The Dances of the Celts 

IMPORTANT: CeltFest Irish Dance Camp is an OPEN WORKSHOP, as declared by An Coimisiún le Rincí  Gaelacha in Ireland in January, 2012. This workshop, exempt from Association Rules,  is open to dancers of all schools and regardless of any affilations in place.     Read more

Highland Dance is open to students from all dance studios.

Step Dance and Ceilidh dance require no previous experience, and are not  taught as competitive dance forms



Click on each dance style for its specific programme:

"I've attended CeltFest several times and have been constantly blown away by the amazing instruction"- Owen Barrington, Adult Men's World Irish Dancing Champion, and former CeltFest student, AK, USA

General Dance Overview: Since it began in 2001, the dance program has offered unique learning and dance opportunities for students.  Every year, some of the best instructors in the world -- who often happen to have been some of the finest performers/champions in their art form -- have taught at the school and performed at CeltFest.  Our program is set within an internationally acclaimed festival of Celtic arts -- CeltFest.

In state-of-the-art facilities at the Canadian College of Performing Arts, in the beautiful seaside village of Oak Bay, Victoria, BC, our school provides an unparalleled learning experience for the student in a relaxed ocean view setting. Classes are on proper sprung floors and regulation competition dance platforms, in places appropriate for both soft and hard shoes.  We ensure that the dance program is a comprehensive and safe experience, developing the dancer to all he or she can be, incorporating, among other items:

  • Warm ups and cool downs
  • Specialized topics such as presentation, costumes and makeup for performance, maintaining focus and minimizing nervousness in performance or competition
  • Topical panel discussions/speakers on of bettering our dance forms, having a career in dance
  • Cross-training into other Celtic dance forms and the social dances
  • Other elective subjects outside of dance time such as Celtic Knotwork Art, Penny Whistle, Bodhran, Guitar or Song

Add to this great accommodations nearby at UVIC and opportunities for families to join in the festivities, classes, or to simply enjoy vacationing on the Island, and the possibilities for a meaningful and memorable experience are even greater.

CeltFest is an exciting, unique experience for dancers---particularly because we have various types of Celtic dance at the same school.  Students and instructors alike constantly comment year over year how all learn from one another.  It is also wonderful to be surrounded by accomplished Celtic musicians who enjoy playing for dance performances! 

Aside from instruction in a specific area of dance, dancers and their families (including anyone one else who think they can't dance) can enjoy the social dances of Scotland, Ireland and other Celtic realms as a part of Ceili-Ceilidh Dance, held every afternoon. 

There are music and dance performances at the nightly ceilidhs each evening.  In these authentic ceilidhs, anyone and everyone from the summer school, their families and friends are welcome to socialise, dance and perform. It is a wonderful opportunity for dancers, on their own, or in small groups, to dance for an appreciative audience. One night features a Wacky Jig & Hornpipe Contest, open to all dancers, musicians and other students.  The only requirement is that the performance must be a jig and/or hornpipe.  Creative costuming, zany antics and overactive imaginations are highly encouraged!

Each ceilidh night, there is a stage, an MC, sound system and real musicians sound  to make everyone's performance the best it can be. It is also an opportunity to not only enjoy the performances of other dancers and musicians, but to observe how they perform. There is so much all can learn from other performers, whether they are amateurs or pros--about what is involved in performing and entertaining others well. To have the opportunity to develop and practise these skills in a genuine performance situation is unique to our programme.


Highland Dance

Irish Dance

Traditional Stepdance- Ottawa Valley, Cape Breton, Scottish, Irish

What to Bring

Highland Dancers


  • Highland shoes and Jig shoes. (beginner dancers may bring ballet shoes or any soft, form-fitting, flexible slippers)
  • Leotard or t-shirt and booty shorts or skort | Light-coloured tights or socks for classwork  
  • Cover-ups  
  • Practise skirt--a black skirt is handy for any spontaneous group numbers 
  • Performance costumes if you would like to perform at the ceilidhs.
  • Highland Dress is Optional 


  • Highland shoes and Jig shoes. (beginner dancers may bring ballet shoes or any soft, form-fitting, flexible slippers)
  • Shorts/Sweats & T-shirts 

Irish Dancers


  • Black leotards, tights and skirt 
  • Performance Costumes/ Wacky Jig & Hornpipe get-up if you would like to perform
  • Irish Costumes are Optional 


  • Black pants  
  • White shirt  
  • Shorts  
  • T-shirts 
  • Performance Costumes/ Wacky Jig & Hornpipe get-up if you would like to perform
  • Irish Costumes are Optional

General Items For Everyone

  • Pens 
  • Pencils 
  • Notebook  
  • Binder or folder for handouts  
  • Recording devices for musicians (optional)  
  • Water bottle  
  • Wacky costume for those participants in the Jig and Hornpipe Contest  
  • Shorts  
  • Long Pants  
  • Raingear  
  • Sweater for evening
  • Outdoor Sportswear & Sunscreen 
  • Bathing suit 
  • Beach towel 
  • Sunscreen & Bug repellent  
  • Highland Dress/Irish Costumes are Optional  
  • Your best attitude for a fun-filled week of learning! 

Class Schedule/Location

The class schedule and location will be finalized once registration closes on June 25. We will post it here as soon as it is available.

Register Now!











Did you know that we offer dance and pipe instruction all year on Vancouver Island? click here