Leslie Saunders of Glencoe Keeps Chicago Ballet Arts Spinning

It’s not every day we see fathers dancing with their daughters on stage as part of their daughters’ dance performance.

Then again, Chicago Ballet Arts (CBA) is no ordinary dance school and Leslie Saunders, of Glencoe, is no ordinary co-director.

A non-profit, community outreach program, CBA serves a culturally diverse group of students ages three and up. Based in West Rogers Park, the school draws students from across Chicago and many North Shore suburbs. CBA students, families and teachers all share in common a commitment to excellence.

“We really believe anyone who wants to put in the time to learn ballet can do so,” Leslie says. In addition to technique, students learn the discipline and tradition of ballet.

Families also share a dedication to CBA’s mission to provide top quality, affordable training. An outpouring of volunteer time and energy helps keep the program in full spin.

CBA is like a second family for Leslie and her two daughters, Maxine, a New Trier sophomore, and Arden, a 7th grader,. “A lot of kids that stick with it are together for years and get very close,” Leslie says. Both girls share their mother’s passion for performing arts.

At age 8, Leslie began her dance training in her hometown of Columbia, S.C. After studying classical ballet in New York, she returned to her southern roots to dance with the Richmond Ballet in Virginia. Leslie moved to Chicago’s North Shore after marrying her husband, who is a Winnetka native. Leslie has been teaching at CBA for 19 years and serving as co-director, along with Patti Eylar, for the past 5 years.

About CBA’s Upcoming Benefit:

Treat yourself to the CBA benefit Saturday, June 12 featuring performances by upper level CBA students and guest Joffrey veterans Jennifer Goodman and Calvin Kitten. A silent auction preview kicks off the festivities at 6 p.m., with the performance at 7 p.m. Be sure to hang around for delectable light fare, libations, and silent auction afterward.

The benefit will be held at St. Scholastica Academy, 7416 North Ridge Boulevard in Chicago. Free parking on site. Tickets are $50 for adults and $25 for students. All-school concerts will be held at 1 p.m on June 12 and 13. Tickets for the all-school concerts are $20 for adults and $10 for children. All funds raised help support the school and its mission.