North Shore School of Dance (NSSD) has been an integral part of the North Shore community for more than 35 years, and Lisa Gold has been choreographing its moves for the past two decades.
The school has grown from 85 students and one studio to 1,000 students and six studios, in Highland Park and Highwood. Generations of families dance at the school, which is headquartered in Highland Park and provides high-quality instruction for pre-school kids through adults, including professional training.
“Grandparents I danced with bring their grandchildren,” Gold says. “Students I taught bring their children. The school is like family.”
Which is why, when the economy plummeted, Gold flew into action to ensure that her teachers could continue to teach, and her students could continue to dance.
“I didn’t want any child to lose their dance classes, so we found a way to make things work,” she says. Gold sacrificed her pay in order to keep her teachers.
“The only way to get through this is to help each other,” she says. And help each other they did. Teachers took pay cuts and Lisa offered payment plans to her students’ families.
She oversaw the creation of a directory of NSSD family businesses and encouraged the school’s community to use one another’s products to support each other. With Gold’s encouragement, the faculty banded together to keep enrollment up and earned their pay cuts back through their efforts.
Gold encourages her students to help their families and give back. When she was young, she babysat and sold cards door-to-door to pay for her dance lessons. “It taught me to work for what I wanted,” she recalls.
Students of the NSSD have danced at nursing homes and assisted living facilites, participated in the Toys for Tots program, and held annual drives for the USO and troops overseas.
Gold began to dance when she was 9. “I wasn’t very good,” she remembers, “but my teachers believed in me. They gave me so much.” And that’s why she’s so passionate about keeping her dancers dancing.
Dance can give a person goals and a purpose, Gold says: “It is who I am. I live in the moment. Dance does that for you. It keeps you here, in the moment.”
The North Shore School of Dance is offering the following programs this summer: Pre-Dance Camps for 3-5 year olds, Junior Camps for 5 – 7 year olds, Intensive Programs 8 and up.