Dance Center Chicago is your home for dance whether you are a hobbyist, competitor, or instructor.


Take a look at our monthly course offerings and private lessons.


Freelance instructor? Find your home at DCC with our studio rentals.


Hone your skills for that upcoming competition with our studio rentals.

Introductory Drop-In Classes – Wednesdays @ 7p & 8p

Join us every Wednesday night for our group Drop-in Ballroom and Club Dance Sampler. No reservations or partner needed! Level I – 7pm Basic steps and a turn or two in two styles. Level II – 8pm Additional turns and variations in the same styles.


Single class – $12 per person
6-Class package* – $66 per person
10-class package* – $100 per person

*Packages may be shared by a couple.

Upcoming Schedule


May Dates

04 – Tango & Waltz
11 – Cha Cha & Merengue
18 – Salsa & Nightclub
25 – Bachata & Foxtrot


June Dates

01 – Cha Cha & Swing
08 – Rumba & Waltz
15 – Bachata & Salsa
22 – Tango & Nightclub Two Step
29 – Hustle & Samba


July Dates

06 – Swing & Foxtrot
13 – Merengue & Bachata
20 – Hustle & Salsa
27 – Waltz & Nightclub Two Step

My fiance and I started our dance classes here the other night. With Mari’s expert and encouraging teaching, we caught on pretty quickly. We can now box step AND turn. We also have a good hold. Risa P.

Progressive 4-Week Classes
Dive into a new style with a seasoned pro.

Chicago is home to many of the best partnered dancers in the country, and we’ve all been down the road of studio-hopping and trekking across town to suss them out.  However, that’s about to change!
Beginning this June, Dance Center Chicago is kicking off a fabulous new program.   We’re bringing the experts to you with New Styles for All Dancers By the Best in their Field.
Join us each month for rotating schedule of Level I 4-Week Progressive group classes taught by the experts.  
Mondays June 6, 13, 20 ,& 27
7pm: Salsa I w/Dennis PaSamba, Chicago’s Salsero
8pm: Swing I, w/ Julee Mertz, Big City Swing
Cost:  $65 per student, $60 with pre-registration, $40 with valid student ID
Maximize your visit! Grab a 2-pack; take Salsa I and Swing I for the discounted price of $100.
Class duration: 55-minutes
Class series: 4-consecutive weeks
Registration is currently open!  Don’t miss this great opportunity to access some of the best in the field!  To enroll, just give us a ring 773.880.5044, email us, or enroll online.  

Dennis Pa Samba, Chicago’s Salsero
Salsa I in June

Dennis started the Dennis PaSamba dance school in 1992. His background and teaching includes: International and American Style ballroom,  Hip hop,  Lyrical,  Tap,  Ballet, Argentine tango, West Coast Swing,  Hustle,  Kizomba,  Zouk,  Bachata, Salsa, and Mambo…just to name a few. Dennis has traveled internationally as a coach, instructor, and choreographer. 

Julee Mertz,
Big City Swing

Swing I in June

Julee has traveled the world teaching Swing, Jitterbug and Lindy Hop, those contagious partner dances that swept the nation during the 1930’s.  She’s a master instructor (also appearing on stage and screen), she’s known for her clarity and ability to get folks swing savvy in no-time.

Introductory Package – Welcome to Dance Center Chicago

Kick off your discovery of a fabulous new hobby with a great combination of group classes and private lessons

3 Drop-In Classes – 60-minutes, Wednesdays at 7pm
2 Private Lessons – 55 minutes, by appointment with Resident Instructor in the Ballroom
1 Fabulous Studio – We are very excited to meet you!
$125 for an individual, expires 6/30/16, saves 19% over a la carte prices $150 for a couple, expires 6/30/16, saves 21% over a la carte prices
Purchasing Details: – The increase in price for the couple reflects the additional participant in the drop-in classes. – Package must be redeemed by June 30, 2016.  Redemption of elements outside of the expiration date will be charged the balance of the a la carte price. There are no sales pitches or bait-n-switch schemes or additional packages up-sells during your lessons.  This is an opportunity to explore 6 different styles via the drop in classes and learn even more about your favorites styles during the private lessons. We’re just excited to share our love of partnered social dancing with you.

Schedule Your Private Lesson Today!

Call Us


Email Us

Please include the following information:

  • Is this for an upcoming event?
  • What dance style(s) are you interested in?
  • Best dates and times for you?
  • Do you prefer a resident or master instructor?


Want more info? Please see our Frequently Asked Questions.

Private Lessons

Are you looking to prepare for a special event, begin a new hobby, or hone your competitive skills? Meet with one of our talented resident or master instructors one-on-one. We offer private lessons seven days a week so you can meet at a time that fits your schedule.

Click here to view and request appointments.

Resident Instructor Pricing

1-2 Participants

$60/hour $275 for a 5-lesson package

3-4 Participants

$80/hour $375 for a 5-lesson package

5-6 Participants

$100/hour $475 for a 5-lesson package

Master Instructor Pricing

1-2 Participants

$75/hour $350 for a 5-lesson package

3-4 Participants

$95/hour $450 for a 5-lesson package

5-6 Participants

$115/hour $550 for a 5-lesson package

Meet our Instructors

Cassaundra Spargur, Master Instructor

Cassaundra has been a professional ballroom dance instructor since 1999. She has competed in International Standard & Latin and is certified through Silver in American Style. Previous to coming to Chicago, she lived in the San Francisco Bay area where she did most of her training. Most recently, she lived, taught, and competed in Sydney, Australia for 2 years. Cassaundra is fun, patient, and loves to make technique accessible to everyone, including beginners.

Brad Courtney, Master Instructor

Struck by the ballroom bug early, Brad competed with and lead his University of Missouri Ballroom Team. In 2006, he turned his hobby into a career by turning pro. He is certified through DIVIDA in all styles and is currently competing professionally in American Smooth and International Standard. He has achieved success in both styles as a finalists in numerous competitions in the Rising Star Professional and Open Professional categories. What makes him smile the most is helping his own students reach and exceed their own goals on the social and Pro/Am competition floor.

Mari Ford, Master Instructor

Inspired at a collegiate event, Mari’s love for ballroom dancing led to an interest in competition dancing, a study of foundational principles with world-class coaches, and, in 2004, studio ownership with her husband Ron. Having come full circle, Mari believes that couples dancing energizes both body and mind. She enjoys sharing her dance insights with a diversity of students.

Ron Ford, Resident Instructor

Ron Ford is former competitive dancer, who specialized in the International Ballroom (or Standard) category. He is a two-time US Amateur Standard Champion, and a finalist of various US Professional Championships. Since 1981, Ron has taught both private and group lessons to dancers, ranging from beginners to advanced competitors. Along with his wife and partner, Mari Ford, Ron founded Dance Center Chicago in 2004. Although very experienced and accomplished, Ron feels that he is still learning, and never tires of helping couples dance together with confidence, comfort, and style!

Malin Noreen, Resident Instructor

Malin enjoys introducing the joy of dance to people of all ages and backgrounds, whether for special occasion, recreational, or competitive goals. She started teaching in 2002 while a member of the Ballroom Dance Team at the University of Michigan, Collegiate National Champions. Malin continues to train with top coaches to develop her dancing, and brings this life-long enthusiasm for dance to her lessons.

Richard Leffingwell, Resident Instructor

Richard walked into his first ballroom studio in Chicago nine years ago and has not looked back. After four years as a serious student, Richard successfully completed a dance-teacher training program in 2011, and is knowledgeable in the American Smooth, Rhythm, and
Nightclub styles. His personal philosophy is that dancing is for everyone and has many incredible benefits, that he himself has experienced many times over. Richard is a natural educator with an incredible love and knowledge of partnered dancing and is excited to share both with you.

Andrew Belbin

Andrew Belbin, Resident Instructor

With 7 years experience, Andrew loves dancing and sharing dance with the world through performance and teaching, from wedding and occasion dances, to social dance, to competitive and exhibition dancers. Whatever your goals, from meeting people, to finding and surmounting a new challenge, to exploring a new skill, Andrew looks forward to dancing with you!

We took private dance lessons from Ron for several months. He is just great.

My boyfriend had called a number of places in Chicago about private ballroom dance lessons, and this was the only place that didn’t blanch at the idea of giving lessons to two men. Kudos to them. The lessons were excellent — and fun. Ron has a great feel for how quickly you are picking things up and will basically teach you whatever you want to know.  He is a pleasure to work with.

Hugh B.

Need Some Space?

Dance Center Chicago can meet your rental needs.

Teach a Class

Great options for freelance instructors.


Practice for an upcoming competition, or to refine your skills.

Host an Event

Host your next dance event or workshop here.

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Freelance Instructors

Dance Center Chicago has four private studios and one shared ballroom floor. Please see our gallery for photos and more information on each space, and our FAQ for our rental policies.

Freelance Instructor – Monthly Practice Pass Perk
We know practicing your own skills can be a scheduling challenge, so we would like to make it easier for you.

When freelance instructors complete and pay for 5 hours of instruction in a calendar month, they are awarded a free monthly practice pass for the following month.  This pass provides access to the shared ballroom floor during normal business hours.  The billing minimum to receive this perk is (5) private room rentals, (5) 60-minute lessons on the ballroom floor, (6.5) 45-minute lessons on the ballroom floor, or a combination therefore totaling $65.00 of rental fees.

Private Studios

Private studios range in size from 800 to 1000 square feet. Each is mirrored and is equipped with a sound system ready for CDs, iPods, laptops, and phones. Reservations are required. Please call 773-880-5044 or email us to request a reservation.  Drop-in requests are accommodated whenever possible. Volume discounts are available for five or more students when a contract is signed for the same date and time for four or more consecutive weeks.

1-2 Students


3-4 Students


5-8 Students


9-12 Students


13-15 Students


16+ Students


Shared Ballroom Floor

Our shared floor is great for instructors working with an individual or pair and teaching social dances like Ballroom, Latin, Tango, Swing, and Salsa. The shared floor is available during our normal business hours. No reservations required.  

Mondays 4-10pm
Tuesdays Noon – 10pm
Wednesdays 4-10pm
Thursdays Noon – 10pm
Fridays 5-9pm
Saturdays 10am – 6pm
Sundays 10am – 6pm

Please note, group classes, defined as two or more individual dancers, are required to reserve a private studio.

1-2 Students

$13 per 60-minute lesson
$10  per 45-minute lesson


Our shared ballroom floor is open for individuals and pairs for practicing social dances like Ballroom, Latin, Tango, Swing, and Salsa, and is available during our normal business hours. Prepare for a one-time event or purchase a monthly practice pass. Please see our FAQ for more information on our practice policies. No reservations required.

Please check out Location and Hours for our holiday schedule.

Practice Times

Mondays 4 – 10pm
Tuesdays Noon – 10pm
Wednesdays 4 -10pm
Thursdays Noon – 10pm
Fridays 5 – 9pm
Saturdays 10am – 6pm
Sundays 10am – 6pm




$35/person $70/pair

Private Studios

1-2 Participants – $13/hour
3-4 Participants – $15/hour
5-8 Participants – $20/hour
9-12 Participants – $25/hour
12-15 Participants – $30/hour
16+ Participants – $35/hour

My dance partner and I are competitive ballroom dancers. We were so thrilled to find such a good place for us to practice. This place is not a franchised business. As a ballroom dancer, I feel that this place provides people, new or old to ballroom, a place to connect with others and a sense of community. You will see advance dancers practicing at the big ballroom as you walk into the studio. Don’t feel intimidated. They are all very happy to meet new people and provide help to the new comers. KT H.

Host an Event or Workshop

Rent our private studios or ballroom floor for your next event or workshop.


Please call us at 773.880.5044 or email us with the following information and we will get back to you shortly with our availability and pricing options.

  • What type of dance will be featured during your event?
  • What is the estimated number of attendees?
  • What is the desired duration of your event, including time for set-up and clean up?
  • What is your desired start time?


Please call us at 773.880.5044 or email us with the following information and we will get back to you shortly with our availability and pricing options.

  • What are the requested dates and times for your workshop?
  • What is the topic or style of dance of your workshop?
  • What is the estimated number of participants?
  • What is the estimated age range of your participants?

Our Studios

Click on the image to see more details about each space.

Reserve Your Space Today!

Contact Us
All social dancers of any level are invited to join us on the Second Sunday of the month for a fun night of social dancing. We kick off the evening with a beginner-friendly lesson, then open up the floor for dancing. We play a mix of smooth and Latin music to accommodate most styles. No partner necessary! Come out and and enjoy a perfect night of dancing whether you are new to dance, or have been dancing for years. Sweet and salty snacks will be provided, and our evening is BYOB for our guests who are 21 and over.

Our Upcoming Second Sunday

Date: Sunday, June 12, 2016 w/ emcee and DJ Cassaundra Spargur
Doors Open: 6:45pm
Beginner-friendly AMERICAN TANGO Lesson:  7:00pm
Open Dancing: 7:30-10:00pm
Music:  Fantastic variety and selection of both Ballroom and Latin tunes
Cost: $10, inclusive of the lesson. $5 student discount with valid ID
Dress: Casual. Please bring dry, smooth-soled shoes.
Parking:  Parking is currently free on Lincoln Avenue on Sundays

Future Second Sunday Dates

July 10th – Swing
August 14th – Foxtrot
September 11th – Rumba
October 9th – Masquerade

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Have a fun and memorable first dance. We offer both group classes and private lessons to fit your needs.

Private Lessons

We’ll help you create a graceful, natural, confident dance to wow you and your guests. Even one lesson will make a difference in your comfort level, and comfort is the key to looking confident on the dance floor. If you can squeeze in three lessons, we’ll have time to help you with a lovely entrance, impressive turns, and a picture-perfect ending. If you’ve planned just a bit ahead, try fitting in five lessons to add a bit more variety (and practice) to your dance. Please see our section on Private Lessons for more information on pricing and availability.

Malin, Thank you for helping us to prepare for our first dance as husband and wife!  We really enjoyed our private lessons and we surprised many guests with our moves!  The day before our wedding, we practiced in the backyard – and it was such a nice way to spend time together before all the events started.  Thank you again! Lauren and Mark

3 Week Wedding Group Class

This class teaches a modified fox-trot or “slow” dance designed for couples preparing for the first dance at their wedding reception. Our instruction ensures you and your fiance will feel comfortable leading and following each other through a smooth and relaxed dance, and the social setting lets you meet and greet with other engaged couples. Through our 3-week series, you will learn:

  • The fundamentals of partner dancing
  • A stylish entrance
  • Numerous turns
  • A picture-perfect ending

At the end of the class, you will receive a copy of our Instructional DVD, which makes remembering the steps and practicing at home even easier. This class is offered at our sister studio, Big City Swing. Click here to visit their website for additional information and online enrollment.

Schedule Your Private Lesson Today!

Call Us


Email Us

Please include the following information:

  • When is your wedding?
  • If already selected, what is the title and artist of your song?
  • What is your availability?
  • Do you have a preference between resident or master instructor?
  • How many lessons would you like?


Want more info? Please see our Frequently Asked Questions.

Give the Gift of Dance

Know someone who loves to dance? Give them the perfect gift.
Purchase Here
Have a question? Call us at 773-880-5044 or send us a message using the form below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Location and Hours

3868 N Lincoln Ave, 2nd Floor Our entrance is on Byron St between Kick and Chase Bank

Dance Center Chicago

Mondays         4:00pm – 10:00pm – Closed May 30 for Memorial Day, July 4 for Holiday
Tuesdays        Noon – 10:00pm
Wednesdays  4:00pm – 10:00pm
Thursdays      Noon – 10:00pm
Fridays           5:00pm – 9:00pm
Saturdays       10:00am – 6:00pm
Sundays         10:00am – 6:00pm

Julee Mertz – Director

After running Big City Swing for 15 years, a really interesting letter came across my desk in late 2010 from the founders of Dance Center Chicago announcing they were selling their business. After meeting Ron and Mari Ford and touring their facility, I went across the street to the Irish Pub, discussed this amazing opportunity over a Scotch with my (now) husband, and realized I had fallen in love in DCC. I was honored when Ron and Mari entrusted me on October 1, 2011 with the growth of this amazing dance community. Dance Center Chicago continues to be a resource for hobbyist and competitors, full time and freelance instructors. It’s been a pleasure to not only build our DCC dance community but meet so many wonderful Zumba, Tango, Salsa, West Coast Swing, Balboa, Balkan Folk and Belly Dance experts and enthusiasts. As a Lindy Hop and Swing specialist myself, I spent 10 years teaching the world over. I think the most exotic line on my resume is “Lindy Hop Workshops in Hobart, Tasmania” which kinda makes “Lindy Hop Workshops Edinburgh, Scotland” sound, well, nearly domestic. I love traveling so much, I even gleefully agreed to a surprise honeymoon locale. (The guidebook is above. Email me with your guess.)

Renaudo Christiansen-Robinson – Assistant Director

Julee plucked Renaudo right from the ballroom floor and asked him to join the administrative team. His knowledge of the ballroom world, his attention to detail and his communication skills, in both English and French, are just a few of the attributes that have propelled him to Assistant Director of Operations for both Dance Center Chicago and our sister studio Big City Swing. He is clearly a graduate of the University of Michigan. Renaudo is also a classically-trained violinist, holding both a Master’s Degree and Performance Certificate in Violin Performance. He has performed throughout the US as well as in Europe. His inspirations include Jessye Norman and David Oistrakh, among many others. He’s been known to practice at the desk before the studio opens, and it is delightful!

Nancy Ford – Admin Team

When we were looking for a seasoned dance studio administrator, the teaching staff unanimously clamored, “Go get Nancy!” And we did! Nancy brings (we will never reveal exactly how many) years of ballroom studio management experience. In addition to being a lovely dancer herself, she’s our guru of studio maintenance and she discretely shines a light into the ever interesting tales of the ballroom world we affectionately call “As The Mirror Ball Turns”. We suggest you follow her sage advice from everything from wedding dance lessons to shoes, coaching, costumes, hair design, child rearing and well, just, about everything else. When she’s not dancing or delighting our clients, Nancy is knitting! Her current endeavor is the Turkish Knot. Get in line for your Christmas gift list, we’ve got our orders already in!

Group Class FAQ

What should I wear?
Wear whatever you feel comfortable dancing in! We encourage you to wear smooth-soled shoes that aren’t too heavy.

Do I need a partner?
Partners are not necessary, as we rotate partners in the class. If you bring a partner and prefer not to rotate, you are absolutely invited to do so.

Do I need a reservation?
Reservations are not necessary. Pop in when you can, or join us multiple weeks in a row and be ready for any style the DJ throws your way.

Private Lesson FAQ

When do you offer private lessons?
We offer private lessons 7 days a week by appointment.

How do I schedule a private lesson?
Please call 773-880-5044, or email us at to schedule your private lesson. We require pre-payment or a credit card on file to secure the lesson.

What is your cancellation policy?
We require 24-hour notice for a cancellation. Cancellations made within 24 hours will be charged in-full for the lesson.

What is the difference between a master and resident instructor?
While all of our instructors all possess the talent, patience, and sense of humor to bring the best out of each dancer, master instructors have more teaching and professional dance experience.

Studio Rental FAQ

Are reservations required to rent space?
Our Shared Ballroom is generally available for drop-ins during business hours. Reservations are required to rent our private studios, but we will try to accommodate drop-in requests. Reservations require a credit card on file to be secured.

What is your cancellation policy?
We require a 24-hour notice for reservation cancellations. Cancellations made within 24 hours will still be charged for the rental cost.

Do you give discounts for recurring rentals?
A volume discount may be available to a group renting the same day and time for 4-consecutive weeks or more. Email us at to request your preferred date and time, and we will email you a rental contract for your review.

Are there any styles you prohibit?
Because we are on the second floor, we do not allow tap, Irish step dancing or other percussive dances which may disturb our neighbors below.

Can I play music in the Shared Ballroom?
While everyone is invited to play music in the Shared Ballroom, instructors have priority as they are paying a premium.

What happens if there are multiple styles in the Shared Ballroom?
When dancers from multiple disciplines are present, Lindy Hoppers, Westies, and Salseros will practice in the center of the Ballroom, leaving the outside track available for the ballroom dancers who progress around the floor counterclockwise.

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