Northern Illinois Dance Center is dedicated to providing you with a premium dance education, but also a memorable experience. Consistent improvement is a top priority, but equally important is ensuring a fun environment that allows for team building and everlasting friendships.
We at Northern Illinois Dance Center value the importance of family. As a family-oriented business we strive to provide not only a comfortable, fun environment for our dancers, but also for their families. Our studio offers wireless internet and a homework lounge, allowing students and their parents a space to work and study while in our studio.
Our dedicated staff, most of which have a background in education aside from dance, offer a unique area of expertise. Focusing on their individual strengths, each member of our staff provides expertise-based instruction to allow for a fun, self-esteem boosting environment.
Our instructors have all been background checked through Good Hire.
Raelyn started taking dance classes when she was 7 years old. She was also a dance coach and a preschool teacher for many years. She now has combined two of her passions in the various preschool aged dance classes she teaches.
Raelyn loves running NIDC, and believes that this studio has so many unique opportunities to offer to parents, families, and students alike. She has enrolled NIDC to be an IDEA member/studio, which provides her staff with many resources to teach the best classes possible. Through IDEA and the “Dance Life Retreat Center,” Raelyn has completed multiple classes, seminars and certifications to keep NIDC at the forefront of dance education.
She is also a certified International Ballet Barre Fitness Association Instructor and offers multiple adult barre classes throughout the week at NIDC in our exclusive workout space. She uses the skills that she learned through this certification to also lead our FlexFix class–a class that focuses on dancer strength, flexibility and stamina.
Raelyn strives to make NIDC a safe home away from home for both her dancers and their families. Our studio “home” place for dancers to come to learn and grow in not only dance, but also in life. She loves how dance can help a child’s confidence soar! She is proud to offer a variety of teachers who specialize in all different dance disciplines and specialties–which helps NIDC’s students grow even more.
Assistant Studio Director / Elevation Company Director
Atlee has been teaching for NIDC since our opening in 2009. She has danced herself since she was three years old and has competed in lyrical, jazz, and tap since age nine at both Summer’s Academy of Dance in Crystal Lake and Dixon Dance Academy in West Dundee. Atlee was on the Sycamore High School Varsity dance team for all 4 years in high school, and she was also the first president of the Orchesis Dance Company. She coached the Sycamore Middle School dance team for five years (the winter 2015-2019 seasons), and helped them win five consecutive NCJC championship titles.
Atlee received her bachelors degrees from Northern Illinois University and recently graduated with her Masters in social work from Our Lady of the Lake university. She is now a licensed and practicing elementary school social worker and a family and children mental health clinician with focuses on pediatric counseling, trauma, crisis management, school social work and children’s advocacy.
Atlee has had professional training in a variety of styles that brings a fresh aspect to her dance classes. She likes to incorporate new styles, techniques and ideas to create an edge in her routines. Atlee’s classes focus on the importance of strong technique, individual growth, artistic ability/performance quality, and overall dance quality. She runs our competitive experience, Elevation Dance Company—and brings a unique view to her teaching that stems from her years in competitive dance as a child and teen.
Ballet Program Coordinator / NIDC Performance Group Coordinator / Elevation Choreographer
Courtney has been dancing since the age of three within the Hampshire area. She has studied with some of the nation’s leading ballet and jazz professionals including Natalie Geever, Chris Johnson, Tammy Newquist, Beth Fowler, Kristina Leonard and Sheri Gilpin.
While a company member of the Beth Fowler Dance Company Courtney was featured in roles such as the Russian Doll, and Chinese Soloist in the Nutcracker, and the Spring Fairy in Cinderella. She has performed with Pastiche Dance Ensemble of Milwaukee, performing at multiple art galleries, Harley Davidson’s 100th Anniversary, and Summerfest dancing different repertoires including the Matrix. She has danced at a Rock River Raptors Football games and also previously worked with Studio A’s award winning competition dance team.
Courtney hopes to continue to share her love of dance with the dancers of Northern Illinois Dance Center.
Hip Hop Director / Elevation Choreographer
Analisa has been dancing since the age of 2, and has been dancing at NIDC for about 12 years, competitively for the last 10. She is a graduate from Sycamore High School, where she was an officer for Orchesis, the school’s dance program, and involved in many clubs and activities. She has been well versed in many styles of dance, and has continued her dance education with master classes with renowned choreographers such Mia Michaels, Travis Wall, Katherine McCormick, and the Shaping Sound Dance Company, among many others.
Outside of dance, Analisa is a hairstylist, a graduate of Hair Professionals, and a hairstylist at Studio 815 in Genoa.
Ana is excited to bring new techniques and approaches to create an exciting and fun environment for her students. Excited to be taking on the hip hop program, and sharing her love of dance with the future of the art themselves.
Teacher / Front Desk Coordinator
Abriella has been dancing since the age of 3, and has been dancing at NIDC for about 12 years, competitively for the last several years. She is a senior at Sycamore High School, where she is involved in Orchesis, and track. She loves musical theater and tap, and is excited to share her love of dance with her students. Outside of dance, Ella is a hairstylist in training, a student at Hair Professionals in Sycamore. She is excited to bring her energy and personality into her classes and create a fun environment for her students and to collaborate with her fellow teachers.
I have been dancing since the age of 3. I enjoyed learning jazz, ballet, pointe, lyrical, and more. I was also heavily involved in my church dance group for 14 years, dancing on missions trips across the US and in Ireland. I taught a dance team of kids ages 5-11 at my church for 4 years and loved it!
Along with dancing, I also love playing and teaching piano. I’ve been playing piano for 12 years and teaching for 2 years.
I am currently teaching ballet, jazz and lyrical. One of my favorite parts of teaching at NIDC, is getting to watch and help students work hard, make new friends and improve their dancing abilities.
Preschool Program Coordinator / Elevation Curtsy Company Coordinator
Mz. Mindy Walker has been teaching Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Creative Dance, Preschool Dance, Character, Hip Hop, and Tumbling for over 30 years. Her love for dance started at the age of 5 at her hometown dance studio in Kentucky. She studied dance and was trained in their honors program. Her training led her to extended classes, advanced training, competitive dance teams, and many community performance opportunities at local events. She began a teacher apprentice teaching program at the age of 14 and fell in love with teaching dance. She began assisting and teaching her own classes while in high school at the studio and also performed for the local H.S. poms/cheer squad. She continued her technical training into college and after through professional workshops and masterclasses with CNADM, Rhee Gold Dance Life Conferences, and many more. Her extensive training includes instruction from dance greats such as Gus Giordano, Al Gilbert, Patricia Dickinson, and Bruce Stegmann. Her love of teaching children led her into many jobs like Nanny, Camp Counselor, Preschool Teacher, Daycare Provider, Dance Teacher, Studio Owner, Certified K-5 Teacher, and currently an ELL/ENL Specialist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree and an ELL/ENL certificate from Western Governors University. She has been an ELL/ENL teacher for 6+ years and 20+ years teaching students of all ages. She currently works with students in grades Kindergarten through 5th grade and services 12 different languages. In her spare time, she enjoys teaching dance, reading about history, being a tech geek, spending time at the lake, and spending time with her husband of 33+ years. She also enjoys teaching international students online in a one-on-one English immersive classroom to Chinese students. Her passion is building a strong dance foundation for early learners and beyond. She is excited to be a part of your dance student’s dance journey. She has shared her passion with so many dance students that call her Mz. Mindy, Mz. Min, or Coach Mindy for our Curtsy Team.
Payton has been dancing since the age of five and participated on NIDC’s Elevation team from 2012-2018. She graduated from Marengo Community High School and currently attends the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, but she tries to visit and help out with the studio whenever she’s home from school.
She enjoys all styles of dance, but favors tap most of all.