Step Dance


This wonderful dance form largely owes its existence to survival in North America, Cape Breton, the Ottawa Valley in Canada-- in particular.  It is a percussive dance form, with the feet creating rhythms while performing visually exciting movements.  In Canada, we often hear it referred to as Cape Breton step dance, although the Irish and Scottish people settled in other parts of North America, too, and evolved step dance variations that we think of as being regional -- Ottawa Valley style, for example.  American Appalachian clog dancing sprang from the same roots. Curiously, step dance did not continue in other areas of the world inhabited by the Celtic descendants.

Just as the Gaelic language spoken by Scots differs from that spoken in Ireland, so too do their step dance forms differ and to a similar degree, yet it is quite apparent they are children of a common mother.  The dance forms fit the music and the music parallels the spoken language.  Historically, the pipe, the fiddle and the voice were the main instruments for step dance.

On television, we are often treated to some fine step dancing when we enjoy performances by such great Celtic musicians as the Barra MacNeills, The Rankin Family and Natalie MacMaster, to name a few. Jon and Nathan Pilazki, along with Stephanie Cadman, have put Ottawa Valley Step dance on a world stage. It's fun to watch and enjoyable to do... and it's an amazing workout!  If you haven't yet done so, try it out.  You and your feet will be captured by its spell!

Ottawa Valley | Canadian Step Dance | Cape Breton Step Dance : For beginners through to advanced dancers. This workshop will focus on learning the basic steps in the relative styles of step dancing. Dancers will learn strathspey, reel and jig,  steps are and concentrate on the timings for each.

Offered as a weekend program (one of's), also as a week program (both Major and Electives) or in the evenings :M, T, W.

Traditional Irish & Scottish (Cape Breton) Step Dance may be incorporated in the for Intermediate and Advanced dancers. Very basic techniques in Irish step and set dancing may be introduced. For intermediates, particular attention will be paid to new heavy reel and jig steps and how to create your own steps and patterns for when you dance to real live music!