Founded in 2011, the Chicago-based American Chamber Opera features an ensemble committed to singing full-length oratorios in English. Its productions resemble concerts more than traditional opera performances: the music takes center stage as the singers belt and emote in settings that evoke the world of the story with just a few well-placed details.
The high-flying acrobats of Cirque du Soleil set their microscopes on the insect world with Ovo, a family-friendly circus spectacle that exposes the beauty of the lowest levels of our ecosphere. Like the lost Disney adaptation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, the show bridges the gap between humans and their minuscular counterparts with the help of whimsical costumes and set designs. As the first act begins, a monolithic egg lands in the midst of a bustling insect community, raising a commotion among the many-legged residents. Ants and crickets creep across the stage’s webby backdrop, extending their antennae for a peek at the mysterious object. By the time a gawky blue insect arrives onstage and a ladybug sets his heart aflutter, audiences are cocooned to their seats in awe of the stylized habitat. Creature-themed stunts and dance routines fill the show’s nine acts, which include a juggling firefly, a trapeze troupe of scarabs, and a pair of Spanish butterflies engaged in a rousing thumb-wrestling bout.
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.