About BDE

The Barrington Dance Ensemble (BDE) is a vital, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1989 with a current operating budget exceeding $300,000, committed to a dance experience that enriches the lives of its audience. BDE is guided by an Executive Board of Directors and Advisory Board, each with extensive professional backgrounds in dance training and theater production, business development, and fundraising; and enhanced by an Artistic Advisory Board of professional dancers, choreographers and directors. BDE is also supported by a Parent Auxiliary Board.

BDE is a company of gifted dance class students (11-18 years of age) who audition, and once chosen, undertake a rigorous training program, as well as roles in BDE productions and community outreach.

BDE presents major classical ballets such as Coppelia, The Sleeping Beauty, Graduation Ball, and an annual Nutcracker in addition to contemporary works. We serve 5,000 audience members annually and take pride in providing free and discounted tickets to area seniors and children.

BDE melds the talents of professional dancers, pre professionals, and children, which brings a patina of professionalism to the stage with every production. Through our outreach programs, the company has a special focus on providing the unmet needs of disabled and disadvantaged youth through free tickets, programming, and scholarships.

Bringing authentic and professional quality repertoire of classic ballet and contemporary works to a northwest suburban audience is a primary goal of the BDE.


“This experience [performing in BDE’s Nutcracker] for Ellie has been nothing short of magical and extraordinary. She comes home with so many stories and giggles about the older dancers and the professionals. She is in complete awe of them! She is so fortunate to have this experience and we just want to pass along our immense gratitude. I know that the effort is tremendous but BDE is literally giving our dancers memories for a lifetime. We will never forget these years. Thank you!” -Chris, Parent of a BDE Nutcracker participant

Alumni Testimonials
“BDE will always have a special place in my heart.  From the teachers who took the time to invest in me, the amazing performance opportunities, and the lifelong friends I’ve made along the way!” – Alumni Hannah Ray

“I can never offer enough thanks to the Barrington Dance Academy staff for the foundation they gave me and the passion they refined and nurtured within me.  Not a ballet class goes by where I don’t hear some of Ms. Roberta’s corrections still ringing through my ears!” – Alumni Nicole Jamison

“I loved getting the opportunity to dance the productions throughout the years (Nutcracker, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, etc.), they were a blast. The thing that has stuck with me the most is how grateful I am for the amazing, talented, invested faculty at the studio. I know absolutely that I would not be the dancer I am today without Roberta and Karen and Mary and everyone that nurtured me while I was there. All I can say is thank you.” – Alumni Stephanie Cihlar

What do you believe sets BDE apart?
“Its dedication to formal training in the art of dance. The dancers support one another on and off stage. Most importantly,  I think younger students see where they can go in their dance journeys. By being a part of a larger stage production, the students can set goals for themselves as they grow as dancers. It’s not just a disjointed recital where you put on your act and leave the stage. You get to see what you might achieve if you work hard.” – Jen H

“The opportunity to nurture talent and give them the opportunity to grow. Also, the opportunity to perform with professional dancers also raises the bar to the productions as well as the mentorship that arises from such connections.” – Rusty