Folino's 5- and 6-year-olds study at AMA Dancers & Co., a DesPlaines studio putting on a circus-themed show this weekend at Maine East High School.
"We try to do something different every year to keep it interesting," said dance school owner Ann Marie Frank.
AMA Dancers & Co. said the circus theme encompasses a wide variety of acts that uses all its students, whether they specialize in dance, tumbling or acrobatics.
Folino, of Des Plaines, said her mother was impressed the first time she saw the girls dance in an AMA show because of the excitement, skilled choreography and fast-paced acts.
The participants in this year's show will portray acrobats, clowns, cyclists, entertainers, tightrope walkers, elephants and penguins.
Performers of all ages will take part, from the five 2-year-olds who will act as the elephants to the 25 adult students. A mother-daughter act features 15 moms performing as clowns with their children. A group of dads volunteered to portray penguins and Frank said the final product is "hysterical."
"Our goal is to make all of our students feel like they're in a huge production, the same kind of feeling you'd get if you're on Broadway," Frank said. "We want them to have very high self-esteem."
More than 1,200 tickets are sold to each performance and the studio gives several hundred tickets away to local groups.
It takes the 4-year-old studio five months to put a show together.
Martin's daughter was three when she started taking lessons with Frank through the Des Plaines Park District. Martin said her daughter, now 10, has blossomed because of Frank's teaching style.
Colleen Straka's daughter also began taking lessons with Frank through the park district and they moved with her to the studio, which opened four years ago.
"Each year she shocks me by what else she does to make her studio a better studio," Straka said.
The tumbling and acrobatics program has grown from the original 30 students to 100, a music program opened in September with classes in band, string instruments and piano, and in the fall the studio will begin offering voice, guitar and drama classes. Enrollment has grown to 400 students.
"It has taken off like crazy," Frank said. "It's kind of a one-stop activity center and parents love that."