Dance Academy

All students deserve access
to quality arts education.
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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.

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Overview

Education

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.

Saturday Class

We take dance and creativity a step further during our Saturday classes. Students polish their technique with ballet and jazz 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.

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.

Program Details

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In-School Residencies

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

Locations

In-school classes currently 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 pmendez@chicagolights.org / 312.981.3561

Saturday Classes

Saturday Classes currently focuses on ballet and jazz technique.

Schedule

Saturday classes are held October through May, 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Location

Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago

Eligibility

Students in grades 1–12 are eligible to enroll.

Fee & What’s Included

There is a $50 registration fee per student. A healthy lunch, shoes, and attire are provided.

Summer Dance Intensive

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

Schedule

Typically held 10:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m, Monday–Friday in July.

Location

Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago

Eligibility

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

Fee & What’s Included

There is a $50 registration fee per student. A healthy lunch, shoes, and attire are provided.

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