Our History

For nearly 65 years, there has been a dance studio at 20945 mack avenue.

First it was Ruth Carney Dance Studio, which offered classes in ballet and tap.

At some point during the 1970s, the studio was taken over by Angela Kennedy. Mrs. Kennedy ran the studio for two decades, educating generations of dancers in tap, jazz, and ballet. Her former students remember her elegance, her beauty, her high expectations, her sense of humor, and her passion for dance education.

In 1977, a dancer named Mary Lou Parker came to the studio for an adult ballet class and never left…

Mary Lou Parker, middle row, second from right:

“In 1977 a friend asked me if I would take an adult ballet class with her in Grosse Pointe. Although I danced as a child, I never took ballet. I wasn’t thrilled to go, but had nothing better to do that night. Little did I know at the time, that my life was about to change forever. My friend lasted two classes. I never left. Angie was more than a teacher to me. She was my mentor. A second mother. Most importantly, my best friend for over forty years. She took me into her house and her family, and made me feel like I’d always belonged. Her daughters were sisters to me, and she became a grandmother to my children. She taught me everything I know, and I would not be who I am without her influence. My students would not be the dancers they are without her influence. She was tough, she was generous, she was smart, and in her eyes I could do not wrong (well except maybe procrastinating….which I’m still working on.) While the loss of her is painful, I know she’s still with me in everything I do. I will always be grateful for her guidance, her vision, her trust, and her love.”

First as Grosse Pointe Dance Center and now as Mack Avenue Dance Center, the studio has remained dedicated to traditional dance training while embracing modern styles.

In the early 1990s, Mary Lou established the Elite Dance Program and Mack Avenue Dance Company for pre-professional dancers.

Her students have gone on to dance at Julliard, Marymount Manhattan, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University. They have been accepted at prestigious programs from American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Met, Alvin Ailey, Kirov Academy of Ballet, Chicago Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, and Broadway Dance Center. They have danced professionally in companies like MarCat Dance and Pina Bausch.

Under the leadership of Mary lou parker, MADC was born.

The tradition continues

In 2024, Mary Lou Parker entrusted the future of MADC to Cori Callahan and Melissa King. They are excited about preserving the legacy of those who have come before them and welcoming the next generation of dancers to the studio!