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Boreal Community Media

Meet your Cook County Neighbor: Christine Curtis

May 11, 2024 06:04AM ● By Editor
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A Boreal Community Media exclusive - May 11, 2024

Come learn more about Christine Curtis, your Cook County friend and neighbor, who teaches dance at the Cook County YMCA and choreographs musicals.

How did you "land" in Cook County?  Will you share how your journey brought you here?

I moved to Cook County at the age of fifteen, a day before the start of my sophomore year of high school. My dad took a job as the manager (FBO) of the Cook County Airport so our family relocated here from Iowa. I lived in St. Paul to attend college and moved back to the County after graduating college. My husband, Ashley, is also from here, and we are happy to call Cook County home and raise our two sons here.  

You have been described as a "dance and play choreographer extraordinaire".  How did you get started in this?  Were you involved in dance as a child?

That is very kind. I started dancing at the age of four. I had joint issues and a foot that turned inward. Doctors recommended trying ballet before resorting to surgery. I ended up loving dance, and while I will never have perfect turn-out, I never had to have surgery. When I moved to Cook County, I took classes from Renee Moe (Sterling Dance). She helped expand my love of dance and allowed me to teach my own class as a senior in high school. I currently teach and run a dance program for the Y with my sister, Breana Johnson. We have the most amazing dance community! As for plays, Sue Hennesey, asked if I would be interested in choreographing a youth play almost ten years ago. I had no experience with musicals, but I was happy to explore the theater world. I think I have choreographed eleven musicals now, and I really enjoy it. When asked throughout elementary school what I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered “dance teacher”, so I am extremely lucky to be able to work with my passion. 


When you are not busy working, what is a favorite way for you to unwind and relax?

I enjoy rock hunting with my two boys and spending time near water. The sound of waves is very calming to me, but on a regular night, I love playing video games to unwind.  

What is something that many people do not know about you that would surprise them to hear?

Keeping with the video game theme, I collect, clean, and repair video games and systems of every generation. I will disassemble gaming systems, game cartridges, and controllers. I clean them, order parts for repair, and reassemble them in my spare time. I also keep a running catalog of our collection.

What is the best advice you were ever given and how did it impact your life?

I have received many great pieces of advice throughout the years, but I am currently in the middle of dance recital season, so I picked a quote from one of my dance teachers about performing. “Your body will know what to do even if your brain forgets.” Being a person who often spends too much time analyzing everything, it was a nice way of saying get out of your own head and be present in your body. I had practiced and prepared, now I just needed to let go and dance. 


What is your favorite season that you enjoy in Cook County and why?

It is hard to pick just one season. I really love July-December. The summer months with less bugs into the beautiful fall weather/colors, followed by my favorite holiday months. I collect ornaments, so I am always excited to break out my trees for Halloween and Christmas. I find their lights help brighten the darker months.  

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