Artistic Direction

Mary Brennan, Founder & Artistic Director

Mary Brennan is Founder and Artistic Director for the Barrington Dance Ensemble and holds a speech and theater education degree from the University of Illinois.  Her dance training includes study with Richard Ellis and Christine DuBoulay, the National Academy of Dance, the University of Illinois in Champaign, and the Royal Academy of Dance in London.  After graduating from the University of Illinois, Mary held the position of drama director for the Champaign, IL public school system.  Later, she owned and operated a school for dance and dramatic arts while doing post-graduate work at the University of Illinois and performing with regional companies.  Ms. Brennan currently owns and directs the Barrington Dance Academy, founded in Barrington, Illinois in 1984, and trains the BDE in classical ballet.  Her directing and choreographic credits include The Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Peter and the Wolf, Under the Big Top, Graduation Ball, Scenes from Childhood, and The Nutcracker in addition to numerous smaller works.  She served on the Illinois Arts Council Dance Panel for four years and created dance curriculum for the state of Illinois public education department.  Ms. Brennan’s mission is to expand young dancers’ life experience through the art form of dance and to provide the highest caliber performances for the general public and underserved audiences.


Chelsea McCormick, Assistant Artistic Director

Chelsea McCormick is Assistant Artistic Director for Barrington Dance Ensemble and an instructor and manager for Barrington Dance Academy. Chelsea received her early dance training in Springfield, IL where she was a member of the Springfield Ballet Company, performing featured roles in classical ballets such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Romeo and Juliet. Chelsea continued her training in ballet, modern, and jazz at Illinois State University. She graduated summa cum laude with degrees in Dance Performance and Management. At ISU, Chelsea was a member of Illinois State Dance Theatre, where she performed contemporary and classical works, and served as the company’s president. She has studied with River North Dance Chicago, Thodos Dance, Lou Conte Dance Studio, and Visceral Dance, and she has performed with Matter Dance Company, Innervation Dance Cooperative, and BDE. Her choreographic credits include works for Bloomington Ballet, Illinois State Dance Theater, and Barrington Dance Ensemble.