MADE in Lake County: Dancenter North

Gurnee, IL

MADE in Lake County is part of a paid partnership.
Editor’s Note: Dancenter moved to Gurnee in 2019. The information has been updated but images (and some references) are from the old location.

Welcome to MADE in Lake County! MADE introduces you to the people and stories behind local Lake County businesses. This month we have gotten to know Karen Landrain the director of Dancenter North in Libertyville. Today we are going to learn more about classes at Dancenter North.

Growing up in Lake County, I have had an admiration for the dancers of Dancenter North since grade school. If you’ve ever attended their performance of The Magic of the Nutcracker, you understand. When my husband and I contemplated moving to Libertyville three years ago, I can’t say that knowing my dance-obsessed daughter could attend Dancenter North wasn’t a factor. Now that we’ve been here a while, I am delighted to share our experience at Dancenter North.

dancenter north

Dancenter North was located in downtown Libertyville tucked between Starbucks and Avenue 21 Dancewear, in 2019 it moved to Grand Ave. in Gurnee. The minute you walk in, you can feel you’re entering a dance studio: classical music sneaks out the doorway of a class; teens are warming up their feet in pointe shoes in the hallway; little girls in pink tutus are holding their dads’ hands.

A Class in Detail (for Little Ones)

This week, I got to be a fly on the wall for Trio of Dance, a summer class for five to seven-year-olds featuring ballet, tap, and creative movement. It is taught by Miss Jillian, who teaches a variety of classes there, including hip hop, tap, and even adult classes. But you can tell she especially enjoys working with the little ones. Miss Jillian took the time to get to know the girls and for them to know each other before they even started dancing.

dancenter north

The students played fun dance games, stretched, and freestyled. The teacher was even able to sneak quite a few dance words into their vocabulary: first position, tendu, bourrée, shuffle, and brush, to name a few.

Miss Jillian had endless energy, patience, and enthusiasm. The kids had a blast getting to learn ballet, tap, and basic hip-hop and jazz moves. I would highly recommend a combination class as a way for your little one to see what type of dance they are interested in. (Even if ballet is not their thing, another style of dance might be.) This was a wonderful beginner class. And something I’ve seen across the board with the teacher there: they are not trying to rush the students into becoming the next TV dance star. They are there to help your child grow as a dancer. They want your child to feel successful.

Dance Classes at Dancenter North

Dancenter North has five studios and tons of different class offerings: classics such as ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and hip hop, as well as more specialized ones: Broadway dance, foot preparation, and leaps and turns, to name a few. They offer classes for little ones and their mothers (Mom & Me), ones specifically for boys (and there are various scholarships for boys!), and soon, even classes for seniors.

Classes are arranged by ability and age. This is nice if you have a child who wants to start dancing at an older age; he or she is not put with the younger children. Because they have so many studios, many of the classes are offered multiple times a week. You can pick a class time that works with your family’s schedule! (And if your child has already taken dance elsewhere, he or she can have an evaluation for placement.)

I love that Dancenter North has a generous policy for missed classes. Your child is able to attend a make-up class (on level or below in a similar type of dance) any time during the semester. We took advantage of this quite a bit during soccer season!

The Instructors 

We have loved all of the teachers here. If you look through the bios, you will see they are highly qualified for the type of classes they teach. They not only know their craft but are nurturing and personable. You become part of a family there. When we see run into one of my daughter’s former teachers, they are always excited to see her and want to know what she’s up to.

dancenter north


Dancenter North does not participate in dance competitions. They do put on various performances each year. Many of the classes participate in Défilé in May. Although it is similar to a recital, the focus for the semester is not solely the performance. And the students don’t wear extravagant (and expensive!) costumes; instead, a skirt or hairpiece may be added to what they normally wear to class. More experienced dancers can also try out to be part of a dance company or The Magic of the Nutcracker.

Attending any of the performances is a great way to learn more about Dancenter North.

dancenter north

My daughter has now been a part of the Dancenter North family for three years, and I feel like I am a part of the DCN family, too! I’ve gotten to know many of the parents as we have sat outside classes together for years now. The atmosphere is non-competitive—everyone is there to support one another. We couldn’t be happier with our experience.

fall registration at Dancenter north

Dancenter North
5410 N. Grand Avenue, Gurnee | (847) 367-7970
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Disclosure: Dancenter North is our featured MADE in Lake County Business of the Month. This series of features is part of a paid partnership with Little Lake County.  If you are interested in featuring your locally-owned business in our series, please contact the sales team.

About Natalie Rompella 37 Articles
Natalie is the mom of two humans and one nonhuman. She is the author of more than forty books and resources for kids, was a teacher and a museum educator, and will always be a Lake County native. Natalie enjoys insects, sled dog racing (observing!), crafting/experimenting with her kids, and forming a world safe from peanuts. Find out more about her and her books at

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