Victoria Lyman grew up studying ballet one block away from the Evanston boutique at the Evanston School of Ballet with Laura Wade and Miss Kerry. She attended The Joffrey Ballet summer intensives while in high school, spent two summers at the American Dance Festival in college, and also attended the Laban Center in London and the Vienna International Dance Festival in Austria. Victoria spent 3 years as a dance major at the University of Iowa, performing in works by Lar Lubovitch, Alan Sener, and Nicholas Leichter, among others. Victoria finished her undergraduate career at DePaul University, graduating with highest honor with a B.A. in Psychology. While continuing to dance in Chicago, she began working at “Before the Ballet” in Evanston in 2003, and acquired the business from the previous owner in 2007, changing it to Allegro soon after. She is thrilled to share her passion for dance at Allegro and is grateful for her talented team, loyal customers, loving family, and supportive husband. Victoria is an advisory board member for Dance Retailer News, the dance retail industry publication, and is a board member of the Evanston Dance Ensemble.
I love peeling off layers as I warm up. I need a long sleeve shirt or hoodie & socks.
Bunheads theraband, legwarmers, face wipes, iPad, iPhone, water bottle, ballet shoes, headband
I love the Bloch warm-up booties!
I always bring my first pair of ballet shoes with me for good luck.
Jiří Kylián, Crystal Pite, Ohad Naharin, Nacho Duato
Yoga, travel, cooking, restaurants, entrepreneurship
Aly was the first-ever Sales Associate hired at the Allegro boutique location in Barrington. She was the store manager there for two years before being promoted to Director of Operations, and is now in charge of running both the Evanston and Barrington store locations. She has been studying as many forms of dance possible for over two decades. For almost ten years, Aly was a teaching artist, working at studios around Chicagoland and Wisconsin, as well as teaching nation-wide with Dancewerks Werkshops and co-directing Midwest Dance Collective. Recently, she has taken a brief respite from her teaching career to develop her other creative pursuits. Aly is currently the musical choreographer at Barrington High School and is a dance photographer for Midwest Event Solutions. Aly holds a BA in Dance Teaching with a minor in Performing Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago.
It totally depends on the item...my current obsessions are printed leotards from Ballet Rosa, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes and bra tops/leggings from Honeycut.
A tennis ball and these Adidas sport socks I bought in bulk five years ago!
Various massage tools, socks, canvas and leather ballet shoes!
Contemporary Ballet and Modern
My teacher and mentor always told us to grab a bean instead of good luck. I say it to everyone now!
Jiří Kylián and Twyla Tharp
My dog, McClane, skulls and parody writing
Arianna is the inventory manager at Allegro, in charge finding great new products for our customers at both Allegro store locations. Arianna grew up in Las Vegas, NV and currently lives in Chicago, IL. She attended Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA and graduated cum laude with a BFA in Dance in 2013. Prior to her higher education, Arianna attended Las Vegas Academy of the Arts where she focused in dance. In 2012, she partook in the Jose Limón West Coast Residency and also attended La Bella Vita Arts summer dance intensive in 2011. Now, Arianna performs around Chicago and is a cofounder of Jamm'n Honey Dance. She has performed works by Camille A. Brown, Kristen Legg, Jason Olhberg, J. Lindsay Brown, Abby Williams, Iyun Harrison, and Jose Limón. She also loves teaching small humans throughout the Chicagoland area.
Gaynor Minden, Ainsliewear, Honeycut
I tend to ALWAYS be cold, so a long sleeved shirt, jacket, hoodie, and socks!
A massage ball, theraband, and an extra pair of socks.
Modern or Contemporary
I LOVE the Toe Tantra. I don't have bunions, but it is the best part of the week for my feet. Also, I LOVE the Stick. That thing saves my life on a weekly basis. Pretty much any stretch & strengthening product. When they're used right, they are UH-MAZING!
I have a set mini warm up and I like to breath with whoever is in the cast. I know that sounds funny, but I think it helps connect us more before we go on stage.
This is like asking what my favorite song is.. so hard! Some of my favorites include Camille A. Brown, Twyla Tharp, and Matthew Bourne.
I have a dog and really love taking her to the beach. If I need to relax, I love curling up with a nice book or movie. Also, I love going to concerts and seeing dance performances!
Alix began her work with Allegro as a Sales Associate/Pointe Shoe Fitter in 2015. After a brief time away from us she is back as our store manager in Evanston. Alix graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. During her time in school she was awarded special recognition for exceptional work in student choreography. Alix began her dance training at Stage Door Dance Academy in Oak Forest. She has worked closely with Sarah Cullen Fuller, Amy Wilkinson, Sandra Kaufman, Penny Saunders, Randall Newsom and Joseph Caruana. Alix has also trained extensively with Northwest Dance Project in Portland, Oregon and The Cambrians here in Chicago. She currently dances for Project Bound Dance and works as a freelance performer/choreographer- most recently for iO Chicago and Links Hall. She previously interned with Chicago Dancemakers Forum and worked as a teaching assistant for the Autism Project with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Alix hopes to eventually join a repertoire company, build a large choreographic resume, and be a leading expert in pointe shoes!
Wear Moi leotards for the fabric quality and elegant designs. Bullet Pointe skirts because they make my legs look so long. Freed pointe shoes- even though I wear F.R. Duvals!
High waisted sweatpants and baggy t-shirt to start in.
Tennis ball, pointe shoes, soft shoes, water bottle (when I remember), theraband, pink and black tights, socks, multiple outfits choices, and sometimes surprise cat toys.
Who can choose?! Ballet, contemporary, Gaga, Vogue, etc etc etc
Sugar and Bruno performance socks. I wear a pair of these to every class and/or rehearsal I take. They are snug on the arch to make your feet look their most beautiful, and the fabric is no slip.
I’ll run any solo parts three times the day of the performance. I put my make-up on right before I have to go backstage. I listen to “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode before I go on stage.
Zoe Scofield, Stephen Petronio & Victoria’s exact list- Jiří Kylián, Crystal Pite, Ohad Naharin, Nacho Duato
Road cycling & racing, watching Mad Men, napping, writing, playing Gin Rummy, taking care of my cat Maxine. I also play bass, keyboard, and write songs for the band I’m in with my boyfriend.
Alexa joined the Allegro team in 2014 as a Sales Associate, and after three years shining brightly as one of our best and brightest pointe shoe fitters, she was promoted to the important role as Allegro's one and only dedicated Pointe Specialist, in charge of all things pointe, including training all the new pointe fitters at both of our store locations! Alexa grew up in Georgia, went to college in Texas, started her professional career in Colorado, and is now working and teaching in the Chicago suburbs! She graduated magna cum laude from Texas Christian University with a BFA in Ballet and Modern Dance in 2013. While there, she worked with renowned artists, such as Susan Jaffe, Carrie Hanson, and Loretta Livingston, among many others. She also served as the Co-Driector of Community Outreach and Public Relations for Chi Tau Epsilon Dance Honor Society. Before fully diving into her passion for teaching, Alexa performed professionally with Kim Robards Dance and Life/Art Dance Ensemble (Denver, CO). She enjoys teaching and choreographing multiple dance disciplines and continuing to learn about all things pointe!
I have always loved and appreciated the quality of Bloch products, from shoes, to tights, to leotards! I also love Sugar and Bruno for the fun stuff!
Water, a snack (or three), a pinky ball, Aleve, a jacket/sweatshirt, socks, bobby pins, iPhone, and ballet/pointe shoes!
To teach: Ballet
To perform: Contemporary Ballet
To choreograph: Lyrical/Contemporary
Pinky Ball! It has so many uses!
I always brush my teeth right before I perform and then do some sautes in first position when I get back stage and/or do a few laps around the stage, if I have that opportunity. I’m not sure when this started, but these have become performance musts for me!
This is changing constantly. I have immense respect for George Balanchine. I'm also very inspired by Mia Michaels, not just as a choreographer, but as a person.
My all-time favorite hobby is sleeping. I also love watching a good movie or TV show, working on crafty projects, and spending time with people that I love!
Julie currently dances professionally with Noumenon Dance Ensemble and the Haymarket Opera Company Ballet. She is also a freelance dancer and guest teacher across the Midwest. Julie received her early classical ballet training at the Washington Academy of Performing Arts in Seattle, WA, as well as at San Francisco Ballet School. She went on to study under Violette Verdy at Indiana University’s School of Music and graduated with highest distinction with a B.S.O.F. in Ballet Performance and Biology. She has also danced with professional ballet companies including Louisville Ballet and Los Angeles Dance Theater. Julie has been working at Allegro Dance Boutique since May 2016 and really enjoys using her knowledge and own experiences of dancing en pointe to help other dancers find their best fitting shoe and troubleshoot anything that comes along.
Lacrosse ball, footsie roller, flat shoes, 2 pairs of pointe shoes (at least), toe pads/toe tape, bag containing nail clippers/scissors/needle and thread/thimble, extra pair of tights, brush, and extra hairpins
Try out ToeSavers mini pointe shoes pads inside the tips of pointe shoes to help alleviate discomfort on big toes. I can’t live without mine and the best thing is they last for such a long time!
I like to have a moment of peace and quiet before I perform so I can have a chance to mark through and visualize how all the choreography will look and feel. This really helps to prepare me and calm my nerves! I also have a ritual of keeping any little bits of costumes/headpieces/etc. that have fallen off and would otherwise be thrown away. (Think beads, sequins, lace, petals, fake snow.) I keep them in my performance makeup bag and I think they bring me good luck. I’ve got things in there from over 20 years ago!!
Julie Kent among many others; and I love so many of Balanchine’s works
Does eating delicious food count? Also my 5 year old daughter keeps me busy and entertained!
Jessica is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a BFA in dance and a concentration in teaching. Jessica also attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to complete her teacher certification in dance education. After graduation from Columbia, Jessica began her career at the Streamwood Park District rebuilding the dance and theater programs. Jessica also had the opportunity to choreograph for Palatine High School Orchesis and Elgin High School Dance Team. Jessica also choreographed and coached the Buffalo Grove High School Dance Team for six years. Last year, Jessica made the jump from coaching into officiating for IHSA competitive dance becoming a member of the Illinois Spirit Officials Association and the Alliance of Illinois Dance Adjudicators. At the end of the season Jessica was awarded the opportunity to guest judge at the IDTA State Finals in Springfield, IL. Jessica's passion for teaching students also lead her to become a member of Chicago National Association of Dance Masters and for the past two years has greatly enjoyed the opportunity to learn from great teachers in the industry and connect with others who have an equal understanding of the life of a dance teacher. Jessica loves performing in musical theater and her recent credits include Shrek: The Musical where she played The Wicked Witch, Duloc Dancer, and tap dancing rat, and will be performing soon in Crazy For You as Tess, the Follies Dance Captain.
Bloch. All their jazz, character, and tap shoes are all made with super soft leather. I have worn holes in many of my shoes because of how well they break in and I just can't part with how comfy they are! They make good quality items that make me feel I am getting my money's worth without spending my entire paycheck if I don't want to. I can usually get through a year of teaching in a good Bloch shoe which I love! Their leotards are also super soft and fit well on many body types which is important to me as a dancer and as a teacher.
My water bottle! Between dancing and yelling over the music, I can't make it through a class without one. It's even better when they have cute sayings or dance designs!
Always tap, ballet and jazz shoes because I teach all styles! Water bottle, mini tap screw driver, sweet feet spray, band-aids and liquid band-aid, tennis ball or footsie roller, and a notebook or two with my class notes and choreography. I always look for notebooks with positive sayings because I carry them so much in class I feel it gives a little to my kids too.
Musical Theater Jazz/Tap. There is a quality and character to it. For myself, it is fun to play someone different for a little bit, even feel like I am back in those classic movie musicals. For my kids, it is often a challenge for them to "act" while they are dancing. They have to embody the story of the song and the character they are becoming. It is a great way to challenge their showmanship!
Footsie Roller. It is a basic staple in my bag. I use it every day. It is something so simple but so effective when it comes to tired feet. I also have plantar fasciitis and rolling my feet out at night keeps me from being in pain all day.
As a teacher/director I have developed a new pre-performance ritual. I absolutely love getting to the theater early before everyone and standing on stage in the empty theater, looking into the audience, and taking a deep breath. It helps me calm down before the craziness of performance/recital. It also reminds me that I love what I do, that I am lucky to get to do it everyday, and that it is a priviledge to perform at a beautiful and fully equipt theater twice a year.
This is hard to choose for me because I have loves in multiple genres. I am a Bob Fosse fanatic. His style of musical theater dance is iconic and has inspired so many. It's one of those styles I love passing on to my students because they always feel good doing it and are honored when they get the chance to perform a Fosse style piece. My second love is Merce Cunningham. I had the opportunity to study his technique in college and the athleticism of the dancers has always astounded me. It was one of the most difficult styles I studied next to Graham technique, but Cunningham wins for me with the playfulness and avant garde of his choreography. I could honestly go on and on about my favorite choreorgaphers in every style of dance! haha!
I think this is a hard question for dance teachers because when we have free time we tend to take class or see a performance for our own interest and professional development or even just to feel good! But, when I am not dancing I am doing everything from watching movies to cleaning to working out. Anything that helps me decompress is important to my time outside of dance. You can't go wrong with a good few hours with a friend or two at brunch with a mimosa!
Christine Long grew up studying ballet and modern dance in Indiana where she was a member of a pre-professional company throughout high school and college. While studying mathematics at the University of Notre Dame, she also had the opportunity to perform and choreograph for a student led dance initiative. After graduating, Christine moved to Chicago where she put her math and education degrees to use professionally while continuing to take ballet classes in her free time. Christine is excited to share her enthusiasm for dance with the Allegro community.
Water bottle, stretch canvas ballet shoes, leg warmers and other knitwear
Reviewing choreography in my head
Reading, knitting, walks with a friend or my dog and a podcast
Eliza joined the Allegro team in 2016 after moving to Chicago to pursue a career in dance. Eliza is originally from Athens, Ohio, and started taking classes in her hometown when she was four. In 2007 she began dancing at BalletMet Columbus, where she trained with Dmitri Suslov and Susan Brooker. In 2013 Eliza was offered a spot in BalletMet’s Trainee Program, where she studied under Susan Dromisky, and Timothy Lynch for two years. During her time at BalletMet Eliza performed in numerous company productions, in both student and company roles, under the direction of Gerard Charles and Edwaard Liang. Some of her favorites include; Young Alice in Gerard Charles’ “Alice in Wonderland”, and Snow and Flower Corps in Charles’ “The Nutcracker”. Upon moving to Chicago in the fall of 2015 Eliza studied at the Joffrey Academy of Dance, and began dancing with Cocodaco Dance Project in their Mezzo Company. She is now an apprentice with Cocodaco Dance Project.
Single tennis ball, double tennis ball, theraband, ibuprofen, warm-ups, bobby pins, nail clippers, stitch kit, spray bottle, baby powder, water bottle
I love them all; it’s too hard to choose!
Bunheads’ “Stitch Kit”
I usually shake out my wrists and ankles. Sometimes I do a couple small jumps before heading out on stage.
Margot Fonteyn and Bob Fosse
Making jewelry, photography, reading, history, drawing, and watching movies with my friends.
Shannon joined the Allegro team in September 2012 and quickly stood out for her superior and innate merchandising talents. Shannon is now a seasonal sales associate at Allegro, conducting both expert pointe shoe fittings as well as creating many of our lovely window displays and in store merchandising displays. She began dancing at age four with Mim Eichmann at Midwest Ballet Academy in Downers Grove, where she continued through high school. Her passion for dance then took her to Northern Illinois University where she received her B.F.A. in dance performance. During her training at N.I.U. Shannon had the privilege of performing soloist roles in numerous ballets re-staged by Randall Newsom, including “Sleeping Beauty,” “Paquita,” and “Giselle.” She has also performed as a guest artist with Midwest Ballet Academy, Rockford Dance Company, and State Street Dance Studio. Since joining NoMi LaMad as a founding member in 2007, Shannon has had the honor of working with choreographers such as Joshua Blake Carter, Paul Christiano, Lizzie MacKenzie, and Nick Pupillo. Shannon has also been performing with Winifred Haun and Dancers since 2014. Shannon has taught dancers of all ages throughout the Chicago area for over 10 years. Shannon is so excited to add Allegro to her Dance career repertoire and to continue preforming and teaching throughout the Chicago area. Shannon has many to thank for their help and encouragement throughout the years, and she would like to express her deepest appreciation to her friends and family for their unyielding support of her passion for dance.
My cozy black legwarmers
Grishko ballet shoes, foam roller, Tennis ball, Bio-freeze, a theraband or two, Bloch booties, and my favorite water bottle!
Contemporary Ballet and modern.
Bloch booties are life changing! They keep my feet so warm, they've helped me have great performances despite freezing temperatures!
I try to always to the pilates stomach series while listening to some calming music, In college it was the Garden State soundtrack, now it’s Sigur Ros
Crystal Pite, Jiří Kylián and Nacho Duato
My dog! I love spending time with my Husky Shepherd mix Prairie! We love going for walks, runs or sometimes the dog beach!
Mae started dancing when she was three years old and quickly began taking classes at Dance Center Evanston. She has stayed ever since, studying Ballet, Cecchetti ballet, jazz, hip hop, modern, and tap. She was a member of the Evanston Dance Ensemble for six years performing in shows such as The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Alice in Wonderland, and FAB 2.0! She has attended multiple summer intensive programs at schools including The Kirov Academy of Ballet, the Harid Conservatory, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Boston Ballet. In the summer of 2016, she attended the Boston Conservatory's Musical Theater Dance Intensive and fell in love with the school. She graduated from Evanston Township High School in 2017 and she will be returning to the Boston Conservatory at Berklee to major in musical theater. She has worked with teachers such as Bea Rashid, Julie Cartier, Victoria Barlow, Mike Gosney, Victoria Schneider, and Deanna Seay. Mae has been shopping at Allegro for years and is thrilled to be an apprentice with Allegro Dance Boutique in Evanston.
Yumiko or Audition Dancewear
My bullet pointe skirt, my pointe shoes, an extra pair of tights, an extra leotard, a filled water bottle, roll on perfume, mints, garbage bag shorts, tons of hair pins, and lots of snacks.
Either ballet or jazz!
The bullet pointe skirt and the Big Tip toe pad.
I always put on some roll on perfume, I brush my teeth, I go over the choreography in my head, and I wish everyone luck!
My favorite dancer is Tiler Peck and my favorite choreographer is Justin Peck.
Other than dance or musical theater, I'm interested in Chicago sports, photography, and fashion.
Kathryn became an apprentice at Allegro in 2012. Kathryn has a keen artistic eye and now works at Allegro seasonally as a visual merchandiser, sales associate, and makeup artist for photo shoots and makeup events. Kathryn has been dancing since she was three years old, when she started taking ballet classes at the Barrington Park District. At the age of seven, she was enrolled at Bataille Academie of the Danse. For nine years, Kathryn discovered her passion for dance by taking numerous classes, including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and even competed for six years with the company. In 2011, Kathryn went to New York City to study at the Rockettes Summer Intensive and returned again in 2013. In 2012, Kathryn began dancing under the instruction of Ellen Werksman and Allegro’s own Aly Heintz at the Barrington Artz Center. Kathryn is continuing her dance education at Columbia College Chicago by minoring in Dance. Kathryn is excited to share her passion for dance with the customers at both Allegro locations!
Bloch booties and a Theraband
Tights, extra shoes, a Whirl-a-Style, Bunheads hairpins, a waterbottle and a snack, of course!
Contemporary and Tap
Capezio’s knit waistband tights
I’ll organize/set up piles of costumes in case of a quick change.
Martha Graham and Sarah Reich
Makeup and CATS!
Holly Lehnertz began her dance training at the age of 13. She attended conventions all around the chicago area. Holly trained with Tiffany Krause, in her company KinRha Dance Company. Holly has attended summer intensives including; Saratoga Summer Ballet, Thodos Dance Chicago, and the Point Park Summer Intensive. Holly is currently seeking her bachelor of fine arts in contemporary dance at the University of North Carolina, School of the Arts. At UNCSA, Holly trains in styles including; Cunninghman, Limon, Graham, Countertechnique and many more. At school Holly has performed in works by Martha Graham, Jose Limon, and Kira Blazek. At college, Holly discovered her love for choreographing. She choreographed a musical theatre/jazz piece titled, "Swing." Swing was performed at UNCSA at a fundraiser event called Project Love. Holly loves coming back for breaks to work for Allegro Dance Boutique and is so excited to see what her future holds.
Footsie roller and all types of dance shoes
Contemporary and jazz
Use the footstretcher every night and you will see great results
Going through the dance a million times (I have bad stage fright)
Merce Cunningham and Bill T Jones
Photography and hair braiding!
Molly joined the Allegro team as an Apprentice in June 2013. When she was 9 she started dancing to assist her with her figure skating, but quickly realized she wanted to devote all her time dance. Molly trained at Dance Center Evanston for 9 years, and was a member of the Evanston Dance Ensemble for 5 years. In 2011 she attended the 5-week CPYB summer intensive, and in 2012 the Joffrey Chicago summer intensive. In addition to pursuing a B.S. in biomedical engineering, Molly is pursing a minor in dance at the University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Molly’s favorite part about working at Allegro is sharing her passion and knowledge for dance with others. One day she hopes to create the Allegro Pointe Shoe.
Yumiko, Ballet Rosa, Wear Moi, and So Dança
Body Wrappers black leg warmers and The Stick
The Stick, theraband, pinky ball, leg warmers,garbage bag pants, canvas ballet/jazz/pointe shoes, Ouch Pouches, wrap skirts, and extra pins and hair accessories
Ballet/Pointe and Jazz
Jumping up and down and shaking all my nerves out
Baking, photography, and graphic design
Abby Morris was an apprentice at ADB before becoming a seasonal sales associate. Abby has been dancing for fifteen years. For thirteen years, she danced at Dance Motions Inc. and was a part of Motions Dance Company. She decided to further her training at Talent Forum and become a member of Forum Dance Theatre. Abby is currently a student at Point Park University and is studying to receive a B.F.A. in Jazz dance. Abby aspires to be a professional dancer in a contemporary company or a Broadway show. She is so grateful that she can share her passion for dance with every customer at Allegro!
Ainslewear, Honeycut, Yumiko
A sweat towel and new skin to protect my bare feet!
All dance shoes (ballet, jazz, character, tap, & hip hop), tons of socks, first aid kid, and extra clothes!
Contemporary and Musical Theatre
I love my ninja sweatpants from Sugar and Bruno! They're so comfortable and awesome to warm up in!
I have a bunch of lucky bracelets I rub before any performance or audition!
My favorite dancer would have to be Nick Lazzarini! Some of my fave choreographers are Nick Pupillo, Mia Michaels, Travis Wall, & Mandy Moore!
I'm really into politics! I think if I didn't dance, I would have a political career!
A native of Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, Akilah began ballet studies at the former Hyde Park School of Ballet. With the inception of the Joffrey Academy of Dance she entered the Pre-Professional ballet program, advancing through to graduation from the Trainee program in June 2016. She has participated in various summer intensive programs including the Joffrey International Summer Dance Intensive, the Ballet Austin Summer Intensive, and Kaatsbaan Extreme Ballet, where she has performed both classical and contemporary works of such choreographers as Gerald Arpino, Steven Mills, Frederick Ashton, and Margo Sappington. As a member of the Visceral Dance scholarship program, Akilah continued to hone her artistry, studying with Laura Wade and Nick Pupillo. She danced with Chicago Repertory Ballet for their 5 year anniversary season and has worked at Allegro since September 2016.
Probably Bloch because the Euro Stretch is the shoe of my dreams
Socks! or sweatpants? Both.
A Bunheads resistance band, The Stick, socks, ballet shoes, pointe shoes, Pro Pads, a Flexistretcher, a bullet pointe skirt, honestly too many things.
Ballet, but I also really love Contemporary
Pointe Shoe Glue! My shoes last much longer than they should just because of Pointe Shoe Glue.
I always go over the piece I'm about to perform in my head and then mark through it on stage if possible. I also put on perfume before I go on.
Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Alexander Ekman, Crystal Pite
Cooking, taking pictures, going to the gym