If you’ve lived in Barrington long enough, you probably know Mary Brennan. The Barrington mother of two (Megan and Patrick) opened Barrington Dance Academy in 1984 and five years later, founded the nonprofit Barrington Dance Ensemble (thanks to an “angel grant” from Kim Duchoissois). The company melds professional and pre-professional dancers for its productions and has provided children’s roles for hundreds of dancers over nearly 30 years. “With the goal of having a positive impact on Barrington’s cultural profile, Barrington Dance Ensemble has presented almost 200 full length productions, included a yearly Nutcracker weekend in early December,” says Brennan. Her daughter Megan is a District 200 teacher, her son Patrick “loves living in Montana,” and Mary is happily making a difference in the lives of young people here at home. Here are a few of her favorite lasts:
Last great live dance performance that you will not soon forget?
I was in the audience with many of my students for the Joffrey Ballet’s production of Giselle. It was a spellbinding evening for us all.
Last experience or encounter that made your proud of what you’re doing?
I spend most of my time directing the Barrington Dance Ensemble, however I teach classes two days a week. When the dancers run up after class and say, “Thank you, Ms. Mary,” I know I have made their day a little special.
Last meaningful book you read?
I work with so many strong and unique teenagers, so the book written by Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai entitled I am Malala was life affirming.
Last unexpected moment that ended up inspiring you?
I have been friends with six wonderful women for 32 years. We all became acquainted at the ballet school, and call our gang “the birthday club” (long story). Recently, we were all able to take a vacation as a group, and feeling the importance of our friendships inspired me.
Last holiday gift that you’ll savor for a lifetime?
My daughter gave me a beautiful picture of my granddaughters Emerson and Katherine for Christmas.