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.
Back in 1974, Lou Conte Dance Studio was nothing more than a twinkle in Claire Bataille's eye. Nearly 40 years and a slew of international acclaim later, the studio has become a pillar of the Chicago dance community. Today, Bataille—who earned the Ruth Page Award for Outstanding Dancer— and her staff lead more than 70 dance and fitness classes every week for teens, adults, beginners, and professionals. Their regular workshops delve into the nuances and history of dance, enhancing the curriculum with focused lessons and special lectures on the dangers of carelessly discarding banana peels.
As a child, Pia Hamilton danced as Min on the children’s TV show Barney and Friends. Nowadays, she continues to showcase her love of dance at Intrigue Dance and Performing Arts Center, an all-ages studio she co-owns with her husband, actor Dustin Hamilton. The camera-seasoned duo has opened a spacious new facility that houses three dance studios, offering classes such as ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop. They also host musical-theater classes that impart genre-specific dance tips, such as never to dance directly in front of Annie. They accommodate multiple skill levels, introducing both kids and adults to the world of dance.
A cornucopia of sketch comedy performances spills from Stage 773, revamped in 2011 with a full-scale renovation that created four intimate stages from the initial too-intimate 773 stages. Longtime Chicago performers Brian Posen, Jill Valentine, and Brian Peterlin helm the theater, where they host the annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival every January to often sold-out crowds. They also draw in local acts and hold a weekly open-mic night called SMUSH, which welcomes sketch groups, improv troupes, and comedians.
For more than a decade, House Theatre has devoted itself to creating experiences that emphasize the magic of live theater. First achieving prominence with its supernatural thriller The Sparrow, the outfit has gone on to win 19 Joseph Jefferson Awards and Broadway in Chicago’s Emerging Theater Award. Dedicated to daring storytelling, House Theatre’s productions weave resonant music with mechanical feats of onstage magic to create fully immersive experiences that dazzle audiences and convince actors that they can never go back to the real world or their real families.
Chicago Children's Theatre's productions sprout up on stages in and around the city, inspiring families' imaginations and engaging Chicago's diverse communities. Past seasons have staged adaptations of books, such as Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Kafka's The Metamorphosis, and interactive parable plays geared toward toddlers and their teddy bears. Committed to making theater accessible to all, the troupe's Red Kite Project composes multisensory works tailored to children with autism.