Welcome to the Richland Dance Program!
We would like to introduce you to an exciting and unique dance experience. This is a program geared to the overall development of the student. It encourages proper technique and vocabulary of steps in the following dance disciplines: ballet, hip hop, jazz, tap, Irish, and tumbling. We incorporate discipline, respect, and team spirit in an exciting fun atmosphere with qualified and experienced teachers.
Richland Community College Dance Program Mission Statement
The Richland Community College Dance Program is committed to providing the highest quality dance training in a professional but personal and friendly environment for children ages two to adult. Our non-competitive approach to dance education develops attributes such as discipline, self-confidence, improved learning skills, self-esteem, creativity, self-expression, imagination as well as an increased appreciation for dance and other art forms. We emphasize strong dance technique in all our classes throughout each stage of growth and development. In addition to both of the Richland Dance Companies, our program produces two dance productions a year that offer opportunities for students to build their performance skills in front of an audience. This experience will certainly benefit students in growing and building their careers. Our goal is to instill not only a love for dancing in our students, but also a sense of pride in their achievements that can serve them throughout their lifetime.
The Richland Dance Program
Richland Dance Classes offer instruction in ballet for ages two through adult; instruction in jazz and tap for ages four through adult; instruction in tumbling for ages four through thirteen; instruction in hip hop for ages five through adult. Please refer to the course schedule for more information on class days and times.
There are several excellent opportunities for public performance within the Richland Dance Program.
Richland Youth Dance Company
The Richland Youth Dance Company is a performing group (ages 6 to 11) for the community with a fall, spring and summer tour. Company members will build stamina and develop artistic expression while learning the various styles of dancing. Students should be enrolled in at least one other dance class. Dancers from any studio are welcome to join, and no audition is necessary.
Richland Dance Company
The Richland Dance Company is a performing group (ages 11 and up) for the community with a fall, spring and summer tour. The group consists of intermediate to advanced level dancers in ballet, traditional jazz, and tap. Students should be enrolled in at least one other dance class (preferably ballet). Dancers from any studio are welcome to join.
Richland Hip Hop/Modern/Jazz Dance Company
The Richland Hip Hop / Modern / Jazz Dance Company is a performing group (ages 11 and up) for the community consisting of beginning, intermediate to advanced level dancers in hip hop, modern, or jazz. Dancers from any studio are welcome to join.
The Spring Dance Concert
The Spring Dance Concert includes all dance and tumbling classes. Each class learns a routine and performs in costume for the enjoyment of family, friends, and the community. This exciting event gives students poise and confidence as well as demonstrating to others how much they, the students, have progressed and what they have learned throughout the year.
The Nutcracker Ballet
Richland Ballet has performed The Nutcracker Ballet annually since 1995. Dancers from other dance programs are encouraged to participate.
The Richland Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker Ballet is a holiday tradition and the only local production. This is an optional opportunity for dance students. Classes do not participate, and dances are not taught to the classes as a whole. Ages six through adult are welcome to audition; please contact the Special Events office (875-7211 ext. 6170) for additional information.
Dance Classes Offered
A variety of credit and non-credit dance classes are available both for children and adults. Adult Intro to Ballet, Jazz, and Tap are offered to teens and adults who wish to pursue a lifelong interest in dance. These are beginning and intermediate classes.
A large selection of classes is available for students from 2 1/2 years of age to adults. Students begin their ballet training under the guidance of professional dance instructors and continue to advance through a succession of ballet and pointe classes that will bring them to the pre-professional stage of development. Annual presentation of the Nutcracker Ballet offers students the opportunity to participate in a full ballet production.
Jazz classes ranging from Pre-Jazz to Advanced Jazz take the student from kindergarten through adult with progressive movements and dance exercises designed to increase the student’s proficiency and flexibility.
Basic tap exercises, movements and combinations are presented in an atmosphere of fun and learning. More advanced students increase tap skills and add to their vocabulary of steps.
This class is designed for children ages 5-9 who would like to learn basic tumbling skills.
A high-energy class that breaks down the basics of Hip-Hop and will have you moving to your favorite music.
Irish dance is the art of combining century old dance steps in centre, across the floor as well as manége (in a circle).
Richland Dance Instructors
Nancy McReynolds, Artistic Director
Though I’m a Decatur native and graduate of Millikin University, I received my Master in Theater Arts at Denver University in Colorado. I have attended many master classes and training schools with the most notable being the training certification with the Royal Academy of Dance for all grade levels in Fort Wayne, Indiana and Champaign, Illinois, and training at the Gus Giordano Dance Studio in Evanston, Illinois.
During high school and college, I performed in plays and several Theatre 7 productions. I have participated in many dance concerts in Bloomington, Illinois, performing with the Twin City Ballet Company, USA Ballet, Agape (Christian Dance Company), and Synergy.
As a choreographer with Theatre 7, I have worked on productions including Quilters, Brigadoon, Annie, Leader of the Pack, Into the Woods, Fiddler on the Roof, and She Loves Me. Additionally, I have choreographed Metropolis, which won the Decatur Herald’s Choreographer Award, Fantastiks, and many dance concerts throughout the years. My co-director and choreographer credits include several ballets, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, and Coppelia.
My directorial experience began at Millikin University with Green Pastures and later as an assistant director for additional productions at Millikin. These opportunities allowed me to direct and work with professional actors on stage. I have had the opportunity to assist Alexander Bennett for several years with dance productions in Bloomington. One highlight of my career includes my work as Ballet Mistress of the Scottish American Ballet in Edinburgh, Scotland where I worked in rehearsals, classes, and performances with Andrei Ustinov, formerly of the Kirov Ballet, and Jaroslov Slavicky, Ballet Master of the Prague Opera in Czechoslovakia.
My name is Jan Taylor and I teach Modern Dance, Ballet, Hip-Hop, and Tumbling here at Richland. Since 2009, I have danced at Ees’ aBella Belly Dance’s studio, Healing Arts Boutique and Studios, and have been a pioneer in teaching children to belly dance. I love to dance. I live for dance. Dancing makes everything better.
I’m originally from Decatur and attended St. Teresa High School where I was a cheerleader and involved in Drama Club. In high school, I studied dance under Gary Schull at Millikin University. I attended Rockford College and while living in Rockford, performed on the semi-professional dance team, the Rockford Lightning Silverstreaks. During my junior year of college, I had the opportunity to study dance and music theory abroad in London, England.
After I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis on Dance, I packed up and moved to California with dreams of being a star. There I studied at Debbie Allen’s Dance Studio and Debbie Reynold’s Dance Studio. Though I didn’t become a star, I enjoyed my fun in the sun. I returned to the Midwest and moved to Chicago where I worked as a choreographer and model for the Chicago Hair Association Annual Hair Show, on the television show ATV (after Hours Television), and worked with children at Lifetime Fitness in their after school program. While in Chicago, I took classes at Lou Conte Dance Studio.
I continue to be a dedicated student and performer and have traveled to large events like Tribal Revolution and ISAMETD, where I performed with BlackSheep BellyDance. I’ve had the honor of learning and working with so many dancers including Kajira Djoumahna, Tempest, Therese Wyatt, Arikah Peacock, and teachers from Blue Lotus Tribe.
I have learned through the years that you have to be the star of your own show. I want to teach everyone I meet to be the star of their own show, the star of their own life. I look forward to meeting and dancing with you!
My name is Melissa Gillis and I have been a part of Richland’s dance program for the past 16 years. I am a graduate of St. Teresa High School and Millikin University where I earned a bachelor’s in Human Services with a minor in Spanish. Throughout high school and college I was active youth group and other church activities and volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters and at St. Mary’s Hospital.
For twelve years, I was a member of the Richland Dance Company. The majority of my ballet classes were under the instruction of Nancy McReynolds. I have danced in many productions including Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Lion King, Wizard of Oz, Les Miserables, Swan Lake, Jewels, and 15 performances of The Nutcracker.
I am extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity to share my love of dance with my students. I look forward to learning and dancing with my students and other teachers.
My name is Laura Hauge and I’m a 2015 graduate of Mt. Zion High School. While in high school, I was a member of the Mt. Zion Dance Team for all four years, National Honor Society, Spanish Club, and SADD. Every summer during high school, I competed in Universal Dance Association camps and was selected as an All American when I was a junior. I received the Mt. Zion Federation of Teachers Future Teacher Scholarship, at the recommendation of my dance instructor, Nancy McReynolds.
I began dancing when I was five-years-old at Raeann’s School of Dance in Keokuk, Iowa. In 2005, I danced for a competition team that traveled to parades and competitions all over the state. My family moved to Decatur when I was eleven-years-old and I began dancing with Nancy McReynolds. My first Nutcracker was in 2008 and soon after I was invited to join the Richland Dance Company, where I have performed for the past six years. I’ve participated in many productions such as Cinderella, Les Miserables, Sleeping Beauty, and seven productions of The Nutcracker.
I currently attend classes at Richland Community College where I plan to earn my associate’s degree, then complete my bachelor’s in elementary education. In the future, I hope to teach first through third grade and continue to teach dance. Dancing is a huge part of my life and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to teach here at Richland. I am so excited to share this special experience with my students.
My name is Chelsea White and I am a native of the Decatur area, having grown up in Mt. Zion. I was home-schooled through high school then attended Taylor University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Education. I taught Spanish at MacArthur High School and St. Teresa High School before deciding to stay home with my children in 2013.
I have been dancing since I was four-years-old and have taken dance classes at the YWCA, YMCA, and finally here at Richland with my instructor Nancy McReynolds. As a member of the Richland Dance Company, I was a soloist and assisted with the dancers in the younger classes. For several years, I took ballet and pointe classes with Greg Merriman at the McLean County Dance Association in Bloomington. In 2004, I had the opportunity to travel to Seville, Spain where I learned Flamenco dancing. After a short break from dancing during college, I returned to Richland Dance and have been a part of many productions including Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Graduation Ball, The Lion King, Cinderella, Jewels, Romeo and Juliet, and 15 productions of The Nutcracker.
Aside from dancing, I am a runner and a pianist. I’m married to Alan and we have a son named Asher and a daughter named Lita. I love teaching dance and am excited to teach ballet classes this year!
- Positive support and direction to students of the dance program by the Community Education staff.
- Large studio with wooden floor, ample lighting, mirrors, and barres.
- Second dance studio for additional classes.
- Central air-conditioning and heating.
- Spacious, comfortable waiting area.
- Fully-equipped Shilling Theatre for performances.
- Winter and spring dance concerts.
- Safe, well-lit, and spacious parking areas.
- Security personnel on duty at all times.
- Reasonable tuition fees and minimal costume expenses.