Saol  ∞  Life  ∞  Dance

At Saol Academy, we believe that Irish Dance can teach fundamentals that cross over into all aspects of your child's life. Irish Dance provides an environment for developing friendships and teamwork, and also instills discipline, increases athleticism and coordination, grows confidence, and builds a positive foundation for the future.

Kara Wilke, T.C.R.G. - Instructor/Owner

kara cropped

Kara Wilke is the owner and director of Saol Academy of Irish Dance. She began Irish Dancing at the age of 12, and competed at a National level for 10 years.

kara dance cropped

While dancing competitively, she also worked as an assistant teacher, where she found her passion of teaching. Kara received her Irish Dance Certification, T.C.R.G. (Teagascóir Choimisiúin le Rincí Gaelacha), in December 2011 from The Irish Dance Commission (An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha) in Dublin, Ireland. She is also a member of the Irish Dance Teachers’ Association of North America.

In addition to her years as a competitor, Kara has also been a performer and choreographer, and her experience includes being on stage at Milwaukee's Irish Fest, Celtic Fest in Grant Park, the Landmark Center in St. Paul, MN, as well as being a part of the downtown Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Kara obtained her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology in 2009, and is currently working as an Engineering Systems Manager in Franklin Park. When not dancing, she also trains in powerlifting to improve her strength and maintain a healthy lifestyle.





Caitlin Angelini (Gash), T.C.R.G., A.T.C. - Instructor

587 2Caitlin began Irish dancing at the age of 7 in Oak Park IL. Her mother happened to find a flyer for a trial Irish Dance class at a local store and the rest is history. Caitlin competed regionally  from 1994 to 2008 in both solo and team competitions. She was a 4 time national solo qualifier and 2 time national team competitor. 

caitlin in solo dress

Some of Caitlin’s favorite memories throughout her Irish Dance career occurred when she had the opportunity to perform for hundreds of audiences. She had the opportunity to perform at Soldier Field during a Chicago Bears game, the United Center during a Chicago Bulls game, during mass at Old St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago, and the downtown Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade. Her favorite performances were Weddings including her own wedding in 2016. Caitlin received her T.C.R.G. in 2017.

Caitlin obtained her B.A. in Athletic Training from Lewis University in 2010. She received her Athletic Training Certification in 2011 and has been working as a Certified Athletic Trainer for Athletico Physical Therapy since 2011.

Caitlin currently lives in Des Plaines with her husband Anthony and her daughter Addison.