JUDY MACLEAN BIOGRAPHY
Judy MacLean is a household
name on PEI. The Judy MacLean Private School of Dance (2009) is a
Her Best Foot Forward - Review June 15, 2012
Her reputation as a premier dancer is known all across the Island as well as on the national dance scene. Her dance experience is vast, she excelled in art of Highland dancing when she first began dance lessons and won a Maritime Championship over 30 other dancers from eastern Canada. She was taught by her aunt Ruth Ross who was also a well known champion dancer. In later years MacLean branched out in her training and took lessons in several other dance styles including:
Stepdancing, tap dancing, choreography, along with some training in latin dancing.
Because of the cultural connection that step dancing offered, Judy decided to put more emphasis on stepdancing and eventually became tops in her age category at several local and maritime competitions. She attained championship level at PEI Dance Festivals, Summerside Lobster Carnival Step dancing Championships, Tyne Valley Official PEI Step dancing Championships and Maritime Championship Trophy presented by Ryans’ Fancy, a well known Irish group who saw a need for such a competition, and was held in Montague, PEI. MacLean was also a popular judge for many dance competitions ie: College of Piping, Youth Talent Finals across the Island, Dundas step dancing contest (where she offered a trophy each year even after she was not acting as judge); Crapaud Exhibition, PEI Talent contests. Her expertise was not limited to the art of dance, her ability to recognize potential has helped many young up and coming entertainers to move ahead in their careers. She was on board for the Moosehead Karaoke Finals where Nikie was chosen to represent PEI at Moncton finals, she placed 5th. In a competition that boasted over 60 entries.
Judy has volunteered at the Charlottetown Boys and Girls Club for over 15 years, and spent 2years with Stella Maris Boys and Girls Club in Rustico. She established The Judy MacLean Private School of Dance in 1999 at PEI Flying Assoc. facility and has been teaching professionally ever since. In 2007, Judy had the distinct pleasure to meet and talk to Sir Paul McCartney, he was visiting PEI on the Seal Hunt controversy; he visited the dance area and spoke to all her students, and willingly shook hands and introduced himself and signed autographs. What a thrill!
MacLean is a go-getter. Her working career included telephone operator at Island Tel., and Maritime Tel. She loved the beauty industry and after a short stint in makeup application, etc., she became a Beauty Advisor at Holman’s Dept. store and later Eaton’s where she was given several commendations for her abilities and sales. MacLean became an Aesthetician after an intense training course at Jon Raymond Inst. , Moncton, NB. She worked several years in that industry and during her after hours time she taught dancing as a volunteer to many Island children. Her volunteerism is well known, as all her life she gave freely of her time to help others, whether it be concerts where she shared her talents, or other charities where she became involved in other capacities, ie: organizer for benefit shows. Some of the organizations she helped greatly were: Christmas Daddies on and off PEI for over 25 years; Anderson House Benefit Concert where she has danced herself and brought her students on board for 16 years; she also is a featured guest dancer at RolloBay Fiddle Festival for over 20 years, and later has brought her dancers along with her and has chalked up more than 30 years as a participant. MacLean has taught step dance lessons to children in such communities as Rustico, Souris, Montague and the city of Summerside and recently in Morell. She has a great capacity to get along well with children and has the unique ability to be able to bring her students along quickly and to encourage them to become stage performers. Many of her students are champion dancers and are performing at local and off Island events such as: Miramichi, NB Folksong Festival for the past 10 years, Mabou, Cape Breton Stepdance Festival, and Moncton Christmas Daddies Telethon. Speaking of Telethons, MacLean was a regular performer with CBC Easter Seals Telethon for many years, as well as QEH Telethon for past 10 years.
Judy is an associate member of CDTA (Canadian Dance Teachers Association). She co-hosted several local cable 10 television shows, and has been a special guest on CFCY Hoedown radio program where she has promoted local talent. MacLean has performed “center field” with her dancers at the CDP for years during Old Home Week Festivities and has entered The Gold Cup and Saucer Parade for the past 4years. Her float has been given three awards : 2006 and 2007 Spirit of Youth Award, and 2008 Founders Award. She plans to enter this year’s parade again with her very popular entry including The Judy MacLean Dancers! In 2007 Judy MacLean was honored with several others at Fanningbank with Volunteer Award presented by former Premier Pat Binns; in April, 2009 Judy MacLean was honored again with Premier’s Award for Volunteerism in the Arts which was presented by Hon. Robert W. J. Ghiz-this is the Inaugural PEI Council of the Arts Awards, and was held at Fanningbank. Hon. Barbara Hagerman, Lt. Governor of PEI hosted the event. MacLean was thrilled to receive this special tribute as it will now be entered in the history books!
Judy spent one year as an in
-school mentor with Big Brothers, Big Sisters Organization in 2007.
In 2008 MacLean created a new series of show/ceilidhs named
Sunday Night Shenanigans
which with much hard work and
determination she made a successful event-she had to make a change
of venue due to space requirements, the show simply grew to require
a bigger spot. It is now located at York Community Centre,( route
25)- turn at Jewell's
Country Market. Judy MacLean continues to volunteer her time at many local events, and is working on a new project to be announced at a later date, stay tuned, eh!!!