Next Level Dance Foundation: Inspiring the Community Through Dance and Arts 

By Aaqila Harvey  

Founded by Katrina Dillard in 2020, the Next Level Dance Foundation has become a beacon of hope and resilience in the Beverly/Morgan Park community. Despite the widespread closures of dance programs due to the pandemic, the Foundation has remained strong, offering a creative and supportive space for youth. Over 200 children have participated in their program, each bringing unique enthusiasm to the dance floors.  

The Foundation offers diverse classes to ignite every child’s passion for the arts, including various dance styles and video and photography media arts. They aim to teach skills while nurturing creativity, confidence, and community.  

Katrina Dillard, founder and creative director, is at the heart of the Foundation. A North Carolina Central University alumna with a degree in Business Management, Katrina founded a dance team on campus in 2003 that thrives 20 years later. She inspires individuals of all ages to use dance, theatre, and media arts as therapeutic tools to conquer life’s challenges. Her passion is deeply rooted in her experience as a mother of two, Jeffery and Egypt.  

“Our purpose is to shine a light on the youth in the community and encourage the community to not give up on them because they need us NOW more than ever,” Dillard said.  

Join the Chicago Outdoor Fitness & Dance Festival  

Mark your calendars for Saturday, July 20, for the Chicago Outdoor Fitness & Dance Festival presented by the Next Level Dance Foundation and A Village in the City. This free, all-day event for kids and teens of all ages will feature fitness classes, vendors, and a special appearance by DJ Boi Jeanius. The event runs from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Prairie Park, 11625 S. Oakley Ave. See the website www.nextleveldancefoundation.org for more information. Let’s get healthy and have fun together!  

Calling All Vendors  

We are looking for vendors in the following categories to participate in this exciting event: • Scholar Resources • Health/Wellness • Beauty and Grooming • Sports Apparel and Fitness Gear. If you or someone you know fits into one of these categories and would like to participate in this community event, please get in touch with Katrina through their website: nextleveldancefoundation.org.  

Together, we can make a difference and inspire the next generation of artists, athletes, and scholars. Join us in supporting the youth and celebrating the power of dance, fitness, and community. 

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Finding Waldo in the 19th Ward 

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