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.   

Introductory Dance Classes coming in March 2024 with Ilene & Jim

The Introductory Classes will be held every Wednesday from March 6 to April 10, 2024.   That’s six, weekly classes for each dance (Ballroom or Swing).  Take both, or focus on one.  
This link is for all the classes offered through Community Education at Columbia College.  Scroll down to the dance classes to enroll through the community ed website.   You may also enroll on the first day of class, but the online registration is preferred.
Both classes will be held at The Dance Castle studio.

Introduction to Ballroom Dance

6 Wednesdays, March 6 –  April 10, 2024
The Dance Castle
23496 Gold Springs Dr., Columbia, CA 95310

Learn to dance three dances in six lessons! First-time dancers will learn three social dances: waltz, foxtrot, and rumba in six hours. You will be able to dance socially right away. Join the dance community while having fun, getting exercise, and fighting dementia (yes, it’s been proven!). No partner or dance experience necessary.

Instructors- Jim and Ilene Tassano

Dates- 6 Wednesdays, March 6, 2024- April 10, 2024

Time: 6:00pm-7:00pm

Location- The Dance Castle

Cost- $50

Introduction to Swing Dance

6 Wednesdays, March 6 – April 10, 2024
The Dance Castle
23496 Gold Springs Dr., Columbia, CA 95310

Swing is the most popular and useful dance in Tuolumne County. You will be out dancing in six weeks to 40s, 50s, Big Band, country-western, and popular music. Join the other dancers at events like Concert in the Pines, Concert in the Parks, Columbia Street Dance, and other events. This course is for first-time dancers and anyone wanting to have fun, get exercise and learn single-rhythm East Coast Swing. Optional field trips will be encouraged to help you get out and dance.

Instructors- Jim and Ilene Tassano

Dates- 6 Wednesdays, March 6, 2024 to April 10, 2024 

Location- The Dance Castle

Time- 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Cost- $50

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

Next class:  Friday, February 9, 2024:

6:00 PM:  Salsa dance pattern


7:00 PM Salsa Rueda – We will be doing closed and open position Salsa Rueda moves!


Cost:   $10/person/class 

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

For MORE Salsa with Erika & Tom  . . . 

Salsa Tuesdays at Revive in Downtown Sonora.   

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

7:00 p.m.:  Intermediate – 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 😊


Folk Dance Classes at The Dance Castle:

Mondays, 7-9 p.m.  

   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!

Lindy Hop Instruction 

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.

Contact Natasha for more information:  natasha.divaris.landry@gmail.com, (209) 447-7860



Date:  Sunday, February 18th (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

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:

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