MADE is a paid partnership with Little Lake County.
Welcome to MADE in Lake County! MADE introduces you to the people and stories behind local Lake County businesses. Today it is our pleasure to introduce you to Carlos Archila. Carlos is the owner of Lake County Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a martial arts & fitness facility for all ages located in Mundelein.
My third child has a song in her heart and has been singing and dancing since she could stand. She’s one of four children, and I tell you this not, so you go…gah that’s a full house, but to give you some back story. With four kids, what you choose to do, extracurricular takes a lot of thought. You don’t sign up for things on a whim or just to try it out. Aside from the financial cost, when you multiply it by four kids, the time and schedule juggling makes it a nightmare. All that is to establish this: we don’t sign up for programming unless it’s a stellar program that provides value not just in cost but in the quality of teaching and what it brings to our child.
MADE in Lake County: Dance Academy of Libertyville
We were introduced to Dance Academy of Libertyville when we attended the Pre-Academy Open House last summer. I had briefly researched dance programs when my daughter turned three and none of them seemed like a good fit. While I appreciate that 3-4-year-olds are not going to be doing a structured regimen of positions and skills I didn’t want to pay to have her just run around in a dance studio, she can do that at home. I also know that for my daughter’s personality structure-made-fun has the most success.
We signed up for Pre-Academy the Monday following their open house. My daughter loved it so much, and it was just enough fun mixed with actual skill-building. After some quick research of other dance programs, Dance Academy was the perfect fit for us. The location was close to my kids’ school, and the cost was comparable to other programs and what we would consider reasonable.
The Pre-Academy Ballet program is for ballerinas age 2.5 to Kindergarten. They offer four levels broken down by age, so everyone in the class is of the same age. Class size is kept small and is no more than 8-10 students depending on the class.
Pre-Academy Classes Offered:
Two Much Fun: 2.5 years of age by the start of each session
Pre-Ballet 1: 3 years of age by September 1
Pre-Ballet 2 & Pre-Tap 2: 4 years of age by September 1
Pre- Ballet 3 & Pre -Tap 3: 5 years of age by September 1
The Pre-Academy program is described as “structured creative play introducing rhythm and balance, with giving the youngest dancer a love and understanding of dance”
It’s been a great fit for our daughter. Since starting in September, the girls have enjoyed working on core ballet principles while enjoying being fairies and dancing to everyone’s favorite, “Let it Go!”. Laura has a great way with the girls being gentle and firm; it’s a sight to watch! Some days I can barely get my two little ones out the door, and she gets them to line up and walk on their toes quietly! That combination of structure and play means that the class is fun, and my daughter wants to go every week. She can now show your first position, second position, and plié and is excitedly working on preparing for her first dance recital.
Not being a dancer myself, the helpful staff at the Dance Academy has made the transition to “dance mom” smooth and easy. At our first class, as soon as the children were inside, a staff member went over everything from attire and location of changing rooms to how to put in a bun and make it look neat. If we need to miss a class, make-ups are no hassle and have been easy to do.
The facility is located between CrossFit freedom and Feed My Starving Children, set back from the road in a nondescript building. You will be surprised when you walk in how much bigger it is than you are expecting. It’s spotless, and everyone is expected to leave their shoes a the door. There are four studios of varying sizes, and parents can peek in through a window but do not come into the class. Most of our classes have been held in a small studio that is perfect for the little kids, there are no windows to distract them, and the small size makes it feel cozy.
If your child is shy or you are worried about not being in the room, don’t be. The teachers are so kind and gentle my shy daughter went right in. When we had to do a make-up class, and she had a hard time adjusting to a new teacher, they let me sit in while they warmed up until she was comfortable and I could slip out. For those mamarazzi parents (raises hand) who just want 1000’s pictures of the adorableness of preschoolers in ballet, there is a parent watch day where you can observe and take pictures and videos. They do this both for the sessions and for the recital practice, which I haven’t experienced but am excited to this spring. So sit back and relax, you have 30 minutes to yourself! The academy has ample seating and an area of table and chairs with a healthy vending machine and coffee for sale. It’s perfect for getting some work done, free wi-fi, or for siblings to do homework.
In addition to the Pre-Academy program, the Academy trains students in Ballet, Jazz & Lyrical, Contemporary and Tap. The Academy program starts in first grade, when students can first really make the mind-body connection and start working on developing and training a technique. For older students who wish to begin ballet for the first time, there is no need to fear you will be placed either with little kids or with students that have been dancing since they were babies. The Academy offers open classes and a level 1/2 for dancers age nine and up to start dancing.
Ballet Theatre of Illinois is a non-profit dance company for pre-professional artists. BTI was established to enhance the training of aspiring dancers. Our purpose is to provide company members with opportunities to perform and cultivate personal artistic growth.
Both companies are made up primarily of dancers from the Academy although some other students do audition from other studios.
If you are interested in trying out the Pre-Academy classes this summer they offer several camp options. During the camp students will have dance class, rehearse, create their own sets and costumes and perform a show for family and friends at the end. Themes include Sofia the First, Super Ballerina, Cinderella, and Seussical. Older kids (entering 2nd grade – 5th grade) can enjoy dance, performing arts, and pom camps.
Meet other local businesses that are MADE in Lake County!
Disclosure: Corner Health Foods is our featured Business of the Month. This series is part of a paid promotion partnership with Little Lake County. If you are interested in featuring your locally-owned business in our series, please contact the sales team.