Step, Kick, Kick, Leap, Kick, Touch… Again!

By Julie Hagemeier

“Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch…Again!” Those lyrics for the Broadway hit A Chorus Line conjure up those amazing musical theatre “gypsies.” Contemporary and ballroom dancing are showcased in the increasingly popular television competition programs Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance. And then, of course, there is ballet, especially the staple of the holiday season, The Nutcracker.

So what does a small midwestern city like Lincoln have to offer? Only a plethora of dance studios featuring all genres of dance and performances from the tiniest of ballerinas to professionals from around the world! Here are just a few opportunities for aspiring dancers: The DelRay Ballroom and Lounge was fashioned in the style of a 1940s dance club and is home to Nebraska’s finest ballroom dance instructors.

They introduce the basics to beginners and hone the skills of those with years of experience. Owner Shelley Fritz opened the DelRay after spending life since 1984 as a dance teacher and professional competitor. Fritz says that, “Ballroom dance never goes out of style. There is something about that personal connection of partnership dance that becomes a part of everyday life.”

Fritz said the popularity of film and television shows that feature ballroom helps the dance form maintain its popularity. There is such a demand for ballroom dance that the DelRay has Argentine Tango Mondays! Check out the DelRay at or 402-435-3344.

CK Dance Academy specializes in high-energy classes geared to performance. There are several levels of classes for seven to seventeen-year-olds that inspire children to dance and cheer. Two to seven-year-olds can learn a basic dance curriculum as well as an introduction to cheer techniques. Cheer teams learn cheers, chants, stunts and pom routines. For a more detailed list of all of their classes and opportunities, including a boys/guys Hip Hop Crew, contact founder Kari Swanson Neth and her instructors at 402-423-4048 or visit them at Swanson Neth says that, “Club Kicks is proud to perform all around Lincoln and the surrounding area.” In 2011, The Dance Company attended Dance the Magic at Disneyland performing in the parade and dancing on stage. The studio is located at 4820 Rent Worth Drive.

Hart Dance Academy, 4747 Pioneers Boulevard, has a training curriculum in Ballet, Tap, Musical Theatre and more, and has recently incorporated new classes in Acrodance, Cheer/Pom and several fitness options like Heart & Part and Zumba. Founder and director Tracey Gabelman-Hart says, “I love working with the younger students, You get to be so creative and fun.” Call her at 402-488-9444 or visit to be introduced to the staff and the schedule of classes.

The prestigious Karen McWilliams School of Dance, at 7400 Cross Creek Lane, is a Lincoln legend. At the present time, the McWilliams studio offers ballet, hip-hop, Irish, jazz, lyrical jazz, pointe, repertory and tap. McWilliams has taught thousands of students over the years, now moving into second-generation students. Read about Karen and the long history of her successes at or for more information, call 402-489-2320.

The Pure Movement Dance Institute begins training dancers as young as two as long as an adult accompanies them. Training includes ballet, tap and creative movement. For the older student, there is instruction in Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop, Tap, and Ballet for every level of expertise. PMDI founder and owner Rhea Gill holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and is a professor of dance and aesthetics at Doane College as well as the executive director of Arts Are Basic, an arts and education program affiliated with the Lincoln Center Institute in New York. Gill is “committed to children’s arts education.” The PMDI studio is located at 2100 Fletcher Avenue. Find more information and class schedules by calling 402-466-7797 or visit

Marcia Kirk established Studio 2 in 1991 in order “to create a studio with small classes so students could receive more personal attention from their teachers.” Although there is no competitive component, there is a performance group called Stars. Students are invited to perform in Stars and are seen at various venues during the holiday season, and open and close the May recital at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. Classes are available for ages three through adult at 3601 Calvert Street, Suite #19. For a listing of classes and performances, call them at 402-489-6622 or visit

True Dance & Co at 5445 Red Rock Lane might be best known for two annual events, Lincoln Midwest Ballet’s The Nutcracker at the Lied Center for Performing Arts and its summer dance camp. True Dance was started by Shari True in 1980 and has since provided instruction in classical ballet, jazz, Pointe, lyrical and tap to countless area youth. In 1985, True helped form Ballet Midwest Dance Company (now Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company) in order to give young dancers the opportunity to perform in major works of classical ballet. 2011 marked her 25th season choreographing The Nutcracker. For classes and opportunities, go to or call them at 402-423-8838.

Training at the Universal Dance Academy also begins at age two and progresses through adult. Classes are offered in Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Repertory, Musical Theatre, Hip Hop, and Cheerleading. Owner/Directors are UNL graduates Vivian Ball and Angela Beery who both hold BFAs in Dance Education and Performance. Ball and Beery say they have “a great love for the arts and for the children…and receive great joy in watching children grow while learning about the wonderful world of dance.” The studio is located at 400 North 48th St. For more information call 402-477-5900 or go to

Others include Cheer and Dance Express, with programs in both Lincoln and Beatrice, 402- 489-5111,; Starstruck Dance Academy, 402-474-1000,; the Conservatory of Contemporary Dance, 402-405-6470,; Divas Dance Studio, 402-420-9270,; Motions Dance Academy, 402-420-0579,; and Ashley Penington’s Dance Arts Studio, 402-467-2772.

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