By Kristin Boza
When you think of dance in Beverly/Morgan Park, Marylee Sinopoli and her studio, Dance Gallery, 10628 S. Western, come to mind. For more than 20 years, Sinopoli and her team have taught dance — along with grace, poise, and patience — to little ones and mature ones alike.
One of the greatest compliments for any teacher is to begin instructing her former students’ children. Two former Dance Gallery students are now “dance moms” for their own little girls who are learning the art in the same place they did.
“We are honored and blessed to have two legacy dancers with us,” Sinopoli said. “These moms danced with me many years ago and now wish to continue the spirit and love of dance with their own children.”
Melodie Henton got into dance because of her mother’s influence, and now she’s imparting that same wisdom to her daughter, Yakira.
“My favorite memories as a dancer was the enthusiasm of Miss Mary; she was full of energy, excitement, and encouragement,” Henton said. “I was inspired to return to the Dance Gallery with my daughter because of the impact Miss Mary made on my life; I didn’t become a professional dancer, but the importance of poise and femininity has stuck with me. I am so excited for Yakira’s journey at the Dance Gallery.”
Dainya Little danced at the Dance Gallery from the ages of 7 to 18, and the highlight was performing two solos at the studio’s recital her senior year.
“I loved the lifelong skills and techniques I learned from the Dance Gallery and I wanted my daughter, Daleia, to have the same opportunity,” Little said. “Dance Gallery is unique because of the skilled teachers, the technique that is taught to girls at such a young age, and the diverse environment.”
Sinopoli is amazed when she hears about the impact she and the Dance Gallery have had on her former and current students. “You go day after day doing your job and you just don’t realize how many people you impact,” she said. “I am so blessed to be able to do this in my own neighborhood and I love this wonderful little community that I helped create. It’s amazing when I see generations coming back.”
During the pandemic, the Dance Gallery has been able to remain open due to the diligence of the families and the protocols in place. The winter session begins Jan. 4; register at DanceGalleryChicago.com.