Marie K. Jennison
1926 ~ 2015
We are saddened to let you know that Marie passed into “eternal” life on Sept. 18, 2015.
May she enjoy dancing with her friends in Heaven.
70 Years of History…
- Born Marie Alice Keough in Providence on May 30th 1926.
- Started studying dance in 1936. Continued for 8 years of training with Elsie T. Olson, Charles Clingham, Prof. Seneã Russakoff and Stanly Brown.
- Became dancer in Providence Ballet Ensemble and Boston Ballet Ensemble.
- Danced with Charlie Clingham performers and many charity functions.
- While still in high school, was class assistant and choreographer for Olsen Dance Studio.
- Received dance diploma from Olson Studio in June 1944.
- Continued teaching at Olson Studio until June 1945.
My career began in September 1944 when my first classes were held at the Broad Street School in Providence. With the good graces of the PTA and the principal, I was allowed to accept students from the area from pre-school to sixth grade. Time was also granted to teach solos and duets for the Dance Revue.
Continuing there and many other PTA classes in RI and Southeastern Mass. I built a following which would allow me to open Marie A Keough School of Dance in downtown Providence in October 1945. The Y.W.C.A. auditorium was our studio for the first five years…later moving to the Hoppkin Homestead Building on Westminster St.
After our marriage in 1950, we moved our school to Smithfield, and changed the name to Marie K. Jennison School of Dance in 1952. Our home in Esmond became the studio to 80 students. We also had a school in the K of C in Centerdale with 75 students enrolled.
In 1952 I acquired the dance classes at the Smithfield recreation Center in Esmond where lessons were held every Saturday for students for 25¢ per class. Recitals were then held every year at Mt. Pleasant High School with as many as 200 participating. Many of these students have offspring studying at this time – a few in the third generation!
In 1963, we made another move to East Smithfield, but continued classes at the Recreation hall also. Soon our Smithfield High School was built and we were permitted to use it’s auditorium for our Annual Dance Revues.
In 1972, we opened a new studio at 973 Greenville Avenue. Enrollment increased considerably and we could no longer handle the Recreation classes, so they were turned over to a former student. This move became our most successful adventure.
April, became assistant dance instructor after graduation from high school in 1974. Then in 1978, she became a full time dance instructor after graduating from RI College with a BS degree in Physical Education and Dance.
She is now owner, director, choreographer of the school now on Putnam Avenue, Greenville, which opened in 1987 where she has organized a performing Dance Company called Excite!.
At one of the above, she became very impressed with the outstanding Bonnie Bird; a teacher, dancer, and choreographer who advocated that dancing was a wonderful discipline that should be fun. She also instilled on her students that there other things in life to explore. Her inspiration became Marie’s philosophy forher career – Create a studio which is affordable for every family, so they can pursue other enjoyable ventures and still maintain the fine disciplines of the dance world.
Many students of MKJ have gone on to dance careers, some as performers, and others as dance instructors, and others are still dancing for enjoyment. Many students have persued a college education and are in various careers.