The Dance North Story.

Two Cooley’s make for a great team and have grown a workshop into an incredible experience for dancers!

Ann and her mother Jo Ann have presented this one of a kind dance intensive and performance opportunity together for over fifteen years.

Jo owned The Tecumseh Dance Workshop in Tecumseh Michigan for 25 years. There she taught Ann the valuable life and technical skills that carried her into a professional artistic life. Not only her daughter, through the art of dance Jo shaped the lives of thousands of people.

Upon graduation from high school, Ann moved to New York City to pursue and enjoy an exuberant career in both the dance and theatrical Arts spending over 14 years as a Radio City Rockette, touring with Broadway musicals and now keeping time with a busy career as a professional director and choreographer. Ann lives with her husband playwright Gordon Penn in Manhattan.

Upon retirement, Jo and husband Gene made a permanent move to Mackinaw City, where the whole family Ann and her three brothers grew up spending summers on the shores of lake Huron and at the Tee Pee Campground owned and operated by the Cooley family.

Mom wasn’t about to give up her hold on the arts and helping people through dance, no way. She helped start a small studio across the Mackinaw Bridge in St. Ignace Michigan where she then taught the studio owners the ropes and kept on teaching classes. In this tiny space, the old Jr. High School, Mom and Ann held their first Dance North workshop – reaching out to celebrated choreographers and teachers from New York and Toronto. Classes were a success and an Intensive was born.

Dance North continued to grow, we moved the Intensive to Petoskey, MI then to our fabulous HOME Bay Tennis and Fitness facility in Harbor Springs, MI a state of the art modern space. We have been there for over a decade and love it!

On her travels, Ann met some amazing talents with great personalities and began gathering professionals she thought would be powerful and positive influences on the students. The Dance North faculty roster filled with amazing talent. Take a look at our faculty page and get to know our eclectic mix of choreographers and talented teachers.

Dance North is Ann’s annual pilgrimage home to spend time with Mom as a creative team and bring an astounding array of talent ‘up north’ each summer to pass along in site and skill to aspiring and recreational dancers, in a fast paced fun array of classes and rehearsals culminating in a public performance. The Dance North performances are always a hit and a thrill for the students.

Now together Ann and Jo have seen many dancers grow and gain confidence over the years, not only with their technique and performance skills, as human beings as well. They thank everyone who has supported, taught and participated in this one of a kind performance driven, Non-Competitive, dance Intensive.

Once a year Dance North will continue to bring the finest teaching artists and choreographers from both coasts, Michigan, Broadway and LA to northern Michigan’s playground. There, the experience teaches  dancers to reach goals, create friendships not competitions, push themselves further and put on a fantastic public performance on the waterfront in beautiful Mackinaw City, Michigan.

We encourage you to become part of the Dance North Family, we guarantee you will be glad you did!

Thanks for reading and for the visit, Sign up for this years Intensive and performance opportunity here –