Since 1994, North Shore Dance & Theater (formerly North Shore Dance & Drama) has been North Shore Chicago's premier dance and drama center. We feature a full-service non-profit fine arts academy, offering training in dance, theater and the related arts to students from preschool through adult. Embracing a philosophy of both perfunctory classroom techniques and professional success, NSDT's staff includes advanced degreed instructors who complement their teaching careers with professional work in the dance and dramatic arts industries. North Shore Dance & Theater is a family-run business, with students and their parents embraced as extended family. Many households have multiple family members enrolled in classes, including combinations of mother and daughter, brother and sister, and cousins. 

A Family Affair
“This is a family, from the students to the teachers,” says Faye. “We help each other however we can. That’s the big reason for our Family Plan tuition program, to help parents economically and to allow everyone in the family to share a common bond through dance." “Our goal is to offer classes that really benefit people, where they can learn and have fun at the same time,” explains Faye. Family plays a key role in North Shore Dance & Theater's annual dance recitals. A highlight at the pinnacle of the recital’s finale is the “Family Number”—the dance that spotlights groups of family members doing their own original choreography in 20-second segments. And as both parents and professionals, we are aware of the trend to exploit young dancers with skimpy costumes and suggestive choreography. We never allow our dance family to use inappropriate costumes, music or choreography. Instead, we strive to reinforce positive values and self respect.

Dedicated Staff
The family-friendly North Shore Dance & Theater has gained recognition as one of the Chicago-area’s top dance studios by embracing a philosophy of actively recruiting a full staff of acclaimed International professionals from the performing arts world. Staff includes performing alumni of Chicago Opera Ballet, Joel Hall Dancers, Giordano Jazz Company, Butler Ballet, Dance Chicago, CG Jung Institute, American College Dance Festival, Coyote Arts Festival, Junior League of Chicago, Culture Shock, Washington Dance Theatre, Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, national musical theater tours, and international dance tours.
Our accomplished group of instructors include certified Illinois teachers and graduates of Northwestern University, North Eastern Illinois University, Butler University, Columbia College, National-Louis University, Northern Illinois University, Roosevelt University, Illinois State University, Coe College, and Wright State University. Our teachers also include students/alumni of Cleveland Ballet School, Chamber School of Ballet (Dallas), and Second City as well as students of legendary individual instructors Martha Graham, Gus Giordano, Ruth Page, Homer Bryant, and Joel Hall. Bridging the full spectrum of performing arts, the staff also includes accomplished theatrical directors and choreographers. “The entire staff is dedicated to creating a constructive educational atmosphere that fosters learning, fun and personal growth,” says Fran-Potter. The investment in a dedicated and renowned staff has created a dedicated and far-reaching following including participants from Arlington Heights, Chicago, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Libertyville, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Norridge, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Skokie and Wilmette.  The family-friendly North Shore Dance  & Drama Center has gained recognition as one of the Chicago-area’s top dance studios by embracing a philosophy of actively recruiting a full staff of acclaimed International professionals from the performing arts world. Artistic Director and studio owner Arla Faye's staff offers students the chance to learn from instructors with years of professional performance experience. Several North Shore Dance & Theater's staff also hold degrees in education and delight in teaching and inspiring not just the advanced student but even the youngest pre-dancers. North Shore Dance & Theater has classes throughout the year for all abilities and ages. 

Deena Kahn- Resident Artist, Theater Instructor & Make-Up Artist

Deena Kahn has been involved with North Shore Dance & Theater since 2000, not only as a student, but also as a volunteer and as an employee. She graduated from Niles West High School, known for its reputation of having one of the most outstanding performing arts programs in the nation, where she participated in the music, theater, and art programs. In May 2016, Deena graduated from the University of Missouri - Columbia with a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with triple emphases in Film Studies, Journalism, and Art. 
A portfolio of her creative work is available at

A 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization

NSDT Staff

Judy Smith- Musical Director & Camp Instuctor
Judy Smith studied music theory, pedagogy, and theater at Texas Woman’s University and North Texas State University, and completed a pedagogy fellowship at the Verhoog Music Institute. She has taught piano on the North Shore for thirty years, and has performed as an actress, church music director, chorister, and keyboardist. She’s thrilled to join NSDT/Take Two Children’s Theatre, where performance excellence is the standard!

North Shore Dance & Theater, LTD

Anne Neumann- Dance Instructor & Manager
Anne Neumann is a passionate award-winning choreographer at North Shore Dance & Theater, who has trained in ballet, contemporary, modern, jazz, hip-hop and tap. She graduated from Niles North High School, known for its reputation of having one of the most outstanding performing arts programs in the nation. Anne has had the opportunity to be the resident choreographer for NSDT's play productions (formerly Known as Take Two Children's Theatre) since 2010. Anne founded the award-winning Sparkles Dance Company in 2013 and is the current choreographer and coach for the team. She looks forward to sharing her love of dance with her students and their families and friends!
Resident Choreographer:
  -North Shore Dance & Theater's Theater Division (Formerly Known as Take Two Children's Theatre)

Alisha Fran Potter- Co-Owner, Managing Partner & Theater Producer
Alisha Fran Potter is the founder of North Shore Dance & Theater's children's theater group, formerly known as Take Two Children's Theatre. She has a BA in Education, with minors in Dance and Drama, and a MS in Fine Arts Curriculum from National Louis University. Alisha has taught for—and been published by—Pearson-Scott Foresman Skylight Lesson Lab. She has produced, directed, acted, costumed and choreographed numerous shows in the Chicago-land area. In addition to her work with North Shore, she was also a drama specialist for Glenview School District 34 and currently is a teacher-Librarian.
- Take Two Children's Theatre, Glenview
Performance Background includes:
- Life's a Stage Players, Glenview
Studied with:
- Gus Giordano
- Ruth Page
- Trained in Laban and Graham Methods

Arla Faye- Artistic Director & Studio Owner
Arla Faye opened North Shore Dance & Theater (formerly North Shore Dance & Drama) in 1994. A prominent member of the Skokie and North Shore fine arts and dance community, Arla holds a BA in Dance Performance from Butler University. She also earned an MA from Northeastern Illinois University. She has dedicated much of her life to bringing the fine arts to students of all ages, adults and children alike.
Director / Resident Choreographer:
- Upstage/Downstage Children's Theater
- Fine Arts Specialist, Niles / Park Ridge School District
Performance Background includes:
- Chicago Opera Ballet
- Butler Ballet
Studied with:
- Martha Graham
- George Verdak
- Stone & Camren