Lake Zurich dance school focuses on technique, not trophies
Anna Berman (left), owner of Trilogy School of Performing Arts, watches dancers perform Aug. 24 at her Lake Zurich dance studio. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
LAKE ZURICH — Some dance studios use elaborate costuming and trophy cases as evidence of finesse.
Lake Zurich’s Trilogy School of Performing of Arts, however, relies on the graceful movement of performers in plain black leotards as the best way to impress.
“It’s not about winning or how much (prize) money we make,” said Charlotte Loewes, a 14-year-old Lake Zurich dancer who has spent the past five years with Trilogy.
“It’s more about the concerts and dancing,” she said. “It’s a really good place to help you grow.”
Creating a studio focused on technique and quality was Anna Berman’s goal when she opened the doors of the dance, voice and drama school six years ago at 490 E. state Route 22 in Lake Zurich.
Before opening her own school, Berman’s daughters, now 21 and 19, had performed with teams that took pride in costly garb.
“For many families tuition is already a big deal,” she said. “With the cute little outfits it just gets crazy.”
So Berman, a translator without a background in business nor dance, set out to create her own school dedicated to the craft.
Her team of six professionally-trained dance and theater instructors oversee 60 children and teenagers in classes dedicated to ballet, hip-hop, jazz, lyrical dance and musical theater.
In competition, Team Trilogy often receives recognition for choreography, a testament to the school’s intense focus on technique and collaboration.
Students follow a strict dress code of humble costuming that creates uniformity, Berman said.
“We do not create prima donnas,” Berman said. “We keep kids equal, recognize talent, and push them to their limits. We do not play favorites.”
So as to not single out one child over another, Berman addresses her concerns from behind a pair of black shades while speaking to the team.
When students see her enter with the dark glasses, she said, “they know it’s coming.”
“I’m like a mother figure: they’re intimidated but they can count on me,” she said. “ I treat them as my children and it works beautifully.”
Establishing relationships with students is important to Berman, who said school directors sometimes focus more on the business side of things than the people. She, on the other hand, makes it her goal to learn the name of every student the first week of classes.
Berman explained that community involvement is another aspect of the Trilogy’s philosophy of success.
The dance team often performs in village events and charity fund-raisers, like Relay for Life.
The school also hosts free clinics for children with disabilities.
In 2011, the Chamber of Commerce named Trilogy its business of the year for making a positive impact on the Lake Zurich Area.
“We pay attention to what’s going on around us and want to be involved,” Berman said. “The best thing you can do in whatever business you do is to be a people person and listen.”