Mary Mayer's career in Irish dancing started when she took her first lessons in Ireland while staying with her grandmother in the early '70s. She loved it so much that when she returned to Chicago, she—as well as her brother John—began taking lessons at a local Irish-dance school, where they danced with such people as Lord of the Dance creator Michael Flatley. Both Mary and John eventually starting placing at regional and national championships.
In 1980, they founded the Mayer School of Irish Dancing. It began in a basement with only five students—two of who were their younger brother and sister, Paul and Julie Mayer. These two followed in their older siblings' footsteps by placing in championships and even landing roles in Road to Perdition. Paul trained actress Jennifer Jason Leigh and danced with her in the film. Julie also trained many actors and performed alongside Paul Newman and Daniel Craig.
Though John has since retired, Mary continues to teach classes six days a week in Villa Park and Galena. Paul and Julie man two of the school's additional locations, which now span four states. Their students have placed in regional and national championships. Some have even traveled to Ireland to put their skills on display at the All-Ireland Championship and see if any snakes have found their way back yet.
Though hip-hop performances have been the building blocks of DLD Dance Center, that's just one of the many dance styles director Dyanna Daniels and her instructors offer at the Downers Grove dance studio. Here, DLD’s team enlightens students aged 4 through adult with ballet, jazz, contemporary, and Latin jams. When not perfecting techniques at the studio, DLD dancers can be found around town entertaining audiences with flash-mob performances, including the dance they performed for an episode of ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss.
Celebrity Dance Studio’s instructors boast impressive resumés that include years of instructor experience and multiple competitions. At Celebrity, they teach a wide variety of dance styles such as cha-cha, salsa, swing, waltz, and tango to name a few. They lead private and group lessons for people of all ages and skill levels, from absolute beginners to hobbyists with an interest in competing.