Ballet Academy in Lincoln Park strives to create an environment to develop and foster natural and creative potential of a child, from awakening an interest in the art of dance to gaining professional skills. Dance lessons and performances facilitate in developing very important characters in a child: hard work, discipline, push for perfection, responsibility, and teamwork.

Behind every dancer who believes in themselves, is a teacher who believed in them first.


Vera Zhukova
Artistic Director, Instructor for Pre-Ballet, Ballet, and Character Dance classes
Vera Zhukova trained and received her diploma in the pedagogy of ballet and character dance from the prestigious State Academy of Art and Culture in Chelyabinsk, Russia. She was a principal dancer with the State Ural Folk Choir and Dance Ensemble from 1975 to 1981, performing in several countries around the world. She was the artistic director of the Municipal Children's Dance Theater in Yekaterinburg, Russia, for thirteen years. Under her direction, students of the dance theater successfully participated in competitions in the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Turkey, and Finland. She received the Russian Federation's honorable dance teacher award in the year 2000. Several of Vera's former students have pursued dance careers, either as professional performers or dance instructors. She is also the author of a book on dance teaching methods, which has been well received by dance instructors in her native Russia.
Prior to founding Ballet Academy in Lincoln Park, Vera was the artistic director of the Dmitri Roudnev Ballet School of Chicago, where she also taught ballet and character dance. She is currently an instructor at Salt Creek Ballet, located in Westmont, Illinois. Her ballet teaching is based on the Vaganova syllabus, which has proven to be highly successful with young children. She thoroughly enjoys working with children and loves sharing her knowledge of dance theater with them. She strives to help her students achieve their full dance potential.

Janell Huckstadt
Instructor for "Little Steps", Pre-Ballet, Ballet and Jazz classes
Janell Huckstadt has been dancing since she was young with training in jazz, hip hop, lyrical and intensive training in Ballet at Champaign Urbana Ballet Academy under Deanna Dotty and summer Intensives with Ballet Internationale under Irina Kolpakova and Amanda McKerrow of The American Ballet Theatre. She received her degree in dance from Columbia College Chicago in 2014 with a focus on choreography. She has choreographed and performed with such groups as The Coincidentals and Southern Illinois Dance Company. She loves teaching young dancers, and she has a special interest in the use of dance as a healing practice.


Yevgeniya Zhukova
Instructor for "Little Steps", Pre-Ballet and Jazz classes
Yevgeniya Zhukova, known to her students as Miss Yevi started her dance career at the age of four years old with a Municipal Dance Theater in Yekaterinburg, Russia. By the age of fourteen, Yevgeniya has participated in many dance festivals and competitions in Russia as well as many other countries in Eastern Europe and Asia.
When Yevgeniya traveled to USA, she started taking classes with Salt Creek Ballet and joined the dance troupe at her high school. With her high school dance troupe, Yevgeniya participated in many state and national competitions. Currently, Yevgeniya is completing her business degree from DePaul University and continuing her dance education with Hubbard Street Dance School in Chicago.