Couple takes dance club on the road to connect Lake County dancers

Hills hope to spread word about benefits of movement for everyone

MUNDELEIN – Angela and Richard Hill might have had to close their Mundelein dance studio, but they continue to “Dress Up & Dance!”

When the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the couple from hosting their family-oriented dance parties, they took to the streets. Their Dress Up & Dance! business soon became Dress Up & Dance! On The Move, a mobile dance club in Lake County.

The couple invited both dancers and non-dancers to meet them in park district parking lots and festivals in Lake County.

Free to anyone who wanted to show up, the mobile dances drew regulars of all ages throughout the summer. The events never involved alcohol, just dancing.

“It’s all about dancing, having a great time, like a family party, and staying connected,” said Angela Hill, who grew up dancing.

Along with the mobile dance club, she and her husband of 36 years, Richard, offer dance lessons as part of classes at the College of Lake County and Libertyville High School.

The two always have enjoyed simply dressing up and going dancing.

They used to struggle to find places to go on date nights.

“We don’t like to go to bars or anything to dance because we’re not drinkers,” Angela Hill said. “There was no place in Lake County that you could just go dancing without alcohol.”

The couple opened Dress Up & Dance! in Grayslake in 2011 before moving to a larger location in Mundelein about five years later. The business offered a “clean, safe, nonalcoholic environment” for dancing.

Along with dance lessons, the Hills would host dance parties revolving around holidays and all sorts of themed nights, such as disco night, Mardi Gras night, family night, nights for adults with disabilities, kids night, comedy nights and more.

“We wanted to reach people in whatever they were interested in,” Richard Hill said.

When the pandemic hit, indoor dance nights came to an end.

However, the couple’s desire to “promote movement and good health” didn’t end.

“The majority of our dancers, they’re 45 and above,” Angela Hill said. “We wanted to make sure we’re safe, and it’s hard to dance with masks on indoors. We took it outdoors.”

With Angela Hill as the DJ, the outdoor dances have included all kinds of dance styles, from ballroom to Latin to the hustle to country line dancing and more.

The Hills use social media and email blasts to share information on where they’ll be next.

They’ve had dancers who have met at a dance party end up getting married.

“We love it,” Angela Hill said. “We don’t get paid for those dances. We just do it because we love it. That’s almost like our golf. People love golf. They could do it every day and never get tired of it. We love it that much.”

Although the outdoor dances will be coming to an end as the weather cools, they one day hope to take their mobile dance club even further on the move, potentially traveling to places such as Florida and Louisiana and perhaps even joining cruise lines, Richard Hill said.

“For us, it’s really sort of like a ministry in the way we think we’re doing a great service in trying to help people stay connected with one another,” he said. “People who may not have friends and family, they can come to a dance and meet new people and do something wholesome and actually healthy.”

For information, visit dress-dance.com or call 847-525-1530.