Trip the Light Fantastic

February 2023 View more

Prep for your wedding day or just get in the groove at these ballroom dance studios

Vargo’s Dance

Vargo’s Dance


Lifelong dancer Jamie Vargo studied ballet growing up and was later introduced to partner dancing while living in Mexico. “I fell in love with the culture and the music, and everybody partner dances all the time down there,” she says. “You can walk outside for lunch, and there’s a live band and people dancing in the plaza.” She opened her own studio in 2011 to create an adults-only atmosphere for couples and singles alike to enjoy a night out. Thanks to the studio’s BYOB liquor license, you can bring wine or beer to any class or private lesson. “We specialize in social dancing, which to us means you can go out and use it tonight,” Vargo says. Swing and salsa are the most popular, and Vargo also helps engaged couples get ready for their first dance. “We do offer packages that reduce the cost, or you can buy per lesson if you prefer to pay as you go,” she says.
Good to know: Vargo likes to partner with other local businesses, whether that means hosting a winery for an in-studio tasting or organizing a dance meet-up at a local bar or club to put everyone’s newly learned footwork into action. 205 W. State St.,


The staff at My Dance Hub

My Dance Hub

Aurora and Oakbrook Terrace

Owner Jaana Lillemagi opened this Fox Valley studio 10 years ago to provide affordable ballroom dance lessons with a family-oriented, boutique vibe. Four years ago, she and business partner Stefan Ciubotaru added a second location, in Oakbrook Terrace. “People from all walks of life come together, and dancing is what is connecting them,” Lillemagi says. “They feel a sense of belonging here.” The studio focuses primarily on private lessons and also offers evening group classes, which rotate through 15 different dance styles, from salsa to waltz. “We like everyone to try our introductory private lesson and one group class so they can see what they like,” she says.
Good to know: Lillemagi recommends engaged couples come for a consultation six months before the big day. “We will consider everything that can go into the dance, even the design of [the bride’s] dress, the size of the dance floor, which way is the audience facing,” she says. “We can choreograph to their specific song and also do father-daughter and mother-son dances, or even groomsmen and bridesmaid dances and flash mobs.” 4332B Fox Valley Center Dr., Aurora; 1S550 Rte. 83, Oakbrook Terrace;


People practicing at Arthur Murray Dance

Arthur Murray Dance

Naperville and Oakbrook Terrace

Twenty-five years ago, steel-mill worker James Dutton signed up for ballroom dance class, thinking it could be a good way to meet women. “I met my ex-wife and my current wife, so it worked at least twice,” he says, laughing. He also fell in love with the art form and danced competitively for years with Arthur Murray Dance Studios, which has 300 franchise studios in 22 countries. He and his wife, Jessica, are now franchisees themselves and operate this studio in Naperville as well as a second in Oakbrook Terrace. “We teach all the partner dances,” Dutton says. “Anything you see on Dancing With the Stars or you’d do at a wedding or a cruise or business function, we can teach.” All students start with a 30-minute sample private lesson ($40), after which the instructor can recommend what classes could be the best fit. The studios also offer custom wedding packages and choreographed first dances.
Good to know: Dutton’s studios participate in Arthur Murray’s own competitions, which range from a mini-competition in Downers Grove in March to larger events in Las Vegas and elsewhere. 2811 Patriot’s Ln., Naperville; 1915 S. Meyers Rd., Oakbrook Terrace;


Photos courtesy Vargo’s Dance, My Dance Hub, and Ruth McEachnie (Arthur Murray Dance)