A love for dance
Sophia Gibson (from left), Lauren Bergelson and Mae Cody run through drills at the North Shore School of Dance in Highland Park. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
NORTH SHORE SCHOOL OF DANCE
Owner: Lisa Gold, of Glenview
Address: 505 Laurel Ave., Highland Park
History: Started in Highwood as the Carol Walker Dance Studio in 1971. Gold took over in 1989, moved the studio to the corner of Central Avenue and Green Bay Road in Highland Park in 1995, and relocated to the current Highland Park location six years ago.
More information: www.northshoredance.com or (847) 432-2060.
Updated: September 3, 2012 6:12AM
HIGHLAND PARK — Lisa Gold has been having the last laugh for 24 years.
After her first year of dance lessons as a 5-year-old growing up in Highland Park, Gold’s parents removed her from the class because they didn’t think she was any good.
After giving it another chance four years later, Gold never stopped dancing.
As the owner of the North Shore School of Dance, a studio she took over in 1989 in Highwood and later moved to Highland Park, Gold is now passing on her love for dance to a new generation.
“It’s truly been generation after generation,” said Gold, who now lives in Glenview. “It’s really been exciting to see everybody grow into adults whether they went into dance or anything else.”
Gold noted that some of the girls she danced with as a child in Highland Park have brought their children or grandchildren to her studio for lessons or camps.
Despite her slow start in dance, Gold eventually carried the art with her through Wayne Thomas Elementary, Northwood Junior High and Highland Park High schools. As a Giant, she was captain of HPHS’s “Pharis” dance club.
Dance ‘a gift’
“Dance has been a gift,” Gold said. “I’ve devoted my entire life to it. I don’t know a whole lot more outside of dance because I submersed myself in it. Dance was the only thing that made me feel like I was giving, that I was feeding my soul. It made me happy and I couldn’t stop.”
The passion drove Gold to take over Highwood’s Carol Walker Dance Studio. Starting in Highwood, Gold moved the studio to the corner of Central Avenue and Green Bay Road in 1995. Six years ago, she moved the North Shore School of Dance to its current location across the street from the Highland Park Public Library, at 505 Laurel Ave.
“It’s been a tradition for many, many years,” she said.
While the North Shore School of Dance has produced dancers who have gone on to careers in dance with some of the most renowned dance companies in the country, she maintains that her goal and approach to teaching is not designed for that route.
“Some have also become doctors, lawyers, and CEOs,” Gold said. “They’ve gone on with their lives but continued to be in love with dance and great supporters of the art.
“Dance is an art from, not a competition,” Gold said. “I stay true to that. I don’t like the competitive sport of it. It’s a whole different world and it’s not what we are about.
“We aren’t going for medals. We are here to feed souls and make hearts happy.”
Gold’s studio adheres to both traditional and contemporary teaching methods. All of the studio’s teachers have come from professional dance companies or bring college degrees in dance.
“That to me is what sets us apart,” she said. “We create a very well-rounded dancer.”
Together, the school offers ballet, contemporary and modern techniques, jazz, hip-hop, bollywood and other classes throughout the year. Programs start for kids at 2 years old; dance companies are designed for those eight and up; and the studio’s oldest dance student is in her 70s, Gold said.
The North Shore School of Dance boasts six studios, all of them with sprung floors, air conditioning, high ceilings and dressing rooms, one for boys and another for girls. In total, Gold’s studio reaches about 600 students in classes or camps every year.
Most of the studio’s big recitals are held at Lake Forest High School, including its popular version of “The Nutcracker” every winter.
And Gold plans to continue doing it forever.
“Probably until I can’t walk,” she said. “This is what I know, what I do, what I believe in.”