Volunteer at our Social Service Center this spring!

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. =

Summer Dance Intensive

Get moving this summer with our Summer Dance Intensive! Students in Grades 3-12 foster self-esteem, creativity, and confidence through a variety of dance styles and present a final showcase for friends and family.


July 5-29, 2022

Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-2:45 p.m.


On site at Chicago Lights in the Gratz Center, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago


Students in grades 3–12 are eligible to enroll and do not need to be involved in other Dance Academy classes.


$30 registration fee
Shoes, attire, and lunch provided

In-School Residencies

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


In-school classes typically take place at Belmont Cragin, Ruben Salazar, Manierre 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 pmendez@chicagolights.org / 312.981.3561

Saturday Classes

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

2022-2023 Schedule

Check back in the fall for more information about Saturday classes!


On site at Chicago Lights, Gratz Center, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago, IL 60611
Virtual option available


Students in grades 1–12 are eligible to enroll. No prior dance experience necessary! Registration is free.
In-person classes are limited to 15 students and follow current COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

2022 Spring Dance Recital

Our students are excited to share their hard work and artistry with parents, friends, and family members.

Join us in person at the Gratz Center on Saturday, June 11th for a recital you won’t want to miss!

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.