Welcome to Mompreneur Monday, where we introduce you to mom-based businesses in Lake County.
This month it’s our pleasure to introduce you to not one but TWO Moms, Emily Winkler and Juliet Stephenson from the Dance Academy of Libertyville. Today we are going to learn more about Dance Academy of Libertyville and their programs, later this month we’ll get to know Emily and Juliet better.
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 to establish that 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.
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 and dance in a studio, she can do that at home. I also know that for my daughters 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 who has been in Laura Moschel ‘s class. Since starting in September the girls have enjoyed working on core ballet principals while also enjoying being fairies and dancing to everyone’s favorite, “Let it Go!”. Laura has a great way with the girls being both 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 know show you 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 itself 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 very clean 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 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 momarazzi parents (raises hand) who just wants 1000’s of pictures of the adorableness that is preschoolers in ballet there is a parent watch day where you can observe, take pictures and videos. They do this both for the sessions and for the recital practice, which I haven’t experienced yet but am excited to this spring. So sit back and relax, you have 30 minutes to yourself! The academy has ample seating as well as 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 are first able to really make the mind-body connection and start working on developing and training a technique. For older students who wish to start 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 as well as a level 1/2 for dancers age 9 and up to be able 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 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.
Dance Academy of Libertyville is offering our readers a special discount!
Register for one summer camp before May 30 and receive 20% off the tuition
Only good on one camp per student, mention Little Lake County when registering.
Dance Academy of Libertyville is our featured Mompreneur of the Month. This series of features is part of a paid partnership with Little Lake County. Contact littlelakecounty[at]gmail[dot]com if you are interested in featuring your own locally-owned business in our monthly series. I received no compensation or discounts and all thoughts and opinions are my own.