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 consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, which was cofounded by legendary toe tapper Fred Astaire himself, shepherd students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or mambo. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the Summer Dance Open House provides a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking. During the event, guests sip complimentary glasses of white wine and nibble on snacks as they take mental notes during rumba and swing classes. Professional performances will set a fleet-footed example as guests practice steps with new and familiar partners and shimmy the night away. Apprentice foot flashers can develop their skills and confidence in three group classes, during which they'll trip the light fantastic with fellow students without tripping on the light itself.
Citadel Theatre Company traverses the peaks and valleys of human experience with a diverse repertoire of dramatic, comedic, contemporary, and classical works. In February, playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer hems theatergoers into the seams of a sputtering marriage during Sirens, which was showcased at the 2010 Humana Festival of New American Plays. After Sam and Rose build their entire relationship on the financial fortune of a chart-topping song, their ties begin to fray as Sam looks up an old flame by scouring social-media websites and visiting a retirement home for firefighters. Rose, in an attempt to yank Sam out of his rut, schedules a romantic cruise for the couple, where mythological temptation further illuminates Sam's predicament. Citadel Theatre's 150-seat tiered setup regales guests with optimal sight lines, and the venue's thrust stage allows actors to test the crowd's temperature with their big toe prior to cannonballing into each performance.
Popcorn Media gives kids the chance to experience strutting down the red carpet during their Movie Star workshops and weeklong camps. Attendees soak up the secrets of screen acting from a director who works with Disney and Nickelodeon studios while producing their own unique work. They oversee each production element that goes into a film's creation, from lighting and filming to rehearsing and giving their parents an autograph. At the end of each camp, kids attend a red-carpet premier of their work amid the applause of friends and family.
Metropolis Performing Arts Center enriches the community with the beauty and culture of the theater, so it only makes sense that their version of a 5K is intensely theatrical. Dressed as a favorite stage, screen, or TV character, participants walk, jog, and monologue their way through a route that rolls by the verdant lawns and tree-lined streets of Arlington Heights. Twists and turns down Walnut and Maple and Chestnut streets breaks up Evergreen and Highland Avenue straightaways, and prizes at the finish line reward out-of-breath thespians for creating the best group or individual costumes.
The Little Gym of Gurnee, a branch of the nationwide network of Little Gyms, fosters educational wonderment, physical development, and self-confidence in children aged four months to 12 years old through engaging, interactive classes. Trained instructors lead the classes and impart motor skills, language development, and leadership skills through karate and dance classes, as well as brain boost activities—all with the goal of encouraging age-appropriate development in a safe and enjoyable atmosphere.