I have been researching various aspects of primarily Scottish and Cape Breton dance traditions since the mid-1980s.
The main areas of research in the 1980s centered on the dance traditions of the Highland and Islands areas of Scotland.
In the 1990s and early 2000s my research focused on percussive dance forms in Scotland, Ireland and particularly Cape Breton step dancing. In addition any dance genres featured in the areas I served as Traditional Dance Artist in Residence in Scotland – Shetland, Sutherland, Angus and Perthshire – which all became part of my study.
As part of the course work for my 2005 MA in Ethnochoreology I conducted an investigation into step dancing in Scotland – ‘Putting the Dirt Back In’. This study looked at the conditions and timeline of Cape Breton step dancers sharing their dance genre with students at courses held in Scotland from the early 1990s onwards. The investigation asked whether this was a revival or an introduction of percussive dance in Scotland.
I was awarded a PhD through the University of Limerick, Ireland, investigating aspects of Cape Breton step-dancing in 2012.