By Kristin Boza
Marylee Sinopoli’s entire life has revolved around dance. Like most girls, she began dance class at the age of three, but unlike most people, she made a career out of her dance passion. Sinopoli has been a fixture in the Beverly/Morgan Park dancing community for 35 years, first working at the Beverly Arts Center before opening her own studio, The Dance Gallery, 10628 S. Western. The studio has been a neighborhood dance hotspot for 18 years.
Sinopoli’s parents are artists, which inspired her to create an art gallery within the dance studio and use the “art of dance” tagline. Her mother, artist Barbara Majeski, created all the paintings and sculptures on display, and her father, Conrad Majeski, built the frames for the paintings and bases the sculptures rest on. “The studio is a big place and posters weren’t going to cut it,” Sinopoli said. “My mother created 20 acrylic paintings of all different types of dancers and five clay sculptures.”
Barbara Majeski is a self-taught artist and has participated in art shows throughout the Chicago area. All of the art showcased at Dance Gallery was made specifically for the studio and ties into the “art of dance” theme.
Besides her mother’s artwork, Sinopoli dedicates an entire wall to the artwork of her dancers.
“It all started in 1998, when a little girl drew a picture of a dancer leaping. I thought we could put the kids’ artwork up on the wall too,” Sinopoli said. “Some of those little kids [whose art is still on the wall] are now 30 years old and they love to come back to see their work; some of them have children in our dance classes. Sometimes I don’t realize how many people I affected. I go in and do my job day after day and all of a sudden somebody is bringing back their child. It’s so rewarding.”
“I remember saying when I opened that I’ll give it five years and if it doesn’t work out at least I tired. It’s now been 18 years. I’m very blessed,” Sinopoli said.
Sinopoli employs six professional instructors who teach children as young as age two up through adults, including a class for senior citizens.
“My team is wonderful and they all specialize in their field,” Sinopoli said. “I’m not a great tap teacher, but my instructors are. I also have some guys who are great at teaching hip hop and those who are wonderful with the little kids. It was very important to me to have good quality teachers; that really makes a difference.
Over the years, thousands of students have learned the art of dance at Dance Gallery. Currently, they have about 365 students dancing in 19 different classes based on experience or age. According to Sinopoli, “It’s a gift to be able to teach in my own neighborhood!”
Learn more about The Dance Gallery and classes at dancegallerychicago.com or call 773-445-8910.