September 12, 2017

Have You Met Val?


You may have noticed a fresh face around the Community Recreation Center (and we don’t just mean the new dance studios)! The new Artistic Director of Dance, Valerie Lober, has been working hard to unify the dance department and direct its focus towards community and building basic foundations.

Coming to us from northern Michigan, Lober has been pursuing a life in dance since childhood.  After graduating with a degree in Dance Performance and Choreography from Western Michigan University, she discovered her passion for dance was rooted in teaching and sharing her knowledge and skills with her students.

Following 2 years of shadowing her studio’s director in Chicago, Lober brought her passion and creativity to the Wilmette Dance Department. She envisions her department as “the go to place for firsts” – first dance class, first lessons in technique, first community performance and first friendships that will support and inspire the students to grow and progress. 

In a time when creative expression is encouraged and competitive dance studios are found in every town, Lober sees an opportunity for an untapped market in need of nurturing. Wilmette Dance can give children the basic skills needed to experience and enjoy dance for the first time, as well as the confidence to progress into a competitive studio. She aims to satisfy the need for “a well-rounded technical dance foundation built from the bottom up. 

Children can enter the program with no prior experience and find a supportive, encouraging environment where they can cultivate their skills. Lober explains that her goal is to provide dancers with “the tools to continue to grow in this art with proper form, to prevent future injuries and act as a stepping stone to advanced movement.” For those eager for a challenge, the Wilmette Dance Team provides an elevated experience of stronger technical skills and increased performance based opportunities.

Changes happening this fall include a new look for the department as well as new program titles to encourage a gender-neutral place for active recreation. Fresh teal and grey paint brings a contemporary flair to the dance studios, and will encourage cohesion in the department as it carries through into marketing campaigns and other materials. Parents will be more in tune with their dancer’s journey through take-home announcements and bulletin postings of staff features, dancer projects and special interest tips.

Lober is thrilled to have the opportunity to bring her plans and ideas into action. “Match and surpass has been the philosophy I have been sharing ever since I started teaching.” Lober encourages dancers to always strive for progress, and to set attainable goals for themselves. Standing by this mantra, she joined the Park District as her next progression with her dance career.


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