Welcome to the Dance Castle, Ilene’s dance website!

DANCE . . . . . is a beautiful form of art to which each artist can feel and interpret the magic of the moment.   I love to feel music and I am so grateful for all those who brought dance into my life, especially Paul and Elsie Miller.    Some people say that I was born to dance, but I think I was born to share dancing with you. 
Jim and I dance.  We have been dancing together for over twenty years.  I started dancing 30 years ago with such great inspirations from line dancer Rayma Garcia, choreographers Cam and Lori Wong, and dancers extraordinaire Carlos and Karen Canto.   I went on to study ballroom, Latin and swing dancing from ISTD professional Paul Miller and his wife, Elsie.    I taught Ballroom and Swing dance classes at Columbia College with Paul Miller for five years, then another fifteen years with Jim.  We continue to teach through the Community Education program at Columbia College, in addition to our private home studio. 
We opened our own home studio, The Dance Castle, in September 2010 at the request of our students and friends.  Our mission is to share our love, provide low-cost lessons and have a place to dance.   The lesson donations are used to help finance the Dance Galas and overhead.  Everything gets invested back into dancing.   We do have a day job as Owners-Biologists for our company, Foothill Sierra  Pest Control.  Our evenings are filled with teaching and dancing in our community.
Love and Dance,
Ilene and Jim


Dance  Classes:   2024

Dancing is good for the body and mind.  Ballroom dancing is one of the best ways to prevent dementia – a scientific fact!   Being social increases longevity.  And, it’s just plain fun, fun, fun.   

Exciting Dance Opportunities . . .


Tuolumne Concerts in the Park 2024 and Outdoor Market starts on June 5th!

A poster for "Concerts in the Park 2024 & Outdoor Market" with a schedule of bands and musical genres.

West Side Memorial Park in Tuolumne is kicking off their summer concerts in the park June 5 with music from The Lack Family! And every Wednesday thereafter this summer for an outdoor market and live music with a variety of featured bands! Market opens at 5:00 pm and live music from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Bring your favorite lawn chair or picnic blanket and enjoy the Live entertainment – Arts & Crafts – Food & Snacks.


I’m teaching beginning East Coast Swing Classes from 5 – 5:50 p.m. (right before the band starts)!

7 Wednesday Classes from June 5th to July 17th

Location:  18411 Bay Avenue, Tuolumne (next to the park)

Fee:  $20/person or $35/couple (for 7 classes)

 for more information: (209) 928-1214

Concerts in the Pines, Twain Harte at Eproson Park starts on June 15th with Jim Anderson and the Rebels!   Every Saturday through September 7th from 6 – 8 p.m.


Live Music in June at Inner Sanctum Cellars:

See the “Events” tab above for more dance opportunities!



Date:  Sunday, July 21st (third Sundays of each month)

Time:  1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Place:  First Presbyterian Church (49’er Church), 11155 Jackson Street, Columbia

Music:  DJ & Vocals by Frank Silva

               Music will be played for ballroom, Latin, swing, Country Western and party favorites!

Food:  Light refreshments provided; please bring something to share if you can!

Cost:  $5 for seniors (60+), $10 for adults, no charge for under 18 years old.

Just Dance is a fun place to practice and learn new steps.  Ilene & Jim are always available to help and support you.  Looking forward to seeing you there!

contact Ilene for more information:  wingstodance@yahoo.com



Tom Rigney & Flambeau’s second time at this concert in the park in beautiful Arnold!

6:00-9:00 pm. Free admission.

This concert in outdoors on the lawn.  Food is available at the Bistro (call for times).

Information: www.thebistroespresso.com

Saturday, July 6, 6-8 p.m.:  Johnny Valdes Band at Concert in the Pines, Twain Harte

Saturday, July 13, 7:30 p.m.:  Rod Harris’ Big Band Street Dance at Columbia State Park

Wednesday, August 14, 6-8 p.m.:  Rod Harris’ Big Band at Tuolumne Park




Mondays, 7-9 p.m.  

Folk Dance Classes at The Dance Castle:

   7 – 8 p.m.:  Beginning Level

   8 – 9 p.m.:  Intermediate Level

Dancers and non-dancers of all ages will have fun learning these beautiful international dances.  No partner is needed.  We are loving the music, the dancing, and the wonderful time together with other dancers.  Join us!  There is no charge to be with this fun group!    We meet outside on the pavilion floor whenever possible; look for us there!


5 – 5:50 p.m.:  Ilene will be teaching East Coast Swing at the new Recreation Hall in Tuolumne City:

7 Wednesday Classes from June 5th to July 17th

Location:  18411 Bay Avenue, Tuolumne (next to the park)

Fee:  $20/person or $35/couple (for 7 classes)

The, join us at Tuolumne Park for the “Concerts in the Park” from 6 – 8 p.m. through September 4, 2024.


6 – 7 p.m.:  Beginning Fox Trot  (July 11, 18, 25)                                        $10/person/class
7 – 8 p.m.:  Beginning Waltz 
(July 11, 18, 25)

Contact Amy for more information: 

call or text at (510) 387-8260; or email at thepainawayplan@gmail.com

Private lessons also available

Hot LATIN Fridays!

with Erika & Tom

on summer break

Now doing Bachata and Salsa at The Dance Castle

Next class:  Fall 2024

6:15 PM:  tba

7:00 PM:  tba

Cost:   $10/person/class 


For MORE Salsa with Erika & Tom  . . . 

Salsa Tuesdays at Revive in Downtown Sonora.   

6:15 p.m.:  Beginning – For people who are new at salsa dancing and are still learning the basic steps. 

7:10 p.m.:  Intermediate Beginner – For people who know the basic by heart, know the basic patterns and have been doing salsa for a while.

8 – 9 p.m.:  Salsa Dance Party!

Revive is located at 81 S. Washington Street, downtown Sonora

NOTE: There will NOT be a barista, please bring water!!  

Also, bring shoes you can turn in . . . NOT TENNIS SHOES

For questions, please contact Tom at sonorasalsaclub@gmail.com 

See you out dancing!

The Dance Pavilion

Our “outdoor dance studio and events area!”


We are planning to have 2024 galas!   More details to come!


Check out all the photos on our facebook page:

My daughters manage my facebook page.   I’m totally fb-phobic, so please continue to email me directly or through this website.   Oh . . . I’m told to ask friends to “like” us on facebook . . . .


Inspiring videos for our next flash mob! (the second video takes great creative liberties with the basic steps (fun!):

See you out dancing!

Big hugs from Jim & Ilene


just to share . . . .

2016 was a BLAST and full of dance!

Congratulations to the West Coast Swing Flash Mob group under the direction of Stephanie Merfeld and Jim Clapp:

We had an amazing time performing all over the county for the International West Coast Swing Flash Mob Day!    Dancers:  Jim Duffy with Ilene Tassano, Kyle McDonald with Colleen McHenry, Mark Wright with Lisa Reza, Quentin Jongejan with April Foster and Jim Tassano with Bonnie Brunk.


The Thriller/Zombie class entertained the living in October.  Big thanks to Heather Nordstrom for the classes!  (see photo below)


Dance Fitness Instructor, Susan Forbes, has been amazing at instrumenting our Witchy Dances in October.  The “Dance Castle Witches” had their All Hallow’s Faire Debut on October 22nd as a pre-show for the Tinder Fire Dancers:

The Fire-Dancers were amazing:


I was honored to work with this talented group of young men and women:

Teresa’s Quinceanera, choreographed September, 2014:


Posted in Dance Castle News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Welcome to the Dance Castle, Ilene’s dance website!