Center for the Arts: Dance

Dance Artistic Director
Karly Strong
Tel: 847-920-3930

All Dance Force and production-related questions should be directed to Karly Strong. Questions regarding classes should be directed to Julie Nichols at 

Save these dates in 2015!

Winter Silhouettes 9th Annual Dance Concert
Jan. 17, 2015 at 4 p.m. & 7 p.m.

Stars of Dance Competition
Feb. 21, 2015

Annual Spring Recital
Saturday, June 6 & Sunday, June 7

Dance Department Staff

Karly Strong, Dance Artistic Director, graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in dance and studied with well known masters including Jan Erkert, Margi Cole and Lar Lubovitch. Karly’s teaching background includes Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap and Contemporary and she has been with area studios such as Picture Us Different, ARCC Ballet and St. Alponsus Elementary Center for the Arts.

Cathy Jacobson started choreographing and teaching by age 13. She directed Diana School of Dance, a studio with more than 400 students, by age 16. She has worked in studios, theaters and preschool programs. She specializes in students who begin to dance later in life.

Kirsten Markham received training at Gus Giordano and also has a degree in Early Childhood Education. She is a choreographer and has performed in many local theaters.

Maria Politis has been dancing her whole life. She has studied at Columbia College Chicago, Joel Hall Dance Center and Le Ballet Petit School of Dance.

Carmen Rivera began dancing at the age of four.  Soon after she found her love of Tap and began to focus her dance education on Tap and Hip Hop. Carmen has performed with Le Ballet Petit and Living by Performing.

Margaret Sinn received classical ballet training in the RAD method from Helen Marques.  She has performed with the Hong Kong Ballet Group. She received her postgraduate diploma in Dance Studies from the University of Surrey.

Required Dance Attire

Students MUST wear the following appropriate dance wear so instructors may properly observe and teach muscular movement:

  • Preschool and Kinder Ballet: Any color leotard, ballet pink tights, pink ballet shoes.  Hair must be up and off the neck. Skirts acceptable.
  • Ballet I-Advanced Ballet: Black leotard, ballet pink tights, pink ballet shoes and hair in bun. No skirts or tutus will be allowed.
  • Tap: Solid colored dancewear and tights and/or shorts or jazz pants; black tap shoes. Patent leather tap shoes are acceptable for Pre-Tap through Beginner Levels I-III. Oxford/Jazz tap shoes with hard steel toe and full sole (no split sole) are required for intermediate levels and above. No jeans, hair in bun or high ponytail.
  • Girls’ Jazz and Hip Hop: Solid colored leotard and tights or stretch jazz pants (instructor must be able to see ankles), black jazz shoes or dance sneakers. Hair must be in bun or high ponytail. No jeans.
  • Boy’s - All Dance Classes:  Comfortable pants or tights, white shirt and dance shoes (black ballet shoes for Ballet; black jazz or black ballet shoes for Jazz; black tap shoes for Tap). No jeans or sweat pants.

A Message to Parents: Age, Attire and Attendance Requirements

For all programs, age requirements will be as of the date of the first class. Please do not request to have your child put in a class he/she does not belong in. Girls must wear their hair off neck for ALL CLASSES. If dancers are not properly dressed for class or come 15 minutes late, they will be asked to observe class and not participate. Warm-up exercises are a very important part of class. All requirements are set to benefit the children and make instruction more consistent for the program leaders. In some instances, the requirements have been set for the child's safety.

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