Summer Intensive Guest Artists

We will be offering two dance intensives this summer: A ballet intensive and a contemporary intensive. 

Intensives will be three days of very focused 3 hour intervals of dance Monday-Wednesday and an informal showing on Thursday. Dancers will receive a technique class followed by a rehearsal during which they will learn a short segment of choreography.  Intensives will be taught by a guest artist.  The intensives will culminate in a mandatory, brief informal studio showing on Thursday. Families will be encouraged to attend this showing. It will be an opportunity to view the choreographic material taught during the intensive and also meet the guest artist involved. 

There will be two levels of each intensive offered. Dancers will be placed in the appropriate level upon registration. A minimum registration of 6 dancers per level will be required for each intensive to run. 

We will be releasing dates and more specific details soon. Stay tuned! 

Partial participation cannot be accommodated. Summer intensive classes are not eligible for punch cards or discounts. 

Ages 10 – 18
Monday – Wednesday: 10am – 1pm, Thursday: 10am – 11:30am
$180/ 4 day intensive 


Our Ballet Intensive will take place June 20 – 23.  We are excited to introduce our guest artists for the ballet intensive!


Sarah Schafer began her dance training on full scholarship at The School of Ballet Omaha with Robin Welch and Robert Vickrey. She also received scholarships to Dance Aspen, Briansky Saratoga Ballet Center, and The Hartford Ballet School and later went on to train with such
notable teachers as Jillana, Larry and Dolores Long, and Birute Barodicaite in Chicago. Beginning her professional career as a dancer with Ballet Omaha at the age of 17, she danced works by Balanchine, Lou Christiansen, Mauricio Wainrot, and Charles Moulton, among others. After moving to Chicago in 1996, she continued her career dancing in Ruth Page’s “Nutcracker”, and with companies such as Paul Abrahamson’s Moose Project, Luna Negra Dance Theater, The Civic Ballet of Chicago, and Alma Dance Company. Sarah went on to dance for the Dallas Opera, Omaha Theater Ballet, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago for many seasons. In 2003 she choreographed “Momentum is a Vector” for the Omaha Theater Ballet.

Sarah’s teaching credits include Chicago Conservatory for the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, Columbia College Chicago, Joffrey Academy of Dance, Lou Conte’s Dance Studio, The Ruth Page Foundation, Visceral Dance Studio, Dovetail Studios, and Chicago Ballet Arts. Since 2002, she has spent her summers in Taos Ski Valley, NM, teaching for the Jillana School Summer Intensive and Technique In Taos, and has taught intensives and master classes for Lincoln Midwest Ballet and Mississippi Metropolitan Dance Academy as well. Sarah has been honored to teach company class for many professional dance companies including South Chicago Dance Theater, Thodos Dance Chicago, Inaside Chicago Dance, River North Dance Company, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Chicago Repertory Ballet, and New Mexico Ballet Company. In addition to teaching ballet for over 25 years, she has been a certified Pilates
instructor since 2004.



Bennett Cullen began his dance training in the suburbs of Chicago, and continued training at the University of Iowa. He has previously danced for The Big Muddy Dance Company where he has performed work by Brian Enos, Kirvan Douthit-Boyd, and Prince Lyons. He has also had the privilege to perform works choreographed by Ohad Naharin, Shannon Alvis, Ramon Flowers, Stephanie Miracle, Sarah Olson, Marc Macaranas, Eloy Barragan, Jennifer Kayle, Armando Duarte, and Meredith Stapleton. Additional training includes Hubbard Street Dance Chicago summer intensive, Gibney and Bates Dance Festival Connect winter intensive, Threads Dance Project summer intensive, DanceWorks Chicago summer intensive, and The Cambrians summer intensive. Bennett is excited to begin his first season with Visceral Dance Chicago as a Company Artist



Our Contemporary Intensive will take place July 18 – 21. We are excited to introduce our guest artists for the Contemporary Intensive!


Sinead Gildea is currently a Director for Forum Dance Theater in Libertyville, and Co-Artistic Director for Motions Dance Company in Bartlett. Sinead graduated from the University of Iowa, where she was a member of Dancers in Company (the University’s professional touring company) for two years. She was a co-founder and the Executive Director of Impetus Dance Theater, a professional dance company based in Chicago. She has danced with Impetus Dance Theater, Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre, The Cerqua Rivera Art Experience, and has also had the pleasure of dancing for Harrison McEldowney, Eddy Ocampo, Randy Duncan, Jan Erkert, and many more. She was a featured dancer for the Black Orchid Supper Club and Dance Captain for Flirt Cabaret. She has performed in programs on ABC, WGN, and WTTW, in many Chicago dance festivals and benefit performances, and for numerous production companies for commercial and private events. 
Sinead currently teaches in the Chicagoland area and has taught master classes throughout the Midwest. She has been on staff at Lou Conte Dance Studio, the IL High School Dance Festival, Inaside Chicago Dance Intensive, and many more. Sinead was the sponsored choreographer for Inaside Chicago Dance’s 2012 season, and has also choreographed for Impetus Dance Theater, Dance in the Parks, Impulse Talent Group, and Fisher Dance Center’s professional production “The Journalist”. She has also choreographed for numerous student performance ensembles, high school orchesis groups, and dance teams. Her choreography for Whitney Young High School was voted Best Choreography by the audience at Dance Chicago 2008’s Dance Slam, and again in 2018, and was also featured on the primetime 20/20 special featuring Michelle Obama. 



Lauren began her training at the Faubourg School of Ballet under Watmora Casey. She attended Grand Valley State University and graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance. Upon graduation she was chosen to receive The Outstanding Undergraduate Award in Dance by her professors. Lauren’s choreography was chosen to present at the American College Dance Festival, and was later selected to be featured in the Gala.
Professionally, Lauren was accepted into the Lou Conte Dance Studio Scholarship Program under the direction of Claire Bataille. She was also with Giordano Dance Chicago’s Second Company for two seasons. Lauren had the privilege of being a backup dancer for Beyonce on Oprah’s Farewell Episode at the United Center. She has also been featured in many musical productions at the Marriott Theater as well as Drury Lane including Chicago, Evita, The Nutcracker, and Now & Forever and more. 
Recently, she was a featured choreographer in Thodos Dance Chicago and Danceworks Chicago’s NEW Dances: A New Generation. She also had the privilege of choreographing for Still Inspired(?) in a collaboration with the local visual artist Mary Porterfield. Lauren has also earned the position of Assistant to the Director for the Marriott Theater’s production of Junie B Jones: The Musical. Last summer she had the pleasure of choreographing for Dance in the Parks directed by Katie McCann. 
Lauren is the Founder and Artistic Director of Main Street Ballet Company in Lake Zurich, mentoring and coaching young dancers in the discipline of ballet. She is also the Owner and Director of Synergy Dance Academy in Bloomingdale and M3 Dance Company, a 501c3 competitive dance company.