Harvey was raised in Port Hastings on the island of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He began step-dancing at age 14 and soon found himself dancing in the summer Scottish concert circuit in Cape Breton and various parts of the Maritimes. In recent years he has been a regular performer at the Celtic Colours International Festival in Cape Breton and KitchenFest! – an island-wide celebration of traditional music, song, and dance.
Besides being an accomplished dancer, Harvey has been in great demand as a step-dance instructor and has performed and taught in many parts of Canada, the US, and Europe. In the States, he led workshops in many places including Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the Moon School of Scottish Fiddling; Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, Washington; the National Folk Festival; and at the Washington Irish Festival.
Overseas, Harvey has danced in Ireland at the University College Cork and for Irish Television in Dublin. He was a step-dance tutor for many years at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Gaelic College in Skye and was a featured artist at the 2005 Fèis Rois in Ulapul. Harvey taught step-dancing and performed at Ceòlas for several years and is returning in 2019. Although he is primarily known as a step-dancer, Harvey Beaton can sometimes be found playing piano accompaniment for Cape Breton fiddlers.