Jeanie Moreland has owned and operated her own studio since 1976, and she's so dedicated to introducing people to the world of dance that she was even recognized by the North American Talent Association as the Teacher of the Year. Her classes are open to students aged 3 through adult, and they cover styles such classic styles as ballet, jazz, and tap. To keep things interesting, Jeanie also offers lessons in Hawaiian- and Tahitian-style dance as well as funk and acrobatics. As a former pageant director, Jeanie can even share her wealth of knowledge with girls who are interested in modeling and pageantry. Students can learn everything from audition prep and interview skills to runway turns and how to "smize" (smile with your eyes) and "winbow" (wink with your elbow). All classes help prep students for success, as graduates of Jeanie Moreland Dance Theatre have gone on to careers as Rockettes and dancers for the Chicago Bulls.
Wendy Streib began dancing when she was just a toddler, and her dedication brought quick success; by age 12, she'd tapped her toes and twirled on television more than 50 times. She wanted to share her passion for dancing with others, and so she opened Accent: Wendy's School of Dance in 1963. Ever since, she and her team of talented instructors have taught ballet, jazz, tap, and other forms of expressive movement on the studio's custom-made dance floors. Although the classes are structured, teachers encourage creativity and strive to provide a supportive, positive environment.
Terri Shaffner, a dancer with more than 30 years of experience, opened her own studio—Encore Performing Arts—in 2005. There, she and her team of talented instructors help children develop strength, confidence, and positive self-image through weekly dance lessons. Students stretch, leap, and spin during ballet, tap, and hip-hop classes. There's also a special program for dedicated homeschooled students, expanding their abilities in the fields of singing or dance.
Led by championship dancer Marco Mechelke, Dare To Dance's squad of experienced instructors help dancers of all experience levels to kick up their heels and ignite calorie bonfires. Up-tempo beats resound in high-energy Zumba and fitness classes, and quick-steppers master more than 15 styles in ballroom-dance classes. Wall-to-wall mirrors reflect synchronized fleet-footers as they cut and painstakingly resew rugs across three studios' combined 10,000 square feet of smooth, polished wood floors.
The Ritz Ballroom Dance Studio's instructors understand that dancers learn in stages, which is why they utilize the popular Medalist system, where students work toward specific goals at each level. Dancers begin at an introductory stage, where they learn the basic steps of ballroom dances such as the Viennese waltz, foxtrot, and cha-cha, and Latin styles such as bolero or salsa dancing. From there, dancers increase their awareness of each movement, progressing from slow and somewhat unsure to consciously confident?striving to let the dance flow through them without thinking about each step or wondering if Fred Astaire ever tried the worm.
Private lessons give students one-on-one practice time with instructors who move at a customized pace. Students then progress to group classes where they learn to dance with a variety of partners and pick up good dance habits, such as never biting their dancemate's nails. Scheduled dance parties create a relaxed, casual setting for further practice in the studio, which bathes dancers in a dreamy atmosphere complete with floor-to-ceiling mirrors, honey-hued wood floors, and the glittery twinkles of a disco ball.