Our goal is to share our love of all things highland through this online platform. Living remotely we don't often get the chance to share our passion through participation in person. We hope to offer what we can online and continue to forge friendships and professional relationships over borders.
Fiona McDonald Connell
Fiona was born in Nova Scotia and raised in Alberta. As an adult she also lived in the Oxford, England, but now lives in Bermuda. Her love for all things Scottish was instilled in her by her parents who emigrated from Scotland to Canada in 1968. Fiona began dancing at the age of 3, first with tap and ballet, followed swiftly by Highland when a teacher moved to her small town. Since then, she has competed and performed all over the world – in Canada, Japan, Scotland, the USA, and Bermuda. Fiona qualified as an Associate at 18 and as a Member at 24 and belongs to the SDTA and BATD. Fiona is also a RSOBHD adjudicator. Over the years, Fiona has had the privilege of teaching alongside several professionals, including the multi-award-winning choreographer Dawn Moss of Celtic Ceilidh Dance Academy in Edmonton, Canada. At 15, Fiona started ballet training more seriously at the Edmonton School of Ballet where she was accepted for the Professional Programme and gained a teaching certificate for Cecchetti Ballet in Junior Grades. Combining the grace and fluidity of ballet with the strength and power of Highland is a particular interest that Fiona uses in her teaching and choreography. Recent teacher highpoints include being able to coach 2 adult champion dancers in Bermuda, despite the remoteness of the beautiful island. Other highlights have been winning several awards for choreography, including those recently received at the Margaret Reid Memorial workshop and the International Gathering of Scottish Highland Dance in Florida. Miss Fiona’s dance highlights in Bermuda include performing with the Red Hot Chilli Pipers during their visit to the island. This experience included having one of her students meet and fall in love with a Chilli Piper! Fiona is currently completing her professional designation as a Certified Personal Trainer. Fiona creates the StrathsBarre Workouts for Celtic Coaching and offers both studio workshops and personal plans for StrathsBarre.
Aquila Aguirre da Silva
Aquila is originally from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and has been dancing since the age of 3. She was formerly a Nova Scotia Champion and traveled across Canada to compete in the Scotdance Canada Championship Series several times. In 2013 she placed 8th overall in the Canadian Closed Championship.
At 18 she moved to Boston to pursue a degree in Contemporary Dance Performance at the Boston Conservatory. While in university, she competed for the Eastern region of the United States and qualified for the United States Interregional Championship where she placed 2nd runner up in the premiership. She graduated with her BFA in 2018 and moved to Bermuda for a year to teach at Jacksons School of Performing Arts. While in Bermuda, she met her current teacher Fiona McDonald Connell who mentored her and helped her obtain her associates for both highland and national and her Members for highland under the SDTA. Although she loves to compete, the main focus of her dance career has always been performance and she has had the privilege of performing internationally at 18 Tattoos including the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, the Quebec Tattoo, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the Basel Tattoo and the Spasskaya Tower Music Festival.
Aquila now lives in Porto Alegre, Brazil where she teaches online and takes part in performances with Highland Dance Brasil. Aquila is responsible for the Stamina Building portion of Celtic Coaching. She offers studio workshops and personalized plans for Stamina Building and if you want to take advantage of some Coaching at Home, be sure to check out her Quick Core Burns and Stretching videos on the Celtic Coaching YouTube page.