Kelly MacArthur


School Owner/Director/Choreographer/Main Instructor

Teaching Certifications & Organizations: MSDTA, SDNS, SDC, DANS, Chair GCHD Competition


Kelly MacArthur is a champion dancer from Cape Breton, who has competed and performed all over the world for over 38 years, with nearly every musician and band that has come out of Nova Scotia. She was the Nova Scotia Dance Ambassador for tourism for 10 years, has danced in several commercials and television specials, and was also featured in the Barra MacNeil’s video, “My Heart’s in the Highlands”.

Kelly has been teaching Highland Dance and Cape Breton Step Dance for the past 31 years, including 20 years at her own Dance Studio in Sydney, the MacArthur School of Dance. The school also has a professional performance troupe called the ‘MacArthur Dancers’, which is under Kelly’s direction and choreography, and consists of top level dancers from all over Cape Breton Island. She has also taught workshops all over Canada and the United States, including the College of Piping (PEI), the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts for 23 years (NS), Schoodic Festival of the Arts (Maine, USA) and the Michigan Dance & Theatre Company (USA).

 Kelly has won the Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canadian Highland Dance Championship titles repeatedly, as well as over 20 Runner-Up titles all over Canada. She has won outstanding student awards at her former dance school and the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts. Kelly was awarded, by the Governor of Maine, with an ‘Ambassador of Tourism & Culture’ Award for her work within the school systems from 1997-2004. She won the prestigious ‘Nova Scotia Woman in Business’ Award in the Arts & Culture field in 2006, and was nominated for 3 other Woman In Business awards locally and within the Province, in the Arts & Culture sector, over the past 10 years. Kelly has successfully competed and performed all over Canada, the United States and Europe, and continues to perform, both as professional soloist and with her Dance Company, at events all over the Canada. This past July, her choreography titled ‘Dileas’ won the Canadian Choreography Challenge at the Canadian Highland Dance Championships in PEI, against some of Canada’s best groups.

Kelly’s Highland Dancers have won championship titles all over Canada & Scotland, including medals, trophies and runner-up titles at many Canadian Championships, Commonwealth Championships (Stirling, Scotland) and the Scottish Championships (Cowal, Scotland) . She is also an award winning choreographer in Highland, Step, Hip Hop, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern and Contemporary. Her choreography has won top awards all over Canada, with her soloists and group dancers winning scholarships and overall titles year round. Kelly’s dancers perform over 60 shows per year, both locally within their community, and all over the Maritimes, and have been fortunate to have danced with many outstanding musicians/tours, including: The Barra MacNeils Christmas Tour, Cape Breton Summertime Review: The Next Generation, Kitchenfest, Celtic Colours Internationals Festival, Girl’s Night Out, Nova Scotia Music Hall of Fame Showcase, Canada 150 Metis Homecoming Festival in Alberta, MaryJane Lamond & Wendy MacIsaac, Sprag Session, Coig, Rawlin’s Cross~ to name a few. In September of 2017, her dancers had a very cool television experience – they were featured dancing, as well as teaching contestants, to dance on ‘The Amazing Race Canada’, where Kelly was also invited to judge the contestants.


Kelly has her BA in Psychology and English from UCCB. She and her husband, award winning recording engineer ~ Michael Shepherd  (Lakewind Sound Studios) ~ reside in Sydney with their 13 year old daughter, Drea, and 7 year old son, Jera. Drea is competing and performing in Highland & Step Dance (as well as Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Modern and Hip Hop), singing Gaelic, and taking lessons in piano and fiddle. Drea has won 4 Premierships, as well as Runner-Up Titles in Championships all over the Maritimes, including at the Nova Scotia Highland Dance Provincial Championships. She has competed at the National Championships in British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba and PEI as a member of the Nova Scotia Highland Dance Team. She is following in her mother’s footsteps.

Kelly continues to promote the preservation of the culture of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, and Scotland ~ through instruction and performance of music, dance and history~ hoping to keep it alive and thriving for many more generations to come.