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.
• Snapshots, playing September 16–October 23 • Season’s Greetings, playing November 11–December 18 • Black Pearl Sings!, playing January 13–February 19 • Ten Chimneys, playing March 9–April 15 • [title of show], playing May 4–June 10
Kids rev up their imaginations inside Exploritorium, transforming into little inventors, climbers, or stars of the stage. Tykes caper through a slew of different interactive spaces, including a two-and-half story play structure chock full of tunnels and slides. A waterfall provides kids with a space to play with water toys, and includes a space for toddlers to sit and play in. Visual creations illuminate a giant light brite, and an engineering station crinkles new folds into little scientifically-minded brains. Nearby, a dress-up area wardrobes kids for stints as princesses and heros, readying them to act out adventures on the nearby stage.
More formal performances occur the third Tuesday of every month. On those days, a storyteller takes over the stage and spins exciting, family-friendly tales. Holidays usher in even more events, such as a Halloween party and an Itty Bitty New Year for families.
For Urban Beat Dance founder Shannon Murray, dancing is much more than a passionate pastime. She earned a BA in Dance Administration and Teaching, and illuminated the path towards fleet-footendess for 15 years in both Chicago and Los Angeles. Having performed at concerts and in music videos, Shannon’s diverse dance experiences help her lead a staff of experience dancers. Instructors guide students toward their individual dance goals, whether they want to join an international ballet company or simply learn sashays and pirouettes to perform during jury deliberations.
After more than a decade spent establishing an innovative contemporary dance company in Santa Fe, Foster Dance Studios founder Ronn Stewart has touched down once more in a studio beside the Foster Purple Line stop. As the flipside of training the pros of the Joffrey Ballet, Stewart stretches an artistic arm toward as wide a student base as possible with his trademark MoPeD—or More People Dancing—curriculum. Exercises designed to develop rich internal imagery and a strong connection to one's body bear fruit in fluid, aerobic movements that spring from within each student. The center's inclusive philosophy extends to Everybody Move classes, where young children develop motor skills that go beyond racecar imitation by twirling scarves in the air, bouncing balls, and playing musical instruments. The newly constructed studios also find room for Gyrotronic fitness classes and dance schooling in nearly every established mode, along with vivid abstract art accidentally produced by a dancer in a just-painted tutu.
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.