Black lives matter to Chicago Lights. 

Dance Academy

All students deserve access to quality arts education.

Dancing makes me feel happy and confident. Dance is important because it makes me a better person and makes life so much better.  – Kaiyah

Not all schools have the resources to offer comprehensive arts programming. We reduce the gap through our Dance Academy, building confidence and creativity through movement for 1,500 students each year.


We partner with Chicago elementary schools to provide dance instruction—as part of the regular school day—for students attending schools in need of more arts resources. Our professional teaching artists help students build self-esteem, cooperation, and creative self-expression—all promoting academic achievement and social growth.  Learn more. =

Saturday Class

We take dance and creativity a step further during our Saturday classes. Students polish their technique with professional dance instruction each week during the school year. This isn’t just any dance class—students meet in our dance studio at Fourth Presbyterian Church and get complimentary shoes and attire. Learn more. =

Summer Dance Intensive

We bridge the school year with four weeks of dance instruction each summer. Our Summer Dance Intensive invites students to expand their technique, versatility, and artistry—all while building strength, self-confidence, and teamwork.
 Learn more. =

In-School Residencies

Dance styles vary but often include ballroom, modern/contemporary, Mexican folkloric, African, jazz, and more.


Due to COVID-19, in-school classes have been suspended.

Dance instructors are sharing instructional videos with students virtually.

In-school classes typically take place at Belmont Cragin, Ruben Salazar, Manierre Elementary, Ogden Elementary, and Ariel Community Academy at various times throughout the school day.

We’re always looking for new school partners! To learn more, contact Director Patty Mendez at / 312.981.3561

Saturday Classes

Students take their dance technique a step further at our Saturday classes!


Saturdays, October 10-December 19, 2020
No class on November 28
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

9:30 a.m. Ballet
10:30 a.m. Broadway Jazz or Tap* 
11:30 a.m. Latin Fusion
(Tap shoes not required; both classes open to all levels, but jazz is recommended for more experienced dancers)


Virtual on Zoom


Students in grades 1–12 are eligible to enroll. No prior dance experience necessary!

Summer Dance Intensive

Thank you to everyone who made our virtual four-week program a success!

Our robust virtual curriculum featured live Zoom classes in the styles of ballet, jazz, musical theater, tap, and hip hop, plus pre-recorded dance lessons and independent study. More advanced choreography was offered in the afternoons for seasoned students.


June 29–July 23, 2020; Monday–Friday, 9:45 a.m.–12:00 p.m.


This summer we’re going virtual! Live classes will take place via Zoom.


Students in grades 1–12 are eligible to enroll and do not need to be involved in other Dance Academy classes. 


All students will need a Zoom account to attend class. Zoom is free to register.

Make a difference with Chicago Lights.

Volunteers make our life-changing work possible and help our students thrive.


Build brighter futures. Change lives. Volunteer with Chicago Lights!

Invest in changing lives with us.

Every dollar you give goes directly toward empowering youth in need.