About Dancewerks

Ellen Werksman, dancer, teacher, choreographer, and the founder of Dancewerks, has been a source of inspiration for the thousands of dancers she has taught over the last 25 years.  Her message of passion, commitment and integrity, along with her realistic sense of the dance business, are shared in every aspect of Dancewerks.

Ms. Werkman’s years of experience in the commercial and artistic communities inspired her to create Dancewerks with the goal of nurturing young students as they explore their potential as dancers and performing artists. She utilizes her extensive knowledge, education, and experience in the dance business to provide opportunities for dancers to realize success through their art.

Passing on the legacy of dance as an art form is a key component of Dancewerks’ philosophy. Ms. Werksman believes that all expressions of dance are interrelated and equally valid, and for a dancer to be truly proficient, they must understand, appreciate, and respect the facets of each style and technique.


Dancewerks is dedicated to training aspiring dancers in the essential foundations of dance while incorporating current innovative trends and unique performance opportunities so students may discover their full potential in the art of dance.


Dancewerks Dance Production Company was founded in 1984 by Director Ellen Werksman as a dance entertainment production company, supplying custom-designed dance performances for industrial shows, trade-shows, private parties, and special events.

Since its founding, Dancewerks has provided dance entertainment for hundreds of prestigious clients such as Oprah Winfrey (her 40th birthday party), TV Guide, Sports Illustrated, Cellular One, and McDonald's. Dancewerks became one of the foremost dance entertainment production companies in Chicago, performing with such luminaries as James Brown, Eartha Kit, and Kenny Ortega (High School Musical / Dirty Dancing Choreographer). They were also chosen to bring to life the dancing piano scene from the hit movie, “BIG.”

After enjoying years of success with her entertainment company, Ms. Werksman expanded Dancewerks, creating and directing the Applause Talent Presentation Scholarship and Workshop Program, where she conducted large-scale dance “Werkshops” that provided a seamless integration for dancers in the dance competition world. Private studios began requesting her Werkshops and in response, the Dancewerks Regional Werkshop Series was created.  

At the same time, Ms. Werksman continued her teaching career, guiding young dancers in the technique and artistry of dance. As dancers became proficient, the need for greater performance opportunities arose, and Ms. Werksman formed the Midwest Dance Collective, an audition-based youth ensemble that connects young dancers to the professional world of dance.

The Dancewerks National Werkshop was developed as a comprehensive summer dance camp where talented and committed students who had benefitted from Dancewerks classes and workshops at various locations throughout the year could come together in one location for an intensive week of instruction under the guidance of Ms. Werksman. The Dancewerks National Werkshop is now in its 13th year of producing quality dance intensives for dancers around the world.

Dancewerks is also an integral component of local community life. Ms. Werksman’s Midwest Dance Collective and Dancewerks students often give their time by donating performances for local charitable organizations in Barrington and Chicago’s Northwest suburbs.

The foundation of the Dancewerks is built on the following:

  • Limited class size in all classes and Werkshops
  • Hands-on correction / personal classroom attention
  • Instructors with professional, real life dance experience
  • Technique-based classes