish Culture – presented by the State of Maine, in 2004. 

Kelly has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology/English from UCCB. She is a Teaching Member of the SDTA, ScotDance Nova Scotia and DANS. She is married to the award winning Recording Engineer at Lakewind Sound Studios, and owner of Launch Media, Michael (Sheppy) Shepherd. They have a daughter Drea, and a son Jera. Both children are heavily involved in the arts through dance and music, studying dance, piano, fiddle, saxophone, percussion, pipe band drumming and singing. They reside in Sydney.