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

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~~~~


JUST DANCE, the community dance for anyone who wants to dance is BACK!   We found an incredible new DJ/Vocalist who will bring his great energy and vocals for your dancing and listening enjoyment.

We will be meeting every third Sunday of the month, so mark your calendars!

Date:   Sunday, May 21, 2023
Time:  1 p.m.  to  3:30 p.m.
Place:   First Presbyterian Church (aka 49er Church) in Columbia,                  
            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 (your food donations makes this more fun!)
Cost:  $5 for seniors (60+), $10 for adults, no charge for under 18 years old.   This is a fund raiser for the church’s Historic Building Fund.  It’s a win-win:  Dancers are allowed to use this beautiful hall to trade for our donation to the church!
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



Dance  Classes:   2023

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.   

For more information, click on the “classes” tab under the header photo.

Hot LATIN Fridays!

with Erika & Tom

Continuing every other week

Now doing Bachata and Salsa at The Dance Castle

June 9th Classes:

6 p.m – 7 p.m.  Bachata:  Come learn a very popular Latin dance from the Dominican Republic. The class is for those with little or no Bachata dance experience.  You will learn the fundamentals of timing, rhythm, footwork and introduction to partner dancing.

7 p.m. – 8 p.m.  Salsa Dance Pattern: We will practice the basic step and learn a salsa dance pattern.

Cost:   $10/person/class 

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

For MORE Salsa with Erika & Tom  . . . . 

Salsa Thursday’s at Revive in Downtown Sonora.  

6:00 PM Beginning – For people who are new at salsa dancing and are still learning the basic steps. 

7:20 PM Intermediate – For people who know the basic by heart, know the basic patterns and have been doing salsa for a while.

NOTE: There will NOT be a barista, please bring water!!  Also, NO TENNIS SHOES 😊


Folk Dance Classes at The Dance Castle:

Mondays, 7-9 p.m. 

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!


Tuesday Swing Classes at The Dance Castle

Lindy Hop and Swing Fundamentals

Our new instructor, Natasha, will be teaching East Coast Swing and Lindy Hop with Michael Marangio.  Natasha’s passion is dancing Lindy Hop.  Previous swing dance experience recommended.

Tuesdays, on-going, 5:30-6:30 p.m.:  Fundamentals of Swing.  This class is a first building block to learn swing dance.  Students will learn the east coast swing steps and the Charleston and multiple turns from an open position to a closed position.   $10/person/class. 

Tuesdays, on-going, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.:  Beginning Lindy Hop.  The Lindy Hop is the ballroom dance considered to be the father of all swing dances. It is known for its athletic style and can contain aerial jumps, twists, and flips. It was named for Charles Lindbergh’s (Lucky Lindy) transatlantic flight and popular in the 1930s.  $10/person/class


Saturday, June 10, 7 p.m.:  Second Saturday Dance at the Aronos Hall, downtown Sonora.  Donations gratefully accepted.

Sunday, June 11, 6 – 9 p.m.:  WILD, WILD WEST GALA at the Dance Castle with the Rusty Rockers.
We are soooo excited to have our first gala since 2019!    
Attire:  Cowboys, cowgirls, outlaws, saloon girls, prairie folk and more!
Music:  The Rusty Rockers will be playing your Country, Swing, Latin and Ballroom favorites
Price:  $10/person plus a shared potluck dish 
           $20/person without a food contribution
Saturday, July 15, 6 -10 p.m.:  Rod Harris and the Columbia Kick’s Big Band Street Dance at Columbia State Historic Park.  There will be prizes for period costumes and antique vehicles on display.  Free!  Always an enjoyable evening of dance and friends.
May contain: advertisement, poster, and outdoors


The 2023 Concerts in the Pines Lineup at Eproson Field, Twain Harte:

June 17: Jim Anderson & the Rebels

June 24: The Essentials

July 1: Johnny Valdez

July 8: California Creedence

July 15: Hired Gunn

July 22: No Strings Attached

July 29: The Penetrators Groove Band

August 5: Threshold

August 12: Grover Anderson

September 2: Ticket To Ride Electric


The Dance Pavilion

Our “outdoor dance studio and events area!”


We are planning to have 2023 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:

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