About Studio Dance

Our Studio Dance program is designed using a detailed curriculum that takes you from beginner to advanced levels of instruction in a variety of dance forms. Our professionally trained and dedicated staff will teach and encourage your dancer to grow to his or her maximum potential.

Our dance program offers instruction in pre-ballet, ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, leaps and turns and lyrical. Classes are offered in the summer, fall and winter with a spring recital held annually.

Dance Attire

Please see the below list for what to have your child wear to dance classes.

Preschool Classes
(Tiny Dancers, Beginning Dance 1 and 2)
Dancer’s should wear a leotard, tights and ballet or tap shoes. The dancer’s hair must be in a bun, pony tail or braid. Skirts are optional.

Ballet Classes
Dancer’s should wear a leotard, tights and ballet or demi-pointe shoes or pointe shoes by teacher approval, The dancer’s hair must be in a bun, pony tail or braid. Skirts are optional.

Jazz and Tap Classes
Dancer’s should wear a leotard or tank/t-shirt, Jazz pants or loose fitted pants and Jazz and/or tap shoes. The dancer’s hair should be off their face or in ponytail.

Hip-Hop Classes
Dancer’s should wear comfortable clothing (no jeans), gym shoes, and their hair off of face or in ponytail.

Dancer’s should wear a leotard or tank/t-shirt, footless tights, jazz pants or lose fitted pants. No shoes or foot paws, and their hair should be off the face or in ponytail.

Above the Barre 
Gurnee Park District's Competitive Dance Company 

Is your child looking for an elite dance experience and an opportunity to compete with an award-winning performance group?

The Above the Barre Company is a core group of students that enjoy to dance, perform and compete in the styles of jazz, lyrical and contemporary. The class time is spent learning choreography and preparing for competitions. Dancers are invited to join the Above the Barre Company by teacher recommendation only.

Through the course of the year, the dancers will learn two dances, compete in two competitions, and perform at Gurnee Park District's dance recital.

Students enrolled in the Above the Barre Company must take additional ballet and/or lyrical technique classes each session. If a student does not enroll in the additional technique class they will not be able to participate as part of Above the Barre. 

Our Above the Barre performance group is a year-long commitment. Tryouts are held twice a year during the summer. 

Our 2023 dance recital will be held in late spring. We are pleased to announce that the theme for the recital will be: 

"Save the Date"

Below are important dates to keep in mind: 

Picture Day - Sunday, May 21 at Hunt Club Park Community Center

Dress Rehearsal Day - Friday, June 2 at Warren Township High School O'Plaine Campus

Recital Date: Sunday, June 4th (2 shows) at Warren Township High School O'Plaine Campus

Meet Our Instructors

We have the best dance instructors! They are professional, fun and experienced. View each of their biographies below:

Amelia Faulstick, Performing Arts CoordinatorAmelia Faulstick started out her dance career as a young child at Galina Dance Studio in Des Plaines. Upon graduation from high school, she continued her dance career by being in the dance company at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.  During her time in Carbondale she founded and started a dance program at Southern Illinois Gymnastics Academy which is still thriving to this day. She went on to finish out her undergrad at Columbia College in Chicago with a BA in Performing Arts Management with an emphasis in Dance. While in attendance at Columbia she had the opportunity to study and learn from many master teachers who have toured with different professional dance companies throughout the United States. In addition to her time at Columbia she continued her dance education with different Chicago based companies like Joel Hall, Gus Giordando, Hubbard Street, and Ruth Page. After graduation, Amelia became the dance director for Maine South High School Dance Company in Park Ridge where she mentors students through the choreographic process while producing and directing large dance productions.  While managing the company over the past 18 years she has also become a member of the Illinois High School Dance Festival committee that provides a one day festival of different styles of dance taught by professionals from all over the Chicagoland area for highschool students in Illinois. Amelia is currently entering her second season as the head coach for the Carmel Catholic High School Competitive Dance team. Amelia is excited to continue pursing her passion for dance as the new Performing Arts Coordinator for Gurnee Park District.

Kris Norwood, Dance InstructorKris Norwood started out her dance career at the North Shore School of Dance under the direction of Lisa Gold. Upon graduation of high school, she continued her dance education by studying with different Chicago based companies, such as Joseph Homes Dance Theater, Joel Hall, Gus Giordando and Hubbard Street. She received her BA in dance education from Columbia College. There she had the opportunity to study and learn from master teachers Shirley Mordine, Jan Eckert, Natalie Rast and Dardi McGinley-Gallivan. After graduation, Kris became the dance director for Memorial Park District and taught ballet, modern, lyrical, tap and jazz throughout the north shore. As her passion of children and teaching grew, she went back to obtain her Masters in Education from National-Louis University. Thereafter, she taught fourth grade in Grayslake and Northfield for over five years before becoming the after school director at Lake Forest Country Day School. Kris has been teaching at Gurnee Park District since 2010.

Erica Billiter has been dancing since the age of four. She studied ballet, tap and jazz for 16 years with Marva Joyce Dancers in Waukegan. She was the number one dancer at the studio since the age of twelve. With the Marva Joyce Dancers she performed in dance shows and parades. Once in college she performed with Prairie Spirits Dance Troupe for eight years. Erica traveled to Arkansas to perform in the World Festival of Dance representing the College of Lake County, preformed in Dance Chicago, and the Chiwaukee Dance Festival. She was a member of the College of Lake County’s Lancersttes Dance Team for two years. Erica has a BFA in Visual Communications from the Illinois Institute of Art. Additionally, she holds certifications in Zumba and Group Exercise.

Marie San Pedro no backgroundMarie San Pedro received her early training in ballet with Josette Salang and tap training under Jun-Jun Mabaquiao at Julie Borromeo Dance Arts. She continued to train in pointe technique at the Cultural Center of the Philippines under the British master Mr. William Morgan. In college, Marie became a member of the U.P. Filipiniana Dance Group under the direction of Corazon. During this time, she had the chance to perform in France, Germany, Bangkok and Jordan at the International Festivals. In 1990, she performed on T.V. with Powerdance, a professional jazz company. In 1993, she became a choreographer and dancer on one of the Philippine T.V. hip hop dance shows. She choreographed the Round Lake Park District’s production of The Nutcracker. Marie has been teaching dance at Gurnee Park District since 2008.

Dance Teachers NicoleNicole Lother received her BFA in Dance Performance from Northern Illinois University. While attending NIU, she performed in the Garland Waltz for Sleeping Beauty, in the Spanish Trio for Nutcracker and was a Wilis in Giselle. Nicole was a Director of NIU's Student Choreographic Showcase for two years. She received the Theatre Dance Service Award and the Talented Student Scholarship her senior year. She has been a member of Chicago National Association of Dance Masters for over 25 years. Nicole has continued her dance training by taking master classes from Kristen Gurbach Jacobson, Reginald McLauglin and Sandi Frahm. Nicole has been with Gurnee Park District since 2005 teaching everything from Tiny Dancer; our beginner level classes, to high level ballet and pointe. In addition, for the last 5 years, Nicole instructs, coaches and choreographs for the competitive dance company, Above the Barre.

Dance Teachers SamSamantha Murphey has been dancing since the age of two. She has continued her dance education by learning and performing with teachers from Girodanos Dance Company, The Joffrey Ballet and dancers from Justin Bieber's Believe Tour. Samantha was the captain of the Grant Community High School Varsity Dance Team in 2011. That year they won 6th in state for Hip Hop, and she was awarded the Sportsmanship Award at the Team Dance Illinois State Competition. She continued to be a part of the High School dance team scene by becoming a coach for the Warren Township High School Dance Team for a year and then become a certified judge for IHSA Dance. Samantha is our lead instructor for our Above The Barre Dance Company at the Park District. Her companies have received many 1st, 2nd, and overall awards for her choreography. In 2018 was awarded the Dance Teacher Excellence Award at the I Love Dance Competition. When she is not at the dance studio she is a preschool teacher in Barrington. Samantha has been teaching dance at Gurnee Park District since 2011.

Samantha WO BGSarah Syverud has been dancing since the age of 14 and began her dance training right here at Gurnee Park District! During her high school years, she danced as a member of the Above the Barre Dance Team and received multiple awards for performance in solos and groups as well as student choreography. Sarah graduated from Carthage College with a major in elementary education and a minor in dance. She was a very active part of her university dance department and performed in 8 dance shows and choreographed for 3 collegiate showcases. One of her works received department-wide recognition and an award for distinguished performance in dance. She was the president of Carthage’s National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) chapter and graduated with honors as a member of National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA). She has been teaching dance at Gurnee Park District since 2019, and loves sharing her joy and passion for dance with all of her students. 

Financial Assistance Program

Promoting fun is at the heart of what we do. With this said, Gurnee Park District wishes to provide families in need the ability to participate in programs through our Financial Assistance/Scholarship Program. To learn more, please view our application below.

Financial Assistance/Scholarship Program Application