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.
Teacher / Front Desk Coordinator
Ana has been dancing since the age of 2. She is a graduate from Sycamore High School, where she was an officer for Orchesis Dance. She danced Ballet, Lyrical, Hip Hop, contemporary and more. She was also a member of the NIDC Elevation Company for 10 years.
Currently she is a student at Hair Professionals.
Teacher / Front Desk Coordinator
Abriella also known as Ella has been dancing with NIDC since the 2009-2010 season. She has been dancing since she was three years old. She attends Sycamore HIgh School and was a member of the 2017 NCJC Champion SMS Dance Team at Sycamore Middle School. She has competed with NIDC for what will be her 8th year this year, and has competed in Jazz, Poms, Musical Theater, Tap, and Hip Hop.
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.
Elevation Choreographer / Teacher
Eli started dancing at age 3 for Beth Fowler School of Dance in Genoa, IL. After a few years, he decided to concentrate on gymnastics. He returned to dance at age 17, dancing for Lewis Dance Progressions out of Belvidere, IL. While having some experience in jazz and ballet, Eli’s main focus was hip-hop. Under the direction of Robert Lewis, he had extensive training and won numerous awards and national titles at competitions. During this time he also had the opportunity to perform at many community and professional sporting events.
After Eli’s competition years were over, he began teaching and creating competitive choreography for studios in the Northern Illinois area. His dances have won numerous national titles over the last few years. He has also won choreography awards as well as a most entertaining award at a national competition.
In addition to this, Eli continues to train as much as possible. He enjoys taking classes whenever he can, learning new styles to expand his knowledge and abilities. He has also had the opportunity to travel to New York and Los Angeles to train with top choreographers.
Eli is very excited to be at NIDC. He looks forward to bringing his skills to a great studio and working with amazing dancers and instructors.
Preschool Program Coordinator / Elevation Curtsy Company Coordinator
Mindy is our most experienced instructor at NIDC. The students just love her and her exciting class! She teaches all forms of dance at all age and talent levels. She is very knowledgeable about children and all things dance. She has taught and run her own dance studio in the DeKalb area. Mindy is currently working as a pre-school teacher and getting her degree in education.
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.
Mattie Hayes has grown up in Sycamore her whole life being heavily involved in both dance and volleyball. It wasn’t until high school when she realized dance became something more to her than volleyball ever did. She participated in the Sycamore High School Orchesis Dance Company and eventually gave up her volleyball career to put her full efforts into dance. She took the next step and decided to attend NIU where she then made their dance team on scholarship.
She was a Silverette all four years of college while studying rehabilitation to become a geriatric Occupational Therapist.
Originally from the Chicago area, Shelly grew up dancing and performing in and around her home town of Worth, IL. With over 20 years of experience, she is very excited to join the NIDC staff. Shelly currently teaches Dance and Fitness at Sycamore High School, where she is the Assistant Artistic Director to the Orchesis Dance Troupe. Shelly enjoys her family, friends, water skiing, practicing and teaching yoga and traveling.
Even further, she is an avid believer in living life to it’s fullest, dancing your heart out, doing what you love