Recognizing that the desire to dance knows neither the bounds of age nor ability, the instructors at NorthSide tailor their class selection to both adults and children of all levels of experience. They teach various dance styles that run the gamut from classical ballet to jazz and modern dance to hip-hop. Zumba classes supply their sultry rhythms to burn calories, and social partner-dancing classes instruct their attendees in nightclub-worthy moves. The studio space welcomes dancers with vast empty hardwood floors and walls full of mirrored panels, which help dancers hone techniques and foster a healthy sense of competition with the bizarro versions of everyone that live behind the glass.
Pup Crawl Chicago fills six hours with Sam Adams drink specials and other brews from local watering holes, all in the name of PAWS Chicago. Proceeds from the event benefit this leader in the world of animal adoption and no-kill shelters, meaning that with every sip of that beer, a dog somewhere wags its tail and a cat regrets it doesn't have the opposable thumbs needed to write a thank-you letter. In addition to cold beers and the warm feeling that come from helping Chicago's furry citizens, participants in the event get to stock up on ample swag. Luckily, the organizers give each pub-crawler a backpack so they can hold all of their goodies.
Steeped in entertainment history, The New 400 Theaters showcases new and recent Hollywood films inside its four-screen movie house. Opened in 1912 and originally dubbed Regent Theater, the single-screen Rogers Park locale presented 725-seat audiences the chance to witness eclectic vaudeville acts and to shout technique critiques to sword-fighting actors during moving-picture showings. Regent transmogrified into the "400 Theater" in 1930—a name taken from the term for the top 400 society folk—and then into a city-crushing ladybug in 1955, before settling into its current configuration in 2009, with refurnished venues, multiple screens, and a recently opened full-service bar.
Manchu soldiers set out to destroy the Siu Lam Monastery more than 250 years ago, but luckily for martial-arts practitioners, the Buddhist elders inside escaped. One of them was Ng Mui, who, while in hiding, created the self-defense style known today as wing tsun. Instructors at Wing Tsun Kwoon, which is a branch of the Carson Wing Tsun Academy, teach students to reduce their victimization by exuding confidence. They also teach pupils how to defend themselves if they come under attack by someone trying to steal the jewels set in their bellybuttons. Wing tsun practice boasts more than the benefit of self-defense; it can also tone muscles, torch calories, boost flexibility, and improve balance. In the spirt of the Carson Wing Tsun Academy, it focuses on helping its students on their own personal growth, development, and actualization.
After spending a few years in the fitness industry at a large health club, Tony Barbanente realized he wanted more. His vision was to lose the retail-store vibe that plagued big gyms, and to instead curate a comfortable atmosphere to encourage members and trainers to focus on just one thing—fitness. His family-owned fitness facility offers members 8,000 square feet of pristinely maintained equipment. Rows of ellipticals, stationary bikes, and treadmills help guests ramp up their endurance in preparation for competitive races or chasing cars, and strength machines and free weights, including kettlebells, bolster muscles. In addition to the choose-your-own-workout route, V-Tone's class schedule includes indoor cycling and 20-minute Buns 'n' Gunz workouts to sculpt glutes and upper bodies. For those seeking individualized attention, trainers customize personal-training sessions to each trainee, seeking to improve their lives through better health and fitness.
Certified personal trainer Randy "Fit Fury" V'Estres isn't bashful about his strength. On his website he demonstrates an array of fitness feats, including one where he assumes a pushup position, propels himself onto two table ledges, and returns gracefully back to the ground. Equally impressive is the confidence needed to attempt these feats in the first place without fear of being grounded. That same "I can do this" mentality is what he strives to instill in each client at his training studio, Vbody Power Fitness, where he motivates exercisers through personal-training sessions, couples training sessions, and his signature Circuit of Fury boot camps.