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Our Mission

Our mission is to provide the most professional dance experience possible all while offering quality instruction to dancers of all ages and abilities. We understand that students enroll in dance for various reasons. It is our vision to build the foundation to make it possible for all students to attain their personal goals. At Byron Dance Academy, we pride ourselves in creating an atmosphere that gets the very best out of each dancer. This positive environment allows each dancer to grow in confidence and self-esteem while mastering the many different dance styles and techniques.

  • Meet the Instructors

    Cultural Arts Program Manager- Jessica Julian

    Jessica has been teaching dance for twenty-three years. As a former dancer herself, Jessica studied at several different diverse studios in the Stateline area and knows first-hand the impact dance can have on young lives. She loves teaching all styles of dance and is wonderful with dancers of all ages. Her passion for music and kids shines through in her creative choreography and class atmosphere! Jessica was a member of Fourth Movement, a semi-professional ensemble that toured in Europe. She has also danced all over the United States and won many top-scoring awards at both regional and national levels while competing. Her choreography has been featured at several dance studios in the Stateline area. She has enthusiasm and passion for teaching, and it shows! Jessica always gets the very best out of her students with her wonderful choreography and the positive class environment she creates.

    Dance Instructor- Sophie Hernandez

    Sophie is so excited to be back in the Rockford area as a dance teacher for Byron Dance Academy. Sophie has been dancing for nineteen years and has been teaching for six. She brings a fresh and fun energy to the dance room! Her experience being a trained competitive dancer has given her an edge in her classes. Along with many recital pieces, she has choreographed three musicals and special performance pieces for studio owners across the Stateline area. Dance has always been a huge part of her life and she is thankful for the opportunity to reach out to more students and continue sharing her love of dance throughout the community.

    Dance Instructor- Hannah Otte

    Hannah has been dancing for thirteen years and teaching for seven. She began her dance journey with a community dance group in the styles of Hip Hop and Cheer. Then moving to a program called CYT (Christian Youth Theater), Hannah studied multiple dance styles including: Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip hop, Ballroom, Swing, Rockettes, African, and Musical Theater! After graduating high school, Hannah joined CYT as a dance instructor where she taught dancers of all ages and abilities for five years before joining the BDA team. Hannah is heading into her third season with us and we are very lucky to have her on staff.

    Dance Instructor- Hannah Breault

    Hannah has been dancing for sixteen years beginning her passion to dance at four years old. Her many years of studio training lead her to perform and compete on her high school dance team all four years where she adapted highly competitive technique onto her previous dance foundation. She also performed in two musicals where she was selected as a dance coach and created a positive learning environment to help the cast successfully carry out each dance routine for the shows. Although she has trained in many styles of dance, Hannah has a fire for hip hop and is thrilled to be able to share her enthusiasm and love for dance at BDA!

    Dance Instructor- Hannah Doane

    Hannah has been dancing for 19 years and this is her first year assisting/teaching. She started with recital classes at 2 years old and eventually entered the competition world. Her passion for dance really sparked during her high school years. Hannah competed at many different competitions including the prestigious YAGP, where she was awarded a scholarship to UNCSA. She began training Pre-professionally with Elements Contemporary Ballet at the age of 15. She earned many different scholarships for schools, conservatory's, and intensives such as the the New York City Rockettes. Hannah has always loved all styles of dance, but Ballet will always hold a very special place in her heart. Ballet has shown her how to live her life with discipline, grace, strength, and beauty. She is beyond grateful to have this opportunity to help mold the students into wonderful dancers and humans!

    Dance Instructor- Taylor Doane

    Taylor began recital classes at age 4 years old and has been dancing for 17 years. She also spent some of those years dancing competitively. She has trained at several diverse studios, and studied from a variety of instructors at the collegiate level. Taylor has been trained in a variety of styles, but has always had a love and passion for Tap! She has recently graduated from the University of Tampa with her BA in Exercise Physiology. She is beyond excited to incorporate her schooling and help dancers understand how to properly train and take care of their bodies for a sport like dance. Taylor has always had a strong desire to give back to the dance world and thankfully BDA has a place for her to do so! She looks forward to giving students a space to create and express themselves all while becoming stronger both mentally and physically. Taylor is committed to not only helping her students grow in dance, but also as humans. We are thrilled to have Taylor's talent here at the Byron Dance Academy.

    Dance Instructor- Erin Spedding

    Erin grew up dancing at various studios in the Rockford area and studied all areas of dance with an emphasis in Musical Theatre and Tap. Erin has over 20 years of teaching and choreography experience with dancers of all ages and levels in various styles of dance. In 2009 Erin opened her own studio and led a very successful competitive dance program achieving various choreography, performance and studio awards at both the regional and national level. In 2015 Erin stepped away from the studio to spend more time with her husband and two daughters. She is excited to be back as a lead instructor for her second season with the Byron Dance Academy staff and is looking forward to sharing her passion and love for dance and the performing arts.

    2022-23 Assistant Dance Instructors

    Alana Julian Annabella Barker Taylor Fabish

  • Registration Information

    Byron Dance Academy offers a year round recital dance program that begins in the fall and concludes with the recital in late spring. Registration for the 2022-23 recital dance season will kick of with Dance Registration Day, August 23-24, 2022. Please contact Cultural Arts Program Manager, Jessica Julian with any questions at jjulian@byronparks.org or 815-234-6279.

    RETURNING STUDENTS - TUESDAY, AUGUST 23

    • 4:00 pm-6:30 pm: Tiny Tot, Combo, Mini Hip Hop levels
    • 6:30 pm-8:00 pm: All level classes 1 and up

    *Returning students are those who completed a full year of dance in 2021-22, or those who will participate in our 2022 summer program.

    REMAINING RETURNING STUDENTS & NEW STUDENTS - WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24

    • 4:00 pm-5:30 pm: Returning Students (All dance levels & ages)
    • 5:30 pm-8:00 pm: New Students (all dance levels & ages)

    *New students are those who are enrolling for the first time for the2022-2023 dance year.

    For a complete list of our current program offerings including dates, times, and fees please visit our online registration site here:

    Click Here

  • Class Descriptions

    Please note, not all dance classes are offered year round as part of our recital program. A variety of non-recital adult and youth dance classes are typically offered in the winter and spring months. For a complete list of our current classes, click here...

    BALLET 1, 2 & 3 will provide an environment where dancers will be able to challenge themselves and grow. Ballet serves as a great foundation for all styles of dance. It allows each dancer to improve essential skills such as balance, coordination, discipline, and overall strength. This class will offer ballet barre technique as well as across the floor combination.

    BOYS' CLASS will explore the worlds of tap and hip hop! Dancers will spend time learning techniques from both styles. Each week they will master choreographed steps that will provide an atmosphere in which their confidence and skill will grow.

    COMBO LEVEL 1, 2 & 3 will help dancers discover three ways to have a blast dancing! Each week dancers will learn technique and choreography in ballet, tap, and jazz. The growth that is possible when combining all three styles into one class period is both exciting and incredible!

    COMPETITION PREP CLASS will work on all of the key technical elements that will improve their ability and prepare them for Competition Dance Team auditions. This will be a sneak peek at some of the new and exciting elements that team dancers will be working on throughout the Competition season. This class will also provide a great foundation for any dancer to grow and improve from. We will be working on deep stretching, strength, mobility, and balance exercises as well as a detailed look into how to execute basic turns and jumps properly.

    HIP HOP LEVEL 1, 2 & 3 will create a fun and exciting environment. In this class dancers will learn stylized choreography that they will build upon for two weeks to master memorization. This class is perfect for boys and girls that have no prior dance experience and want an opportunity to perform.

    HIP HOP MINI will introduce boys and girls to different styles of hip hop dance and even some jazz funk! Each class will consist of some stretching and conditioning as a warm up and will lead into learning short dance routines. Dancers will grow in skill, memory, and confidence! Each dance combo that is learned will be worked on for two weeks at a time giving them a chance to master the steps.

    JAZZ will introduce each dancer to the world of rhythm! This class will energize and bring out the best in each dancer. Learning technique that evolved from years ago in the dance era and also in mainstream Jazz today. Jazz is a creative way to move and will surely allow each dancer to explore more of their personality.

    JAZZ LYRICAL 1, 2 & 3 will introduce two styles of dance. Each dancer will learn skills and choreography in both styles. This class will work on improving flexibility, balance, memorization of steps, and expressing movement connected to meaningful music. Lyrical gives each dancer the chance to take a message from a song and bring it to life through choreographed steps.

    MODERN CONTEMPORARY will provide a very unique and stylized learning opportunity. Delivering an exciting atmosphere of rhythms and different methods on how to use the body in a creative way. This class will teach dancers choreography that will challenge them and build them into strong performers.

    MUSICAL THEATER will offer dancers the opportunity to expand and grow in confidence in ways that they never imagined! In this 30 minute class, dancers will be presented with choreography that pairs up with well-known musicals from all eras. Dancers will gain knowledge on how to pair acting and dancing together. Learning Musical Theater routines will produce a creative, fun, and very energetic atmosphere that your dancer will not want to leave!

    POINTE will spend the first few minutes of class doing exercises to strengthen/warm up their muscles in their ankles and feet. After we put on the pointe shoes, we will be doing simple, introductory exercises at the barre to get the students used to the idea of being up on their shoes. Dancers will be taught proper form and technique, most of which they will already be familiar with from their ballet classes.

    PRE-POINTE is new to BDA! Come join us for some classical ballet training and get your ballerina ready for her first pair of pointe shoes! Pre-pointe will be utilizing exercises that help dancers strengthen their feet and ankles. This will prepare them to begin pointe. We will work on articulating the feet during our regular ballet barre routines. We will also develop essential skills center floor and introduce basic pointe fundamentals.

    TAP 1, 2 & 3 will offer a variety of tap technique steps, as well as tap combinations that will improve coordination and syncopation in each dancer. Providing the ability to take music they hear and turn it into rhythm on the floor is both challenging and rewarding all at the same time! Learning tap creates a fun and exciting environment where dancers will develop many skills. Being trained in this style also helps dancers excel in other styles.

    TINY TOTS "Tiny dancers" will learn about balance, coordination, and rhythm. It will be a fun and encouraging environment that will allow them to grow using their imaginations and bodies to create dance steps. They will gain knowledge of ballet and tap technique and will learn how to create dance combinations individually and working with a group. They will also use props (bean bags/balls) to enable them to memorize and develop better fine motor skills.
  • Competition Team

    Save the dates for the 2022-2023 Byron Competition Team Auditions! There are no fees associated with auditions. Dancers must be at least 7 years old and have 2 prior years of dance training to be eligible for BDA team. Competition dancers will compete at 2-3 Regional Competitions in 2023. Along with making special appearances at local events such as ByronFest, Candlelight Walk, and Miracle on 2nd Street. Team dancers also have the opportunity to train at an elite dance convention with professional choreographers featuring all styles of dance. Please call Jessica Julian at 815-234-6279 with any questions you have!

    DATES: Saturday, July 30 or Sunday, August 7
    AGES 7-10: 10:00-11:30 am
    AGES 11-18: 12:00-1:30 pm
  • Costume Deposits

    A costume deposit fee will be required for each recital class. Half of the deposit fee will be billed at the beginning of session two. The remaining balance will be billed at the beginning of session three. Costume deposits are non-refundable. Students will be measured for their recital costumes mid-November and costumes will be ordered in December. Costumes will be distributed upon arrival once the class' full order has been received.

    Class Deposit Fee
    Combo Classes $85
    Jazz/Lyrical Classes $100
    Level Classes $70
    Tiny Tots & Mini Hip Hop
    $60
  • Dress Code

    Required Dance Attire:

    Ballet Level 1, 2 & 3: Pink ballet shoes are required. The following attire is acceptable: leotards, tights, spandex shorts, ballet skirt, and leggings.

    Boys Class: Clean hip hop sneakers are required. The following attire is acceptable: t-shirts, athletic shorts, joggers, and sweatpants (more fitted than baggy).

    Combo 1, 2 & 3: Pink ballet, black tap, and black jazz are required. The following attire is acceptable: leotards, ballet dresses, spandex shorts, leggings, fitted tanks, ballet skirts, and fitted t-shirts.

    Hip Hop 1, 2 & 3 and Hip Hop Mini: Clean sneakers are required. The following attire is acceptable: athletic clothes such as, t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, leggings, joggers, and fitted sweatpants. NO JEANS

    Jazz/Lyrical 1, 2 & 3: Nude turning shoes are required. The following attire is acceptable: leotards, fitted tanks, fitted t-shirts, spandex shorts, leggings, and joggers.

    Musical Theater: Black jazz shoes are required. The following attire is acceptable: leotards, fitted tanks, fitted t-shirts, leggings, spandex shorts, and joggers.

    Tap 1, 2 & 3: Black tap shoes are required. The following attire is acceptable: leotards, fitted tanks, fitted t-shirts, leggings, spandex shorts, and joggers.

    Tiny Tots: Pink ballet and black tap shoes are required. The following attire is acceptable: leotards, tights, dance dresses, spandex shorts, leggings, and fitted tanks/t-shirts.

    NOTE: Shoes/attire can be purchased at Foot Lodge, Payless Shoe Store, and Walmart.

  • MASTER DANCE WORKSHOPS

    New workshops and guest instructors to be announced in our 2023 Winter Spring Program Guide!

    For a complete list of workshops including dates, times, and fees please visit our online registration site here:

    Click Here

  • Saturday Dance Workshops

    Want to learn a new style of dance or simply try a few classes for fun? Join BDA staff for our Saturday Themed Workshops! These workshops will give dancers of all ages a chance to sharpen their technical skills, learn exciting and challenging choreography to specific genres of music/movies, or even try dance for the first time!


    Prima Ballerina - Our final workshop of 2022!

    December 10

    Bring your ballet shoes and tutus and take a journey through some of the most memorable and iconic ballet performances known to date! Your dancer will experience ballet combos and choreography from many well known ballet productions such as the Nutcracker and Swan Lake! Class levels include beginner, intermediate and advanced. Class times and fees will vary by level.