With founder and artistic director Jorge Niedas at the helm, the professional dancers at Tango 21 teach bipeds how to execute skillful ballet and tango moves. A Buenos Aires native, Niedas picked up tango in local dance clubs before moving to Chicago as a ballet dancer with the Lyric Opera. Now, he and his team draw upon that dual background to infuse tango's twirls, steps, and dips with classical grace. Burgeoning ballet and tango dancers can pirouette in private classes, take group classes, or attend a drop-in class, as long as they drop in with grace.
Any martial-arts education involves hard knocks and tough falls, but U.S. Elite Martial Arts & Fitness Center cushions the blows with its 4,000 square feet of matted floors. Atop them, trainees exchange blows in boxing and muay thai kickboxing classes. Brazilian jujitsu, wrestling, and judo fighters perform takedowns as elegant as they are brutal, following up with holds and joint locks that immobilize an opponent’s body. The center also trains children in self-defense, tying their lessons into school to raise grades and impart nonviolent antibullying techniques, such as calling a playground summit.
TourBound Golf Academy fosters score-shaving improvement for golfers of all abilities with the latest PGA Tour simulators and professional instructors. The immense screens of simulators line the walls, vividly bringing to life the verdant landscapes of 50 of the world's most famous courses. To allow for realistic play, the highly detailed simulator experience takes into account factors such as wind currents, ball spin, and excessively sweaty palms to inform the outcome of each swing. Offering a more hands-on kind of swing sprucing, the academy offers sessions with the TourBound robot, which can correct common swing imbalances, such as having too steep a backswing or failing to transfer body weight through the swing. The long arms of the robot physically guide hands through the proper motions, giving players a feel for the proper technique while making sarcastic remarks about human mortality.
For those looking for less structured practice, the academy also offers hitting bays that foster rote swing mechanics. Between time spent peering into the murky depths of their golf swing, guests can relax amid plush leather seats and spacious locker room.
Old Orchard Country Club came into existence in 1932, when the Wickersham family purchased the land and began to manicure it. Over the decades, the club became such a community staple that the Prospect Heights Park District bought it in 1999, with a promise to provide the same level of country-club service to the general public. The park district's landscapers maintain the golf course's gently rolling, narrow fairways, which shoot and snake between trees and numerous traps. The course features lots of dangerous water, with hazards between the golfer and the hole on at least nine occasions. The ninth hole—a par 5—bends right around the forest, only to reveal a longer stretch of fairway hemmed in by triple water hazards leading to an equally narrow green. The 17th hole also presents a challenge, with the fairway bisected by a wide river, making the safest shot a long drive straight to the green, which sits framed by a pair of sand bunkers.
Course at a Glance: