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Discover Kaleidoscope Dance

Kaleidoscope Dance is one of the leading dance institutions in the Chicagoland area. At our school, we aim to create a home away from home, where children feel empowered and excited to build their skills.

About Kaleidoscope Dance

A top Chicagoland dance studio located at the crossroads of the Skokie and Evanston communities, Kaleidoscope Dance offers classes for dancers of all ages and abilities in Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Tap, Contemporary, Lyrical and Modern..

With a warm community atmosphere and small class sizes, our school is able to give each student personal attention so they can progress at a faster pace. We encourage quality dance technique and self-discipline while fostering a love of movement and self-expression.

Understanding that some children have their hearts set on a career in the spotlight, while others simply want to have fun, we offer a range of classes for all ages and abilities. Enroll your child and watch them grow their confidence, make new friends and experience the joy of dance.

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Our Facilities Are Modern and Spacious

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Dance Is the Hidden Language of the Soul

OUR VALUES
Our Values

Community: We embrace our role as pillars of our community helping to foster a safe environment for learning and comradery.

Leadership: We serve as leaders, mentors and role models for our students and strive to partner with our families to help their children reach their full potential.

Teamwork: We collaborate, treat each other with respect and set an example for our dance families with the understanding that we only achieve our best when we work together.

Passion: We share our passion for the arts to cultivate a love and appreciation for dance and movement within our students.

Fun: We look for every opportunity to inject fun and create an amazing dance experience at Kaleidoscope - for our students, families and ourselves.

dance instructors Evanston
THE BENEFITS OF A DANCE EDUCATION
The Benefits of a Dance Education

Schools have shifted heavily toward common core subjects, like reading and math, and often leave out the arts. Although some believe art education is a luxury, its simple, creative activities are essential building blocks of child development. Learning to be creative and using their imagination is extremely important for children as they grow up.

​Children who participate in the arts experience benefits such as:

Sharper critical thinking and creative skills

Better performance on standardized tests

Self-directed learning

Higher Math and Verbal SAT Scores

Improved school attendance

A more active, healthy lifestyle

A healthy social life outside school

More confidence in their abilities

Better creative thinking and problem-solving abilities

THE KALEIDOSCOPE DIFFERENCE
The Kaleidoscope Difference

Kaleidoscope Dance was created with family and professionalism in mind. Our mission is to provide:

Personal attention from the owner and faculty for both your dancer and family. We know our dance students personally and strive to make everyone feel a part of the Kaleidoscope family.

High-quality dance instruction in a positive, supportive environment.

Qualified and trained instructors who have at a minimum, bachelor degrees in dance and professional dance training.

Limited class sizes which allow our dancers to receive individual instruction and the ability to progress at a faster pace.

Professional sprung-wood flooring which helps to mitigate the risk of injury.

Closed-circuit televisions and two-way mirrors which allow parents to observe without disrupting class.

Non-competitive environment that promotes self-esteem while instilling the love and appreciation for dance and movement.

Specific programs geared towards all levels from beginner to pre-professional.

Each and every dancer receives the same amount of attention and instruction, no matter the level.

Dancers are exposed to and participate in a professional year-end performance at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie and each dancer receives a link to view the performance online as well as download, recorded by a professional company.

Our year-end professional performance is divided into four shows by age groups to allow for shorter shows.

Convenient drop-off and pick-up for parents.

Our Teachers

The Kaleidoscope team of dance instructors all have degrees in dance as well as professional experience and focus on getting to know your child as an individual.

dance instructors Evanston

Heather Jackson

Owner, Kaleidoscope Dance EnsembleArtistic Director
Heather has been instructing and choreographing professionally for over 20 years, with an emphasis on children’s dance. Heather received her formal dance training from Claudette Soltis (former dancer of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo) of the Joliet Ballet Society. The Ballet Society gave her the opportunity to work with many other ballet greats such as Irina Kolpakova of the American Ballet Theatre and Dace Dindonis, formerly of the Indianapolis Ballet. She is a graduate of Millikin University and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Performance degree in Dance & Musical Theatre. She is the former Director of Dance at the Mayer Kaplan JCC in Skokie. Heather also established the Kaleidoscope Dance Ensemble in the Northshore area in 2001, for which she is the Artistic Director. Heather teaches all forms of dance and several classes at the studio. Heather’s choreography credits include Kaleidoscope Dance Ensemble, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Annie, Yours Anne, Sound of Music, Elixir of Love, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and several works with Millikin University Dance Ensemble. She has also danced with the Indianapolis Ballet Theatre and performed with Chicago’s Timestep Players Children’s Theatre. Performance credits include Steppin’ Out, Pippin, Bye Bye Birdie, Guys and Dolls, Bartered Bride, Little Shop of Horrors and Millikin Dance Ensemble.
dance instructors Evanston

April Torneby

Kaleidoscope Dance Ensemble
Assistant Artistic Director
April is a graduate of Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance with a focus on choreography. Her studies also include anatomy, kinesiology, ballet, modern, jazz, teaching methodologies and music theory to name a few. While at Cornish, April has had the opportunity to perform in works by Wade Madsen, Deborah Wolf, Alex Little, and Nancy Cranbourne. As well, April has choreographed for several shows including the Cornish BFA Concert, New Moves, Terpsichore’s Landing, and 3rdshift Dance. April has performed with AEON Contemporary Dance and 3rd Shift Dance in Seattle, WA.April has been teaching and choreographing for competitive dance studios in the pacific north west for six years and is excited to continue sharing her passion for dance in Chicago, IL. April fuses her love of movement, music, athleticism, and individual creativity into all of her classes.
dance instructors Evanston

Kelly Clifton

Kaleidoscope Krew Artistic Director
Kelly Clifton Zajak brings twenty years of experience to Kaleidoscope Dance. After graduating high school in 1999, Kelly attended Columbia College Chicago, training in ballet and modern techniques. Over the course of two decades, Kelly has amassed a trove of experience and titles—coaching and choreographing for a number of dance teams in the Chicagoland area—including Maine East, St. Viator, Niles West, and Reavis High School. Her choreographic skills extend into the solo arena as well; her soloists have received much acclaim, earning the highest marks from both Universal Dance Association, Illinois Drill Team Association, and Energy Dance. Her choreography has has been featured in Cirque Dreams Holidaze. In 2011, Kelly and colleague Melissa Roman-Cajigal founded Expressions Dance Company to provide dancers, young and old alike, a new venue for technical and artistic growth. Under EDC, the two have mentored a competitive team, staged several shows, and hold summer workshops. You can see Kelly teaching at various studios and Park Districts in the Chicagoland area, as well as providing private instruction and freelance choreography.
dance instructors Evanston

Ashley Bassett

Ashley Bassett has been involved in dance since she was three years old, and for the past ten years became a professional instructor, performer, and choreographer. Most recently, she was a Visiting Professor for the Dance Department at the University of Iowa in 2018-2019 teaching yoga courses to non-majors. In May 2018, she received her MFA degree in Dance/Performance from the university and was a teaching assistant with the department, received her yoga certification, and was the tap/jazz instructor for the UI Youth Ballet Program. During her time in the department, Ashley had the honor to work with artists such as Rennie Harris, Darrell Grand Moultrie, and Hanna Brictson. In May 2011, she received her BA in Dance from Slippery Rock University and received the “Most Outstanding Performer” award. Ashley performed in faculty, student, and guest artist works such as Camille A. Brown, Doug Varone (staged by Natalie Desch), Tania Isaac, Mark Taylor, Chad Michael Hall, and Lindsay Fisher. After graduation, she went on to apprentice for the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble in Pittsburgh from 2011-2012. Following Ashley’s apprenticeship, she taught dance at an international school in Fuzhou, Fujian, China for two years. When she returned to Pittsburgh in June 2014, she worked with Shana Simmons and her project entitled “Passenger,” which was performed at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh. Ashley has worked with many students in her professional career and wants to continue to share her knowledge through dance education.
dance instructors Evanston

Morgan Cutler

Morgan Cutler grew up in Vernon Hills, IL where she received her training from Lincolnshire Academy of Dance, where she studied under Ms. Brenda Didier all the way through high school. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. During her time at Columbia, she had the privilege to study under artists such as Paige Cunningham, Dardi McGinley and Kelsa Robinson, where she was able to focus her studies on teaching and community engagement work. She was also fortunate enough to perform in original works by Peter Carpenter and Qudus Onikeku. Morgan has had the opportunity to dance with Alluvion Dance Chicago since 2015, where she has performed and created original works for the company. Additionally, she has been lucky enough to work with Mahalia Jackson Elementary School and Jones College Prep, both Chicago Public Schools, where she created two brand new dance residency programs for their student bodies. Morgan is eager and excited to begin working with Kaleidoscope team!
dance instructors Evanston

Caitlyn Huynh

Caitlyn Huynh grew up in Central Illinois, where she began her training at Stacy’s Dance Factory under Stacy Terry. She graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with a concentration in Contemporary Dance and a Certificate in Arts Administration. During her time at IU, Caitlyn received the privilege to perform in works by Larry Keigwin, Roger Jeffery, Angie Hauser, Elizabeth Shea, Selene Carter, and Roberta Wong. Upon graduation, Caitlyn moved to Chicago where she is currently a performing apprentice for Noumenon Dance.
dance instructors Evanston

Molly McGivern

Molly McGivern grew up in Davenport, IA and began her dance training at Illinois Ballet Theater under Susan Snider. Wanting to further her training, Molly left Iowa for boarding school, attending the University of North Carolina School of the Arts under Ethan Stiefel her junior year and Interlochen Arts Academy under Cameron Basden her senior year. Following high school, she went to the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music under Qi Jiang where she received her BFA in Dance. Molly’s professional career began in Boston where she danced with BoSoma Dance Company, Tony Williams Dance Company, and SundanceX. In addition to performing, Molly taught for Boston College, Tony Williams Dance Center, and Small World Child Care, giving her a passion for dance at all ages! Molly currently teaches dance to high schoolers at Little Black Pearl Academy in Chicago and free-lances with Joel Hall Dance in addition working at Kaleidoscope Dance.
dance instructors Evanston

Jenny Oelerich

Jenny Oelerich hails from Winnetka, Illinois and earned her BFA in Dance at the University of Illinois in Spring of 2019. During her time as an undergrad she had the privilege of working with Jan Erkert, Renee Wadleigh, and Abby Zbikowski among others. Choreographically, Jenny is interested in floor-work, partnering, and navigating full-bodied movement phrases that eat up space. Jenny is a dance teacher with students ranging from 3 years old to adults, and has recently earned her 200 hour yoga teacher certification under Linda Lehovec. Since graduating, Jenny has relocated back to the Chicagoland area.
dance instructors Evanston

Gabriela Ortiz

Gabriela Ortiz is excited to be a part of the Kaleidoscope team. She is pursuing a double major from Columbia College Chicago in Dance and Performing Arts Management. Gabriela has performed at Carnival Chicago, opened for Beyonce’s dancers at the Shrine, choreographed and danced in a national ad campaign for formidable entities, danced with several Chicago companies, including Desuaño, and currently enjoys choreographing for Chicago-based shows and dance companies. She has performed works by Pam McNeil, Trae Turner, Sofia Perez, Kris Bellive, Denita Inez, Ginger Jensen and international choreographer Xu Chung. She greatly enjoys sharing her love of dance while instilling self-confidence in all her dance classes.
dance instructors Evanston

Lauren Reed

Lauren Reed grew up in Milwaukee, WI where she received her early training from Young Dance Academy under Sandy Young and Milwaukee Ballet under Rolando Yanes. She graduated Cum Laude with honors from Butler University with a BFA in Dance Performance and a minor in Religion. While studying and performing at Butler, Lauren presented her own choreography in showcases in 2010, 2011 and 2013. She has also studied Cuban dance and religion, participating in two study abroad trips to Santiago, Cuba. Her research culminated in a thesis which has been sought for publication. Upon moving to Chicago, Lauren studied in Lou Conte’s scholarship program. She danced for Aerial Dance Chicago from 2014-2016 and still currently teaches aerial arts. She has danced with Project606 Dance since 2013, and continues to dance for other independent projects. Lauren teaches people of all ages throughout the Chicagoland area and calls teaching one of her biggest passions and sources of joy.

Laura Thurston

Laura Thurston studied dance at Northern Dance Theatre of Northern Illinois University and at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago where she graduated with a degree in Dance Performance. She began performing professionally in 2004 and has performed with Chicago Dance Crash, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, and Piel Morena Contemporary Dance, among other independent performance opportunities. She’s performed locally, nationally, and internationally. She founded Still Inspired(?) in 2013 in Chicago, where she completed producing and choreographing for the company’s 6th season in Chicago in February 2020. Laura thoroughly enjoys sharing her love for dance as a dance educator, teaching children, teens, and adults. She has taught dance for over 19 years, and was most recently on faculty at Virtuoso Performing Arts in Morton Grove, IL where she was the Director of Virtuoso Performing Arts Dance Company. Other recent dance faculty positions include: Gus Giordano Dance School & North Shore School of Dance in Highland Park. She’s had the pleasure of being on faculty for Dance Masters of Wisconsin, teaching master classes and judging competitions. She offers student choreographic opportunities through educational programming offered by Still Inspired(?) and mentors students for their own production showcasing their student choreography. Laura encourages individuality and artistry, providing each student with the tools to achieve self-awareness and confidence in a nurturing, exciting environment, and is excited to work with the students at Kaleidoscope Dance! Laura is forever grateful for her parents, who provided the opportunity to study dance in her youth and continued to encourage her through her young adult life as she pursued a career in dance. Laura’s life would not be complete without her husband, Andrew and her two, young children Parker and Clara.
dance instructors Evanston

Lizzi Wood

Lizzi Wood is a performer and dance educator originally from Austin, TX. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago in May 2016. While in school, she performed works by Erika Randall, Victor Alexander, Kristina Isabelle, Dr. Xi Zhang, Carrie Hanson, and Alexa Giacinto. While pursuing her studies, she also engaged in classes and workshops with world renowned choreographers Stephen Petronio, David Rousseve, Bill T. Jones, and Andrea Miller. Post graduation she moved back to Austin, where she performed with site-specific dance company Dance Waterloo, dancing in evening-length works Panorama Playground, Off the Wall, Therefore, and Rule of Three. In 2017, she appeared in Re-Collect: A Dance Film (Directed/Choreographed by Morgal Teel), which debuted in NYC at Gibney Dance and in Austin as a part of East Austin Studio Tours. She also served as Creative Director at PAIYH Dance Studios, teaching students of all ages and abilities. Lizzi is excited to be joining the Kaleidoscope team; and is looking forward to a joyful first year!
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