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posted: 3/6/2014 1:24 PM

Naperville Park District Dance Academy has a new leader

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By Sameera Luthman
Naperville Park District

Chesney Murphy has been named the new dance coordinator for the Naperville Park District Dance Academy and the artistic director for Élan Dance Company.

Murphy comes to the academy with a lifetime of dance experience, starting with classical ballet at the Judith Svalander School of Ballet in Crystal Lake and continuing with a bachelor of arts degree in dance performance and choreography from Columbia College Chicago.

While at Columbia, Chesney was able to train in many dance techniques, including African dance, contact improvisation, hip-hop, and musical theater dance.

Murphy's dance career now focuses on teaching and choreography. Her work has been seen in full-length musical productions, including "Hello, Dolly," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," "Hairspray" and "A Chorus Line," as well as on numerous stages around the Chicago area.

"I love to share my passion for dance with my students," Murphy said. "I believe that dance is a celebration of the human spirit and an expression of both individuality and community. I am excited to lead and enhance the Naperville Park District Dance Academy and the Élan Dance Company."

In addition to new leadership, expanded programs and improvements are planned for the dance academy and Élan Dance Company this spring and summer.

A new wood floor will be installed in the dance studio in Room 123 at the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center. This will be the park district's second wood-floor studio. The first wood floor was installed at the 95th Street Center in 2012 and has received rave reviews by dancers and teachers who have practiced or performed there.

Starting in the summer, the dance academy will offer several new dance classes and classes with multiple dance styles, such as a jazz/tap class and a tumbling/dance class. There also will be more program options for younger dancers.

Élan Dance Company is a program of the Naperville Park District and is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Élan's mission is to be a creative, accessible and inclusive pre-professional dance company, offering young dancers an entry point into the world of dance performance.

To learn more about Élan Dance Company, the Dance Academy and other Naperville Park District programs and facilities, visit