Dance teacher in­ducted into CHOF

The Glengarry News - - News -

The Glen­garry Celtic Mu­sic Hall of Fame holds its in­duc­tion cer­e­mony Fri­day, May 25, at the Bon­nie Glen Pavil­ion in Alexandria. Dance teacher Ellen Cameron Maloney, fid­dler Gerry O’Neill, the late pro­moter Dun­can Alexan­der Mac­donell and the late Gaelic singer Dun­can Don­ald MacSweyn will be hon­oured this year. This is the first of a series of in­ductee bi­ogra­phies sub­mit­ted by the Hall of Fame.

Ellen Cameron Maloney

Ellen Cameron be­came in­ter­ested in High­land danc­ing when she was very young. Her first teacher, Mary Saun­ders, im­me­di­ately saw her po­ten­tial. Once she had mas­tered the ba­sics, Ellen be­gan com­pet­ing in lo­cal com­pe­ti­tions where she won nu­mer­ous lo­cal awards.

At the age of nine, she wanted to com­pete on the pro­vin­cial and na­tional lev­els. In or­der to de­velop the nec­es­sary skills, she be­gan monthly trav­els to Toronto in or­der to learn from the pros. It soon paid off and Ellen be­gan to make her danc­ing abil­i­ties known well be­yond the Stor­mont- Dundas-Glen­garry bor­ders. She com­peted un­til the age of 16, win­ning On­tario, Cana­dian and Bri­tish Over­seas cham­pi­onships among many other ti­tles.

When Ellen grad­u­ated from high school, she de­cided that she would like to pur­sue her pas­sion for dance teach­ing, a ca­reer be­gun at the age of 13 un­der the su­per­vi­sion of her then teacher, Gla­dys For­rester. Her first school of danc­ing was es­tab­lished in Corn­wall at the start, but soon moved to St. An­drews where her stu­dio is still lo­cated.

Ellen has taught hun­dreds of chil­dren through­out 46 years of teach­ing. Her stu­dents span two gen­er­a­tions from near and far; they have learned the Fling, the Sword, the Sean Truib­has, the Reel, the na­tion­als, and many more.

Not your av­er­age teacher

Whether you are a be­gin­ner, a novice or premier, Ellen gives the same at­ten­tion, the same en­cour­age­ment. Should one not have suf­fi­cient funds to pay for lessons, she will forego the pay­ment un­til later or, in some cases, forego it com­pletely. Should a stu­dent be un­able to af­ford the brand new out­fits nec­es­sary for com­pe­ti­tion, she will look far and wide for sec­ond hand cos­tumes. She’s also been known to ar­range for trans­porta­tion to prac­tices and com­pe­ti­tions.

Ellen is also known for pro­vid­ing dance tal­ent for com­mu­nity fundraiser­s. She doesn’t just teach dance steps, she also teaches self­dis­ci­pline, de­ter­mi­na­tion, re­spect, ca­ma­raderie, and other char­ac­ter­is­tics nec­es­sary to suc­ceed in life. In turn, she re­ceives loy­alty, ded­i­ca­tion, and ad­mi­ra­tion from her stu­dents, many of whom still re­main in touch through Face­book long after the lessons have ended.

Through­out all th­ese years, Ellen has per­pet­u­ated the Celtic mu­sic tra­di­tion to all who have had the priv­i­lege of be­ing taught by her. She teaches dance steps but also teaches the ori­gin and his­tory be­hind them. Her dancers have be­come am­bas­sadors of the Celtic cul­ture in Maxville, Montreal, Toronto, the US or in Scot­land. They have spread the word that Celtic cul­ture in Glen­garry and sur­round­ing area is very much alive. Some of her stu­dents have even opened their own stu­dios – Kathy Cole­man Spink, Colleen Mur­ray St. Onge, Marielle L’Esper­ance to name but a few.

Ellen loved Celtic mu­sic so much, that in her spare time, she and her brother, Glen Cameron, formed a Celtic band named “The Tar­tans” which in­cluded Ron Bis­sonette as drum­mer and Bill Vipond as the lead singer. When the lat­ter passed away, Hughie Mac­Donell, who was in­ducted into the Hall of Fame last year, re­placed him. Their band would be fea­tured at such halls as the Green Val­ley Pavil­ion, The Bon­nie Glen Pavil­ion as well as in Rivière Beaudette.

Through­out all th­ese years, Ellen has pro­duced world cham­pi­ons five times, na­tional cham­pi­ons 17 times, pro­vin­cial cham­pi­ons in ex­cess of 30 times, as well as count­less lo­cal and re­gional cham­pi­ons. On three dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions, her peers rec­og­nized her as be­ing the best teacher in On­tario.

She has been in­vited to pro­vide work­shops or speak to pro­fes­sional danc­ing as­so­ci­a­tions in Canada, United States, Scot­land, Aus­tralia, and next year in South Africa.

After re­ceiv­ing all of th­ese ac­co­lades, Ellen has re­mained hum­ble, al­ways ready to share her tal­ents, her wis­dom and her gen­eros­ity.


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