Thursday, April 2, 2015

Congratulations Mrs. Flynn!

Congratulations Mrs. Flynn for being inducted into the Wetaskiwin Sports Hall of of Fame! 

I was pleased, along with family, friends, and staff to attend the wonderful ceremony where Mrs. Flynn was honoured. 

As quoted from the organizations' website ( 

INDUCTEE 2015 - BUILDER - Margaret Perry Flynn


Dance (Ballet)
Founder Wetaskiwin School of Ballet
Founder of 4 other Schools of Ballet in Alberta
Founder of Professional Alberta Dance Educators
Teacher Trainer, Adjudicator, Choreographer
Lifetime Member of many prestigious Dance Societies
Margaret Perry grew up in Wetaskiwin and started dancing when she was four years old.  By the time she was eleven, she had founded the Wetaskiwin School of Ballet and was teaching dance to other Wetaskiwin youngsters.  Margaret completed her early training in ballet and modern dance in Edmonton.  She danced professionally in many musicals and light operas.  Further advanced teacher training at the National Ballet School of Canada allowed her to complete her International Cecchetti qualifications and she holds her Cecchetti Licentiate from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance.  Through the years Margaret’s passion for dance propelled her to pass her love for dance on to others.  She founded dance schools in Edmonton and other Alberta centres, developed training programs and syllabi for dance teachers, was a founding member of Alberta Dance Educators, has served on numerous boards, has lifetime memberships in many Dance Societies and has received awards for her contributions.  Many of her graduates have gone on to careers as professional dancers and teachers. Her expertise and influence have extended throughout Canada and around the world.
Passion Leads to First  Dance School at Age Eleven and Schools Being Founded Around the Globe
The Wetaskiwin School of Ballet was established by Margaret in 1954.  Margaret taught in Wetaskiwin until 1967 when she moved to Edmonton and founded the Edmonton School of Ballet.  During the 1960’s she also founded dance schools in Beaumont, Fort Saskatchewan and Camrose.  While teaching in Wetaskiwin Margaret established a series of syllabi for recreational ballet students ages four to twelve.  More recently these were expanded for ages thirteen to eighteen. These publications are used throughout Canada, England, Japan and Mexico.  In 1984 Margaret founded the Edmonton Festival Ballet Company.
Teachers that Margaret has trained have founded schools in Red Deer, Fort MacMurray, St Albert, Vermillion, Coronation, Rocky Mountain House, Vegreville, Meadow Lake Saskatchewan as well as schools in BC, Ontario, Japan, Mexico, New York and other American cities. In 1995 Margaret established a professional dance training program for Edmonton Public Schools, the Vimy Ridge Academy Professional Dance Program.  Students in grades 7-12 are accepted into this program by audition.
Graduates Become Professional Dancers and Teachers Around the World
Graduates of Margaret’s dance schools have become professional dancers for Canadian companies that include: Alberta Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Ballet Jorgen, Pacific Ballet, Ballet BC, Toronto Dance Theatre, Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers, Les Grande Ballet Canadien, Decidedly Jazz as well as  International Companies including:  Ohio Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Austin, Garden State Ballet, Hubbard Dance, Royal Ballet to name a few.  Also her trained dancers have been in numerous musicals and productions companies such as “Lion King”, “Bette Middler Show” and on cruise ships.  Two of the girls she coached when she was in Wetaskiwin became professional dancers, one with the Toronto Dance Theatre and the other with Les Feux Follet.
Margaret was a founding member and council member for the Alberta Dance Educators.  She was also a board member of the Alberta Dance Alliance.  As well, she was elected and served on the National Council of the Cecchetti Society of Canada for three terms. Margaret has been an adjudicator at dance festivals throughout western Canada including the Provincial festival in British Columbia.  She has also been a choreographer in numerous operatic ballets, full length story ballets and television productions including “Synergy” for the Alberta Government for the Alberta Pavilion at Expo ’87 in Vancouver.  Additionally, Margaret was the field coordinator and trainer for dancers in the opening of Universiade ’83 in Edmonton.
Dedication, Achievements and Generosity
Lead to Numerous Awards
In recognition of her dedication to the arts and community service, Margaret has received numerous awards.   In 1983 she received a City of Edmonton Cultural Achievement Award.  In 1987 she was awarded the YWCA Tribute to Women Arts and Culture Award.  For her service Margaret has been given Lifetime Memberships in  the Alberta Dance Educators, the Cecchetti Society of Canada and the Imperial Society of Dancing, Cecchetti Branch in London England.
Margaret has dedicated her life to dance and continues to be the owner and Artistic Director of the Edmonton School of Ballet.  Her contributions to the world of dance in Wetaskiwin, in Alberta, in Canada and around the world have benefitted thousands. We applaud Margaret’s contributions, her achievements, her dedication, her generosity in giving to others and her passion for dance.  We are proud to induct her into the Wetaskiwin and County Sports Hall of Fame.

The opening remarks included: 

Introductory Speech by Sandy Wright
Tonight it is my honour and pleasure to introduce you to Margaret Perry Flynn who is being inducted as a Builder for her life-long involvement in the “World of Dance” and her influence on dance programs in Wetaskiwin, in Alberta, in Canada and around the world.

There aren’t many people who can say that their passion as a pre-schooler became their “life work”.  This is definitely the case with Margaret.  She began taking dance lessons in Wetaskiwin when she was four years old.  When the teacher moved, Margaret then traveled to Edmonton for lessons.  Margaret’s dream was always to become a dance teacher.  Consequently, after a few years of taking lessons and with the approval of her dance teacher, Margaret started assisting her teacher, learned the teaching methods and procedures and began teaching younger dance students.  At that time there was no dance program in Wetaskiwin but many mothers and young girls showed an interest.   At the age of eleven, with her family’s help and her Edmonton dance teacher’s guidance, Margaret started teaching other girls from Wetaskiwin in her home, following the same lessons that she had taught in Edmonton - the Wetaskiwin School of Ballet was born.  Margaret’s father built her a studio in the basement of their home. While Margaret was conducting the lessons in her basement her mother was having coffee with her students’ mothers upstairs.  After a couple of years teaching in her home Margaret moved her classes to the Recreation Hall.  Margaret’s reputation grew as did interest in her programs resulting in students coming from other centres to take lessons.  With added students, another studio move was to the old AGT Office on Main Street.

When Margaret was of high school age she attended boarding school in Edmonton.  During her three years of boarding school she continued to teach dance in Wetaskiwin, started teaching dance lessons in Edmonton, developed a program in Camrose and continued her own dance training.  After high school she also added dance schools in Beaumont and Fort Saskatchewan to her teaching circuit. Wow, what a busy life for a teenager.

During the 1960’s Margaret also ran summer school dance camps in Wetaskiwin and students came from all over central Alberta and Edmonton to take part.  When the students came to Wetaskiwin from out of town they stayed overnight at the Driard Hotel.  Margaret would also book a room in the Driard in order to supervise the students and then she would walk them back and forth to the studio.  According to an article in the Wetaskiwin Times,  in 1967 there were 40 students that took part in the dance camp and 22 were from out-of-town.  All students took part in several classes each day and besides hard work, they enjoyed extra-curricular activities such as movies and barbecues.

Through the years Margaret continued to train and acquire teaching certification all the while gaining confidence and experience.  The last year Margaret was in charge of the Wetaskiwin School of Ballet she was teaching 80 students; several of the girls she taught had become professional dancers, several girls had become qualified teachers and others had been accepted to National Dance schools.  Also, when the Bolshoi Ballet was touring Alberta, four of Margaret’s students were chosen to dance with the company.  In her early twenties Margaret was already having a profound impact on dance in northern Alberta.

When Margaret founded the Edmonton School of Ballet in 1967 she turned over the Wetaskiwin School of Ballet to one of her students.  The same thing occurred with the schools she developed in Camrose, Fort Saskatchewan and Beaumont, Margaret would direct the program and teach for a few years, then turn over the program to a student.  Collaboration and sharing have always been a part of Margaret’s teaching philosophy. 

As a teacher Margaret is strict but has kind demeanour, she sets high standards, has high expectations and is always able to get a lot out of her students.  Margaret is well respected by her students,  by other teachers and generally by the dance community.  Even at the age of eleven students called her Miss Perry.  Margaret is also very humble and unselfish, she is always ready to give others recognition.  

Dance programs and schools in Wetaskiwin have changed since the 1954 establishment of the Wetaskiwin School of Ballet but the roots that Margaret planted are still evident and influential in our community.

Margaret, for sixty-one years you have dedicated yourself to following your dream and passing your passion for dance on to others.  The number of young people you have affected by your teaching is immeasurable. You are indeed one of the pioneers of dance in Alberta and more than worthy of this recognition.   Congratulations on your induction into the Wetaskiwin and County Sports Hall of Fame!

To watch Mrs. Flynn's response please check out this link on Vimeo!

Congratulations again Mrs. Flynn!  You are truly an inspiration to all of us!

Thank you!!!

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