Deane Marr and her mother Jaqueline Macdonald, founded Marr-Mac Dance and Theatre Arts Centre in September of 1968. Marr-Mac began as a dance school and daycare center, and was run by mother and daughter until Mrs. Macdonald passed away in 1976.
The business continued to run until the day care was closed in 1999. The dance school started primarily teaching ballet and jazz and has since expanded its program to include several disciplines of dance including a musical theatre program. In 1995 Mrs. Marr took on a business partner, Cathy McFarlane who had been teaching classical ballet and character for Marr-Mac for several years prior to becoming a partner in the business.
In 1997 the studio moved to its current location at 8627-109 street into the Windsor Plaza building in Old Strathcona. The friendly artistic community of Old Strathcona is a perfect location for the studio. Parents can stay in the comfort of the studio waiting area, enjoy a coffee in a nearby coffee shop or simply drop off and pick up after class.
Deane Marr retired in June 2015. She has left behind a legacy for the love of dance and the people it touches.
Her leadership at the studio has filtered through to the instructors and is demonstrated by the care and attention given to each dancer and their individual needs.
Marr-Mac has evolved into a studio which can offer both the recreational and competitive dancer equal quality training. Dancers can choose to pursue careers in their art or become instructors.
Many of the instructors at Marr-Mac grew up in the studio and appreciate the school’s philosophy.
It’s more than just the teaching of dance; it’s creating an atmosphere of welcoming and an acceptance of all students who have the privilege of learning the art.
Marie McFarlane has taken on the roles of Co-owner and Director. Marie has trained in all disciplines since the age of 2 and has become an accomplished teacher and choreographer in jazz, lyrical and contemporary. Her strengths balance her mom’s and business partner’s, Cathy McFarlane whose main focus is Russian Vaganova classical ballet training. Together they have devised a program which includes a multi-faceted training system. It offers today’s dancer the options required to become well rounded artists who can then go out into the dance world and confidently audition with a high technical and artistic skill level.
With the school’s growth and establishment of divisions, a new position; Assistant Director, was given to Christina Breault who also grew up from a young dancer at Marr-Mac. She is now administrating and instructing the Junior Vaganova Ballet program and the daytime preschool ‘Marr-Mac Minis’ program. Christina has two young children and a wonderful imaginative & creative personality for working with children.
The instructors at Marr-Mac practice the studio’s philosophy authored by Deane Marr;
“to instil the love of dance and music and to provide a supportive atmosphere which will encourage students of all abilities”.