Maybe you saw the musical “42nd Street” which received rave reviews when recently playing the Cadillac Palace Theatre. Or maybe you recall terrific, classical movies when Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly tapped out their emotions. Then again, you could be looking for a rhythmic way to move the bod as exercise, just for fun or even as a career move to musical theater. Luckily, the Chicago area wholeheartedly supports the arts, including dance companies, dance festivals and dance classes. That means dance classes can be found for different ages and ability levels in Chicago and suburbs. Although convenience is nice, the teachers at the various schools bring their own style and expertise so you might start at one school then move to another.
American Rhythm Center
Chicago Human Rhythm Project
Fine Arts Building
410 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 922-1272

The Chicago Human Rhythm Project, usually known as CHRP, presents tap festivals and programs and has a strong outreach education division. It also developed the American Rhythm Center to teach a variety of dance classes and dance styles. Among them are classes for teenagers age 13 and older and adults. Class format stresses listening, relaxing and response games of different patterns and rhythms. Along with different experience and skill levels American Rhythm Center also offers Tap Improv. The Fine Arts Building is Downtown Chicago.

Chicago Tap Theatre
Joel Hall Dancers & Center
5965 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 293-0900

Chicago Tap Theatre puts on several shows each year but it also works with schools and arts groups. It’s a resident theatre at Joel Hall Dancers & Center where it offers tap classes for adults, usually Wednesday nights and mid-day Sunday. Currently, Beginning Tap is on Sunday. Intermediate, and Advanced/Professional Tap is Wednesday, as is a Tap Improv. class.

Ruth Page Center For The Arts
1016 N. Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 337-6543

This is a place where school-aged children will feel comfortable taking tap dance classes with their peers. Young children ages 4,5 or 6 would likely take a combination of ballet and tap on Saturday. Older youngsters, ages 7 and older, would likely take beginner or intermediate tap on Tuesday or Wednesday night. Founded by famed dancer/choreographer Ruth Page, the center is good about understanding age differences and development but also encourages excellence.

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Dance Center Evanston
1934 Dempster St.
Evanston, IL 60202
(847) 328-6683

Dance Center Evanston reaches out to all ages. Its tap dance classes begin at ages 6 and 7 in the primary division. Ages 8 and older are in the student division of Tap and Hip Hop which is strong on rhythm and musical beats. Adults are offered beginning and continuing tap classes, plus classic repertory.

Lou Conte Dance Studio
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
1147 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 850-9744 

Of course you have heard of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. But did you know that performer Lou Conte formed his Dance Studio in 1974 and what became known today as Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in 1977? So, don’t be surprised when looking up Lou Conte Dance Studio for its tap dance classes you are directed to a Hubbard Street Dance website and its Dance Center on Jackson Blvd. On the Hubbard Street Dance site go to Classes, then Type, then scroll down to Tap. The Lou Conte Dance Studio offers excellent beginning and intermediate musical theater tap dance classes. It also has basic and other levels.

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Jodie Jacobs is a veteran journalist who loves writing about Chicago, art, theater, museums and travel. Her work can be found on