Owner & Artistic Director
BFA Honours Dance, BEd Fine Arts Dance, RAD.RTS, Occational Teacher- UGDSB, RWID Certified Instructor, Special Education Level One, Acrobatic Arts Certified Instructor, Gymnastics Ont. Level One Certified Coach
Mrs. Finlayson-Marak began her pre-professional dance training career at the age of 5 under the influential guidance of Teresa Randall in Fergus, Ontario studying the Royal Academy of Dance and CDTA Syllabi. With over 30 years of Dance training and experience in her repertoire, Mrs. Finlayson-Marak has had the opportunity to study and be exposed to many different genres and styles of dance many of which include Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Modern, Lyrical, Ballroom, Hip Hop and most recently gymnastics and acrobatic dance.
With over 22 years of her dance career invested and dedicated to teaching, Mrs. Finlayson-Marak brings significant knowledge and understanding to her teaching practice. She is passionate about her work and believes in the importance and significance of professional qualifications as she feels that dealing with human bodies and young student’s, are both crucial and paramount responsibilities, which she takes very seriously.
After completing her Royal Academy of Dance training and examinations, Mrs. Finlayson-Marak was accepted into the prestigious Fine Arts Dance Program at York University in Toronto Ontario. There she successfully obtained and graduated with a BFA Honours Degree in Fine Arts in Dance, along with her BEd Degree in Fine Arts Dance as well as Special Education and Sign Language qualifications. Currently, Mrs. Finlayson-Marak continues to teach and works with students with specialized abilities, outside of studio time.
After graduating, Mrs. Finlayson-Marak decided to pursue her life-long dreams of teaching dance, and went on to obtain her Registered Teachers’ Status through the Royal Academy of Dance, Acrobatic Arts and Rhythm works Teaching certification programs. In recent years, her studio has also hosted some very prestigious and world renowned Artists such as Frank and Carolyn Augustyn . A dream come true and such an honour!
In addition to running an full time business, Mrs. Finlayson-Marak is also an Occasional Teacher for the Upper Grand District School Board and works with many of their staff and students to teach, educate and expose them to the amazing benefits that dance has to offer.
"It has been an amazing and humbling journey thus far. To begin my career in a small town only to return many years later to share and pass on my love of dance and the arts with my own students, is a dream come true". In 2006 Mrs. Finlayson-Marak became the Owner and Artistic Director of The Fergus-Elora Academy of Dance and continues to devote her time and energy to sharing her love of dance, with all of her students
Patricia McLeod (Guest Instructor)
Artistic Director at The Royal City School of Ballet
Mrs. McLeod received her dance training in London, England at the Bush Davies Theatre School. She has her Solo Seal from the Royal Academy of Dancing of which organization she is a Life Member. She has gained Associate status from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in Modern Theatre, Cecchetti ballet and Imperial ballet. Mrs. McLeod has choreographed and done workshops for GCVI, JF Ross, Bishop MacDonnell, Guelph Little Theatre, and the Guelph Spring Festival, as well as was a founding member of RCMPI for which she has both choreographed and directed productions. She is a former Board member of the Guelph Arts Council. She was honoured by the nomination to be on the Wall of Fame at the GYC for her work with young people in Guelph and other communities. Mrs McLeod has been a mentor and beneficial presence within the Fergus-Elora Academy of Dance for many years now. Miss Finlayson’s former Teacher and current mentor, she brings a truly inspirational element to our studios ballet program.
Christine has a B.A. (Dance) and is a graduate of the University of Waterloo's dance program. She has studied dance for over 25 years and continues her training by attending workshops such as the Eastern Canadian Tap Conference. For several years Christine was a dance instructor for the City of Kitchener teaching creative movement, ballet, jazz & tap to children and tap to adults.
Born in Toronto but raised in Cambridge ON, Leilani Bowry began her training in classical ballet with Michele Hopkins at Academy Ballet Classique at the age of 4. She began to study other styles such as lyrical, contemporary, modern and hip hop. For 10 years she has been performing with the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, and for the past 6 years began to be a soloist as the Spanish dancer along with the dew drop fairy. She has taken numerous workshops with choreographers and company’s such as Frank Austyn (2010-2012), Peter Quanz (2010), Nick Tull (2010, 2014), Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre (2014,2018).
She has graduated from Eastwood’s Integrated Arts Program (2015) and had many performance opportunities in and out of the school. When her school attended DanceFest in Niagara, her production and small group placed 1st overall with her choreography (2015). She successfully completed her classical ballet examinations highly recommended (2015). She has graduated from George Brown College in the Commercial dance program (2015-2016), where she studied dance, musical theatre vocal and acting. She recently graduated from Centennial College for the Dance Performance Program (2016- 2018). Leilani has also performed in the NBA Toronto Raptors home opener (2018). She is now performing in Toronto and the GTA with TDC Entertainment, as well as teaching ballet and contemporary at Academy Ballet Classique and Royal City School of Ballet.
With her outgoing personality, Leilani also enjoys learning other cultural dance styles such as West African/Afro- Caribbean (Ballet Creole) and Bollywood.
Began dancing at The Fergus Elora Academy when she was 2 years old, starting with ballet and began working on the ISTD Modern Theater syllabus at the age of 10. Over her 15 years as a student, she participated in a number of the classes offered and was a teaching assistant for Mrs. Finlayson-Marak’s ballet classes for several years.
She is a class of 2023 University of Waterloo Kinesiology student and has completed her associate certification for Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in Modern Theater and continues to train through classes and workshops.
Sean started the all boys breakdance program with a little nudge from the dancers. The program has grown over the years into multiple classes.