At FieldCrest School of Performing Arts, students ascend through three levels of stardom—I'm a Star (for toddlers through preteens), Fashion Plate (for toddlers through preteens), and Camera Ready (for teens)—through bundles of acting, modeling, and dance classes that build a solid foundation of arts education. Acting classes build upon pantomime and improv before moving into performance and technique, and modeling sessions teach students how to prowl and pose like a pro on the catwalk. Ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop lessons give pupils the grace and moves they need to perform classical and contemporary routines.
Since its founding in 1977, FieldCrest has cultivated a motivational environment that encourages self-expression and poise. Besides the arts classes, it also offers etiquette courses that can convert even the most slovenly kids and adults into Miss Manners devotees.
Putting together 200 burlesque shows in four years takes heartfelt dedication and an inordinate supply of pasties. For Vaudezilla founders Red Hot Annie and Dick Dijon, it was a dream come true. Their saucy theatrics have entertained audiences all over Chicago with monthly shows such as "Lincoln Fair" and the long-running, critically acclaimed burlesque parody of The Big Lebowski, which received four-star acclaim in Chicago Stage Review. The crew at Vaudezilla has also worked to innovate the art form, assembling live-band burlesque shows and story-based burlesque theater at Stage 773. In 2011, Vaudezilla opened its Belmont Avenue studio, where professional and amateur performers rehearse for shows, take belly-dance and Zumba classes, and learn the art of burlesque, which was perfected decades ago by 20th-century sex symbol Burl Ives.
Though it was only founded in 2012, Virtual X has already begun making a name for itself in Chicago's established entertainment scene. It counts hip-hop duo Chiology and rapper Solo Xquzit among its roster of clients and produces a radio show on Intellectualradio.com. It also offers up headshots and demo reels as well as acting workshops that help actors build their skills for television, film, and theater that their loved ones film.
Seasoned stage and screen actor Antoine McKay founded McKay Arts to give fresh faces the courage to step into the limelight and provide established artists with a place to cultivate and hone their craft. Antoine, an alumnus of The Second City's theaters in Detroit and Chicago, trains and manages actors and artists and also provides them with creative outlets in the form of regular performances at the Athenaeum Theatre, Pressure Comedy Café, and other local venues. He instructs students of all ages and skill levels in classes of approximately 12 students or in private coaching sessions, which give patrons ample attention and endless attempts to guess who is knocking at hypothetical doors.
Since its founding in 2005, the Southport Performing Arts Conservatory, known as SPACE, has molded master artists with European-style instruction and programs. Their troupe of instructors hone students' two-step skills in dance lessons, and prepare pupils for a stint in an orchestra with their music classes, which include lessons on jazz, Suzuki instruction, and using harmony to get plants to dance.
Employing a battalion of teachers and other educators, Arrowhead Tutors pairs each student with a thoroughly screened expert to aid them in understanding any subject. The staff at Arrowhead Tutors is ready to coach students on an array of subjects, including foreign languages ($40/hour) and full 12-hour ACT prep packages (a $700 value). Students from kindergarten to twelfth grade can also opt for a Try Us package, linking up with a tutor at the cheerful facility before spending three hours immersed in untangling anything from Hamlet to the advanced ciphers used to communicate across playgrounds. In addition to the personal attention, tutees receive an assessment test based on Illinois State standards: 20–30 questions either centered on a single subject or focused comprehensively on grade-level-relevant material. Taking about an hour to complete, the assessment test both illuminates problem areas and sharpens each student’s ability to use No. 2 pencils as makeshift chopsticks.