By Molly • 

Master ballet teacher succumbs

Master ballet teacher Lynn Marchant Seth, who taught thousands of dancers and produced an annual performance of “The Nutcracker” in McMinnville, died Sunday, Oct. 28 in her early 70s.

At her request, a free memorial dance performance at the Doug Anderson Auditorium at McMinnville High School will be held in place of a traditional service. It will be at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16.

Marchant was teaching ballet at Linfield College when she first put a group together for “The Nutcracker” performance in 1971. The 40th season was marked in 2010. 

In 1972, Marchant opened the Marchant Academy of Ballet at the old First Federal building at the northwest corner of Third and Evans streets. Over the years, the school occupied several different downtown buildings, including the 1893 building and the Odd Fellows Building.

It moved north to Bunn’s Village for 11 years. It returned downtown, moving to its current location at 608 N.E. Third St., in 2004.

The building had been the home of the Taylor-Dale Hardware store.

At the time, Marchant said, “I’ve had my eye on this building for years and years.” In fact, she first saw it in a photo when she was living in San Bernardino, Calif., in 1967. 

By age 7, Marchant decided she wanted to be a teacher, working with neighborhood children with costumes made out of crepe paper and dance shoes that were leather tumbling slippers. 

Andrei Tremaine and Bronislava Nijinska were Marchant’s primary teachers. In a spotlight on the arts interview in 2004, she said her favorite touring companies were the American Ballet Theatre and the San Francisco Ballet. 

With her decades of teaching, Marchant taught grandchildren of former students. Teaching all levels of ballet, there was some instances where she was teaching all three generations at the same time. 

Marchant’s daughter, Emma Seth, now operates the academy.

Marchant was born in 1940 in Los Angeles. She went on to study nursing at Stanford University.

In addition to her focus on dance, she also served as a nurse for several years at McMinnville Hospital.

She first came to McMinnville to help her mother on her small farm in Amity, thinking at that time it meant the end of her dance career. 

She is survived by her husband, Philip Seth; her children, Kimberley Eve, Don Guttery, Matthew Burnett and Emma Seth; her brother, Spencer; her sister, Toni; her first husband, O. Don Guttery; and numerous grandchildren. 

She was preceded in death by her second husband, Beaumont Burnett.


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