Photo: Eight-year-old Sara from St. Charles practices a high kick during her Jazz 1 lesson at the Dreams Dance Academy in Elburn. Photo by John DiDonna
Dreams Dance Academy
Classes on Tuesdays
Elburn Community Center
525 N. Main St., Elburn
by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Elburn mom Angela Sobel said her 3-year-old daughter Evelyn loves her ballet and tap class at the Elburn Community Center.
Evelyn is one of the students in the new Dreams Dance Academy (DDA) class for 3 to 5-year-olds. The class is one of four that DDA owner and instructor Jenny O’Brien teaches at the Community Center on Tuesday afternoons and evenings. O’Brien also offers ballet, jazz and hip-hop dance classes for children ages 6 years old and up.
Dreams Dance is a “traveling” dance studio started by O’Brien earlier this year. Her concept is to bring a children’s dance program to existing businesses, such as community centers, fitness studios and daycare centers, where such programs are not currently offered.
O’Brien has been dancing since she was 3 years old, and said that, as a young girl, her dance classes gave her self-confidence. She wants to provide that same opportunity to her students through her classes, to help them to feel good about themselves, and to use their creativity.
“I want to make classes convenient and affordable for parents. But, more importantly, a fun, positive and educational experience for kids,” O’Brien said. “Making a difference in the life of a child is priceless.”
Throughout her childhood, O’Brien took dance classes at park districts, dance studios, and joined the dance team and orchesis in high school. She participated in a traveling ballet troupe and performed in musicals and plays, including “The Nutcracker” and “Nightmare Before Christmas.
She describes the classes she teaches as recreational dancing—for fun, as opposed to dancing competitively. She said she works to create a positive learning environment for her students so that they walk out of her class smiling.
The sessions are once a week for 15 weeks, and cost between $125 and $140 per session.
Dreams Dance is 4-year-old Audrey Noring’s first dancing experience. Her mom, Brook, said that Audrey is building new friendships, as well as learning new things. She is also excited about preparing for the Winter Showcase that will take place in December.
Angela said that her daughter is learning not only about dance, but also about interacting with others in a group activity. Evelyn goes to a Montessori pre-school, but Angela said that the dance class is more social.
“She looks forward to the class,” Angela said. “When we get home on Tuesday nights, she asks me, ‘How long is it til Tuesday?’”
Erin, 8 from St. Charles glances at the teacher to make sure she’s doing it right during her dance lesson at Dreams Dance Academy. Photo by John DiDonna