Company

CELEBRATING OVER 40 YEARS!

McDonald- Wilson Dance Academy has been a leader in dance education for the past four decades. Our reputation for inspiring young people to be the best dancers and people they can be is one of the primary reasons for our success. When we say “the best dancers and people they can be”, we speak in inclusively of every student – whether at the recreational or intensive level.

We at the McDonald-Wilson Dance Academy strive to develop a creative, stimulating and encouraging environment.  We attempt to develop strong technical skills hand-in-hand with the joy of artistic expression.”

The McDonald Wilson Dance Academy goal is to strengthen each student’s belief in themselves so that they can aspire to become better dancers and better people. The Academy’s emphasis is on the student and their betterment utilizing the technique and discipline attained through the art and appreciation of dance and music. We emphasize ‘non-competition’ in our curriculum which focuses on the individual value of each and every student, which we hope in turn contributes to the ultimate success of the student and person.

We believe a teacher’s influence on the future of a student extends far beyond what goes on in the classroom. Our teaching philosophy is centered on instilling a passion for dance while building self-esteem and confidence in every child.

Philosophy

McDonald Wilson Dance Academy prides itself with offering a “non-competitive” environment. Our strength of purpose is not in competing with one another but with competing with oneself. Our philosophy allows each student to ask the question “What will improve my technique,my artistic skill, my performance and most important my attitude?”.

McDonald Wilson Dance Academy strengthens each student’s belief in themselves; that they can aspire to becoming greater dancers and greater people. This is demonstrated and platformed through traditional dance examinations and performing. McDonald Wilson Dance Academy instructors lead the students not only to learn dance steps to build a repertoire, but encourage them to execute steps correctly, to achieve, embrace and appreciate the art of dance.

McDonald Wilson Dance Academy’s emphasis is on the student and their ability to become greater individuals by utilizing the technique and discipline attained through the art and appreciation of dance. Emphasizing “non-competitive” therefore highlights the individual value of each and every student, not just a chosen few, which then contributes to the ultimate success as a whole.

Mission Statement

McDonald-Wilson Dance Academy’s goal is to strengthen each student’s belief in themselves so that they can aspire to become better dancers and better people. The Academy’s emphasis is on the student and their betterment utilizing the technique and discipline attained through the art and appreciation of dance and music. We emphasize ‘non-competitive’ in our curriculum which focuses on the individual value of each and every student, which in turn contributes to the ultimate success of the student and person.

Our Program

The McDonald Wilson Dance Academy honours the philosophy of the Academy.
As a medium to reach such an objective we subscribe to the following curriculum:
• Ballet: Royal Academy of Dance
• Jazz: various styles
• Tap: various styles
• Modern: Hanya Holm, Eric Hawkins, Jose Limon, and Martha Graham Techniques
• dit.co: Dancer’s In Training Company
• Year End Recital*
Our dance program runs from mid-September through mid-June with breaks at Christmas and Easter.
*Every second year (even years) the Academy presents a grand “Year End Recital” in a professional theatre environment.

Program Goals

Our Program Goals are for the student to develop self-discipline, physical well-being and performance quality. McDonald Wilson Dance Academy encourages dancing from the inside-out and most importantly the passionate fulfillment of dance and music.
All students require our approval before attending any other dance school, workshops and external performing groups. The safety of our students is paramount to their dance training with McDonald Wilson Dance Academy.

Our Staff

Our highly qualified dance educators live the philosophy of the McDonald Wilson Dance Academy. Our Pianists pride themselves in providing inspiration and the appreciation of the blending of music and dance to become one. Please visit our Faculty section for more information.

Our History

McDonald-Wilson Dance Academy (MWDA) has continually served the dance community in Calgary for over 40 years. It has been active in its original northwest location in the Brentwood community, since its inception in the early 1970’s. MWDA was established in 1971 by Shannon Bachynski (Wilson) A.R.A.D. R.T.S. and at the time, it was Shannon’s objective to share her passion and love of dance with her students.

After several years of running a very successful “competitive” studio, Shannon had a vision to create a “non-competitive” environment. This metamorphosis occurred through a couple of significant events that had her questioning the philosophy of dance competitions versus the “art of dance”. Though a tough business decision to make in a saturated dance studio market that stressed competition, Shannon took a leap of faith and took the Academy and its students to a level of dance that embraced the art. In the early 1980’s, the Academy left behind the world of competitive dance and introduced a philosophy that emphasized the student and their ability to develop as an artist and individual. By accentuating a “non-competitive” philosophy within the Academy, it allowed for more focus on the individual value of each and every student, not just a chosen few. This contributed to the radical change of values and the ultimate success of the Academy as a whole.

In 2008, Shana Eriksen (Bachynski), A.R.A.D. R.T.S purchased the Academy from her mother, Shannon. Shana had lived the evolution that the studio had gone through to become “non-competitive” and applied the same philosophy and principles into her own dancing and practice. Shana has continued to uphold, develop and maintain the Academy’s high standards within the arts community and with the same set of values, philosophy and desire to develop the best dancers and individuals with creativity and respect.

McDonald-Wilson Dance Academy has firmly established itself as a studio that is a first rate training institute that produces and fosters world class incredible dancers and people. The Academy has trained generations of dancers who garner praise, respect and awareness in the local and international dance communities.

Our Facilities

McDonald-Wilson Dance Academy studios are located in the beautiful neighbourhood of Brentwood. Our Studios A & B are at 5107-33rd Street NW and Studio C is located at Northmount Drive and 35th Street N.W. (Brentwood Sportsplex – upstairs). The studios are located close to Sir Winston Churchill High School and the Northland Shoppes. All of our studios have sprung flooring along with state of the art flooring. MWDA studios are Approved Examination Centres (AECs) by the Royal Academy of Dance.


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Our Logo

Our proud, distinctive and classic trademark logo has represented the Academy since its inception and the stylized dancer represents energy, artistry and replenishment that emerge from a strong technical and graceful foundation. She has been a symbol of McDonald-Wilson Dance Academy and all that we stand for. Over the years, we have made subtle but meaningful updates to our logo that embrace both McDonald-Wilson Dance Academy heritage and our future. Our brand new expressions reflect our evolving freedom and flexibility to serve and connect with our dancers and their families in meaningful ways while continuing to represent the integrity, quality and consistency of the McDonald-Wilson Dance Academy experience. As we move forward to our next chapter, we pay homage to our roots in ways that are true to our core values and that also ensure we remain relevant and poised for future growth.

Awards

Thank you to all of our families for your support, encouragement and confidence in our dance program over the years! We are speechless and awestruck by your generosity and look forward to continuing to have McDonald-Wilson Dance Academy the best dance education that your child and family can have.
We would like to recognize all of our dedicated and passionate staff members. Each one of them have been hand-picked for their invaluable and optimal skills, love of sharing dance with children and passion for movement.
We feel blessed to have such a wonderful team, incredible students, caring families and to be a part of the beautiful community of Brentwood…

McDonald-Wilson Dance Academy has been awarded winner for best dance studio in Calgary Herald’s 2015-2016 “Readers’ Choice Awards”!

2015-16 Readers' Choice Winner

McDonald-Wilson Dance Academy has been awarded twice in Calgary’s “Best of the Best” Parents’ Choice Awards presented by Calgary’s Child Magazine!  We were awarded as the winner in “Best Programs for School Aged Children” and an honorable mention for “Best Teen Program”.

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