Ruth Page Keystone Dance Academy


Keystone Dance  Academy Serves as an Extension of the Center’s Internationally Recognized School of Dance. 

How do you change a young person’s life in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the country? You start by believing in them and their capacity for greatness. Then you provide alternatives and opportunities that can bring out hidden gifts and overlooked talents, giving them a path that can take them out of the confines of any neighborhood. 

Venetia Stifler, Executive and Artistic Director of the Ruth Page Center for the Arts is proud to announce its newest initiative, the Ruth Page Keystone Dance Academy, an extension of the Center’s internationally recognized School of Dance.  The program, in collaboration with the Union League Boys & Girls Clubs (ULBGC) is designed to serve as a job-training program offering high-level dance training and mentorship to the at-risk youth in the Englewood community. Children from every culture, geographic region and socioeconomic level deserve quality arts learning. Every child also deserves a way out of environments filled with violence and poverty. And closing the achievement gap cannot happen without commitment, resources and dedication to bettering the lives of at-risk children.

“The Ruth Page Center for the Arts and its School of Dance was founded by Ruth Page, a legendary dance icon based in Chicago.  She saw the need for a diverse community in the classical art of dance long before the industry itself realized the need.  She was committed to providing access to dance training through outreach programs and scholarships to any young person with the desire and aptitude.  We continue her work and vision and move it forward by creating an academy of dance at the Wentworth Elementary School in Englewood,” stated Executive Director Stifler. 

The Ruth Page School of Dance, directed by Victor Alexander, provides the highest level of training to young dancers and professionals from Chicago, across the country and around the world.  The Ruth Page School of Dance is  one of the country’s finest dance education centers, creating not just dancers but artists who go on to successful professional careers.

The Ruth Page Center for the Arts and the Union League Boys & Girls Clubs have a shared vision of serving children with the greatest need – and Englewood is one of the most underserved Chicago neighborhoods, and statistically one of the most violent in the country. Based on census data collected by the city of Chicago in 2008-2012, the poverty rate for Englewood is 46.6% of households below poverty and 28% of people 16 years of age and older are unemployed. The overall crime rate in Englewood is 256% higher than the national average per capita.

The mission of the Ruth Page Keystone Dance Academy is to make accessible to the children of Wentworth Elementary the highest level of dance training, equip these children with the necessary skills to feel comfortable in any dance class suited to their age and provide resources, support and opportunities to any child with a desire to be a professional dancer.  By providing the foundation necessary to excel in the world of dance, the children of Wentworth Elementary School are also given the tools that bring about confidence and empower them for a future outside the boundaries of any neighborhood.  Doors open beyond a dance studio for those who have the aptitude, training and work ethic to succeed – scholarships to higher learning institutions, scholarships to train with national and international dance companies, and the potential for so much more.

Phase One of the program began early this year in March 2019, with an audition of children from 4th-8th grades. Twento young and aspiring dancers were selected, and have been receiving weekly dance training classes by instructor, Craig Miller, who is also the Academy Director of the Ruth Page Keystone Dance Academy at Wentworth Elementary.  Phase Two of the program begins July 22 and will continue until August 16, when a select number of children receive advance dance training during a four-week Summer Ballet and Dance "Boot Camp" held at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. This Boot Camp runs immediately after the Center’s annual “International Dance Experience Summer Intensive,” which features guest instructors and artists from some of the School of Dance’s International Sister Schools in Italy, Spain, Cuba, Colombia and Israel. 

For additional information on the Ruth Page Keystone Dance Academy program, please contact or 

‚ÄčThe Ruth Page Center is grateful for initial startup support by the John Buck Company Foundation, the Foundation To Be Named Later, and countless individuals.