The Judith Svalander School of Ballet in downtown Crystal Lake is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
The school, located at 83 E. Woodstock St., started in 1972 with only 10 students.
It now has grown to close to 400 students 40 years later.
“I love teaching here in McHenry County, and the people here are hard working dancers who have a deep commitment and dedication to dance and the theater,” Judith Svalander said.
“The community has always been extremely supportive of having pro dance here and many – over 40 – have gone on to professional dance careers through the USA and Europe."
“It’s an amazing feat for a school not located in a major city,” she added.
Svalander herself was a professional dancer.
She started with the Lyric Opera Ballet, directed by the legendary Ruth Page in Chicago. She went there after training with Bentley Stone and Walter Camryn in Chicago, she said.
She then danced in Europe for 10 years.
Svalander returned home and opened her school in McHenry County in 1972.
One of the most popular events produced by the school is its annual Nutcracker production.
The show requires six to eight weeks of rehearsals from mid-October to the opening, which runs December 8 to 16 this year.
Tickets for the production, which takes place at the Woodstock Opera House, can be purchased by calling (815) 338-5300, or by visiting Woodstock Opera House website.