Intrigue Dance celebrates tenth anniversary
July 6, 2018

Intrigue Dance and Performing Arts Center celebrated its ten-year anniversary on June 10. It will host an open house on Sunday, Aug. 5.

Intrigue Dance and Performing Arts Center celebrated its tenth anniversary on June 10, marking a significant milestone for the continuously growing studio at 1937 S. Archer Ave.

When Intrigue opened in June 2008, it did not have many dancers, but small numbers did not inhibit owner and instructor Pia Hamilton’s hope for a successful dance studio in the South Loop neighborhood.

“We kept on going and just maintained the integrity of what I ultimately wanted to do and what was important to me,” said Hamilton.

Intrigue now counts about 200 dancers in both its recreational and competitive tracks. On the recreational side the studio is less competitive, with dancers coming in once or twice weekly for a less intense experience, as opposed to its competitive track, where dancers compete in challenges throughout the country and practice in the studio on a more regular basis.

The studio offers scholarships for dancers on the competitive team. About 30% to 40% of Intrigue’s competitive and elite dancers receive scholarships.

Hamilton started the studio because she saw a need for an arts program in the South Loop. Ten years ago, the area had no prominent dance studios, although it did have an up-and-coming reputation and was becoming home to a developing population of young families.

Intrigue also shines because of the diverse dance styles it offers students.

“The goal is that anyone who walks in our door can find a place here,” Hamilton said.

The studio hosts classes in dance styles including tap, jazz/contemporary, hip-hop and ballet.

“For me, it’s just about creating the well rounded dancer,” said Hamilton, who credits where she is today in her career to the exposure she had to all the different styles she learned as a young dancer.

Hamilton has been dancing and acting since age three. She played the character “Min” on the children’s television show, Barney and Friends, and at six years old she performed in her first professional show at the Mary Kay Cosmetics dance convention.

In addition to owning Intrigue and serving as the artistic director of Intrigue Dance Performance Company, Hamilton currently performs in The Lion King on Broadway in New York City.

Tessa Weinstein, 12, an Intrigue dancer who started on the competitive track at age seven, noted how the studio’s many offerings set it apart from other studios.

“At lots of the other companies, you have to have the same schedule, but ours is more open and you can take different classes to build on your different strengths,” Weinstein said.

Being part of the Intrigue Dance community allows dancers a greater takeaway than just a trophy. Hamilton explained that the intimate and personal atmosphere at Intrigue plays a huge role in ensuring dancers feel comfortable and do not get stuck in a pretentious environment.

Liv Brown, 15, an Intrigue dancer who started on the competitive track at age 11, considers her teammates at the studio to be like family.

“We spend so much time together in and out of dance, and I’ve made some of my closest friends here,” Brown said.

Both Weinstein and Brown celebrated ten years with Intrigue in June.

Joshua Blake Carter, an Intrigue instructor who has danced professionally with Giordano Dance Chicago, described the atmosphere at Intrigue as one that prepares young dancers not only to compete in the young dance world but to have a career past competitive dance.

“Competitive dance really ends at 18, so it’s great that Pia has instructors who have done things like Broadway or dancing with Joffrey, so Intrigue really offers both of these elements,” Carter said.

Hamilton noted Intrigue Dance and Performing Arts Center is dedicated to sharing, teaching, and encouraging passion for the art of dance and performance. The company aspires to “intrigue” people of all levels and backgrounds to follow their love for dance.

“Longevity in the arts is huge, period,” Carter said. “The fact that Intrigue has made it ten years shows it has staying power. Something is being done that’s right, and there’s a community that supports it; you can’t have the arts without a community, and the community needs the arts.”

Intrigue will host an open house on Sunday, Aug. 5, where those interested may learn about fall discounts, free classes, and community fun.

Find Intrigue online at

—Alexandra Brown