Professional Circus Training Program

“I felt drawn toward the ideas of collaboration and doing more than tricks, but using my skills to tell a story. . . It brings me together with a group of other people who want to train and grow in their chosen disciplines. Being around others inspires me to train harder and more seriously.” – Joe Y.

The Actors Gymnasium Professional Circus Training Program is a 9-month intensive intended for dedicated artists looking to take their circus training and performance to the next level whether that is for professional circus performance or an audition into a multi-year circus program. The program values collaboration, improvisation, and creativity with an emphasis on Circus Arts.

DSC_5226wThe curriculum provides 27 hours per week of premier training in Circus Arts, Dance and Physical Theatre.

  • Aerial Arts skills including static trapeze, silks, lyra, straps, Spanish web, invented apparatus, and Chinese pole.
  • Ground skills (hand balancing, tumbling, partner acro, juggling, tightwire, and contortion).
  • Physical theatre training (Physical improvisation, ensemble building, character and clown work) is featured.
  • Dance (contemporary-based technique, improvisation, and choreography).
  • Fundamentals (stretching and conditioning, pilates, special topics such as Circus, History, Rigging and Career Management).

CIP-spring-14-3475-save-for-webCircus studies are augmented by Dance and Physical Theatre classes to help round out our graduates and prepare them for the world of contemporary circus. Physical Theatre training work taught by acclaimed Chicago Physical Theatre professionals including Molly Brennan, Dean Evans and members of the Tony-award winning Lookingglass Theatre ensemble. Dance training in a variety of styles is provided through a collaboration with the ground-breaking dance-theatre company, Lucky Plush Productions.

The Actors Gymnasium Summer Circus Intensive is an innovative six-week intensive workshop dedicated to physical performance and act creation. The program offers performers the chance to choreograph their own work. In this way, the Summer Circus Intensive fosters the creative and artistic development of the performers in addition to the development of technical skills. Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi, Dean Evans and area master teachers provide instruction in a variety of circus and performing art disciplines.Tuition includes weekly private lessons as well as 2-3 hours of open practice time daily. A major and a minor specialty are declared after winter break, and students showcase their work in a capstone performance in May.

The Actors Gymnasium has been a pioneer in Chicago’s circus-theatre movement since 1995. We have been celebrated for our longstanding collaboration with Lookingglass Theatre, and have won awards for artistic excellence from 3Arts, the Illinois Theatre Association, The City of Evanston and the Joseph Jefferson Committee. Multidisciplinary training is a hallmark of The Actors Gym, and applications are encouraged from those who have additional skills in music, acting, design, original work and more.

View more information on our Program Info, “A Day in the Circus Life” Pro Training Student Blog, Partnerships, Program Faculty, and Submissions Details & Applications.