Maxine McKinnon was born in the city of Port Arthur (now called Thunder Bay), Ontario in July of 1923. At an early age she began studies in Ballet, Tap and Highland dancing and figure skating. She became a very accomplished dancer with a great enthusiasm for her craft.
In 1947 Maxine married Harry Lecky. In the mid 1950’s Maxing began teaching part time with her old instructor, Grace Ensworth and in 1954 she started her own studio. She rented the Finnish Hall in Port Arthur and began teaching classes on Saturdays. By the second year of operation she had over fifty students.
In 1956, her husband Harry, a salesman for the Carnation Milk Company, was promoted to Sales Manager and was offered a transfer to Edmonton, Alberta. They were unhappy to close down their new studio and also sad to move away from their family and friends, but in February of 1956 they uprooted their small family, now consisting of two children and moved to Edmonton.
Within a year of moving to Edmonton, Maxine decided to open a studio and in the fall of 1957 Maxine began teaching on Saturdays in the basement of her Woodcroft home. By the next year Maxine had enough students to move the classes out of the basement and into a small strip mall in their neighborhood. Soon, news of her high level of instruction and her positive, encouraging attitude spread and Maxine had to expand to larger facilities to accommodate her growing number of students.
The school continued expanding and operated in various locations in West Edmonton. By the 1970’s, Maxine’s daughters Marlene and Myrna, who had grown up dancing under their mom’s guidance were old enough to begin assisting and eventually began teaching classes on their own. In 1977 the dance studio was incorporated as LECO Holdings Ltd. operated as Lecky School of Dancing, with their son Donald taking on the position of Business Manager. In September of 1988, the school moved to its present location in the LaPerle Shopping Centre. The dance school now operates with five large studios, and has recently undergone renovations which took place in the summer of 2013.
The Lecky School of Dancing teaches a wide variety of classes ranging from our 3 year old, Tiny Tots Ballerinas to a senior tap class that has members now into their eighties. Classes are offered in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Pointe, Cecchetti exam classes, Lyrical, Stretch, ACRO, Hip–Hop, Musical Theatre and others. Highly qualified instructors bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their classes. Instructors are encouraged to continually upgrade and remain current on teaching styles and trends. Most importantly they are urged to carry on with Maxine’s tradition of instilling the love of dance in their students.
The Lecky School of Dancing participates in Edmonton and area Competitions, Festivals and in many Community Fundraising Events. The hi-light of each year is always the five performances of the school’s exciting Annual Recital, held each June on the Shoctor Stage at the Citadel Theatre. As Harry Lecky would proudly say of every year’s performance, “Our best show yet.”
Maxine, her daughters Marlene and Myrna, her teachers, and students have won many, many awards throughout the years. Maxine has been recently recognized for her contribution to the advancement of dance, with a Lifetime Achievement Award by ADAPT, The Associated Dance Arts for Professional Teachers, an internationally renowned organization. She has also been honored as the Global Woman of Vision, recognized by the City of Edmonton and Province of Alberta, and received many other prestigious honors throughout her career.
In Feb. 2009, a beautiful Gala Reunion was held celebrating the Lecky School of Dancing’s 50th Anniversary. Current and former students and teachers attended this wonderful event at the Fantasyland Hotel Ballroom. Students from 40 years ago, 10 years ago and those recent graduates, all spoke so highly of Maxine and her family and staff and lovingly shared their fond memories and cherished times spent at the Lecky School.
While Maxine has retired from teaching, she still actively participate in the school and in her own “adult tap“ classes. You will see her watching classes during ‘watching weeks” and enjoying the students’ performances at competitions, rehearsals and of course the recitals.
As Maxine’s philosophy and tradition of inspiring children and adults alike, to love and enjoy the beauty and benefits of dance, the Lecky School of Dancing continues to grow and prosper. In previous years, Maxine and husband Harry traveled to many, many places all over the world. While on their trips, it was not uncommon for them to be approached by people, saying they recognized Maxine that they had studied dance at the Lecky School of Dancing.
Former students, teachers and friends who have cherished their time under the Lecky tutelage continue to return and enroll their own children and even their grandchildren in dance classes at the Lecky School of Dancing.
The love of dance continues to grow and flourish at the Lecky School of Dancing.