The six-week Summer Intensive offers a mix of conditioning and instruction while working with a cross section of Chicago’s leading circus, dance, and physical theatre instructors to expand what you’re capable of. Through this and collaborations with your fellow students, you begin the creative process of choreographing a circus movement piece to call your own.
Tuesdays 8:15 – 9:30pm
Thursdays 8:30 – 9:30pm
Saturdays 9 – 10am
Wednesdays 8:15 – 9:30pm
Tuesdays 6:15 – 7:30pm
Our signature “Learn to Fly” class. Build strength and flexibility while learning sequences on trapeze, lyra, Spanish web, and aerial silks. Discover your daring side as you execute a variety of climbs, inversions, and drops.
Our Aerial Arts classes are perfect for performers looking to add new skills to their arsenal as well as for non-performers seeking a unique physical challenge.
Ballet For Aerialists
Thursdays 7:15 – 8:15pm
A basic ballet class focused on the fundamentals of the technique. A strong emphasis on alignment, proper muscular engagement, and upper/lower body connectivity.
Fridays 4:15 – 5:15pm
Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian Martial Art, is where the rhythm of dance, the playfulness of a game, and the intensity of a fighting system meet. Be ready to get in shape, move to some music, and learn about another culture. All levels are welcome in this class!
Chinese POle (Beginning)
Thursdays 7:15 – 8:30pm
Push your limits on Chinese Pole! Students will increase core and upper body strength, build endurance and improve active flexibility as we climb, slide, and spin on this unique apparatus.
Pre requisites - 5 full push ups, the ability to hang for 30 seconds. Pole shoes required, stretch denim pants and long sleeves recommended
Fridays 5:30 – 6:30pm
Upgrade your workout regimen! Join us for a truly unique fitness experience that incorporates circus apparatus to train muscles you didn’t even know you had. Think squats...but in an aerial silk! This class is beginner-friendly and open to all fitness levels.
Thursdays 6:15 – 7:15pm
This class will begin with a warm up using exercises drawn from various dance techniques including ballet, modern, and jazz. Strong focus on musicality and full body movements. Class will culminate in a fun combo. Open to all levels.
Flexibility: Thursdays 6 – 7pm
Get ready to get bendy! In this all levels class we will focus on building a balance of flexibility and strength to increase mobility and work towards becoming a human pretzel. Different classes will focus on different body regions including hip, back, and side bending/twisting.
Mondays 8:15 – 9:30pm or Thursdays 6:15 – 7:15pm
People of all physical backgrounds are welcome in this multi-level class! Students work with an instructor to push their individual tumbling abilities and develop increased coordination and agility.
Handstands & Handbalancing
Mondays 7:15 – 8pm
Start from scratch and learn the fundamentals of flight in inversions training. Gain access to your strength and confidence to de-mystify headstands, forearm stands & handstands.
Increase strength and mobility in a mat-based class for all fitness levels. Improve posture and build better movement habits through increased body awareness. Great as a standalone class, or as a complement to other circus work.
Tuesdays 6:15 – 7:30pm
Whether you're brand new to aerial silks or you're working on perfecting your technique this is the class for you! Beginning silks will focus on classic skill building, climbing, foot locks, inversions, endurance, conditioning, and (the icing on the cake) even some choreography!
Sundays 10am – 1:30pm ($450, 7/11 – 9/12)
Love classic action movies like Errol Flynn’s “Robin Hood” or “The Princess Bride?" Learn Single Sword, a theatrical style of sword play dating back to the golden age of Hollywood.
Single Sword is a theatrical style of sword play dating back to the golden age of Hollywood. Featured in the classic swashbuckling great movies of the 30’s and 40’s and modern classics like “The Princess Bride." Influenced by modern sabre fencing, this is one of the most useful sword techniques to master.
Particular attention will be paid to the safeties required to perform fights as well as how to connect stage combat techniques to text, character and intention. The course will conclude with a skills proficiency test. Students that pass will receive a Society of American Fight Director’s certificate in Single Sword.
The advertising doesn’t lie: you will learn to fly! Yes, even me, 185 pounds of mom and sedentary desk worker. Do your inner child a favor and take a class here. The teachers are so supportive, figuratively and sometimes literally. I took the adult aerial arts class (with Sylvia and David) and I surprised myself by getting a lot stronger and learning so much over the course of 16 weeks. I did things on the last day of class that I never would have believed I could do on the first.
– Emily P., Yelp Reviewer
Please note: All class sales are final, and refunds will not be given if classes are moved online due to health restrictions.
In general, students start with and repeat recreational-level classes until they develop a higher level of confidence, strength and proficiency. While a background in dance, gymnastics or other athletic pursuits will be an advantage, circus arts and physical theatre employ our muscle groups in different ways than other activities and it most often takes several sessions for students of all ages to adapt and master skills necessary to move to the advanced level.
Students need to receive instructor permission to take advanced classes and in some cases, advancement is subject to passing a skills test. If you feel ready to advance to an advanced-level class, we encourage you to talk to your instructor, who can assess if you are ready.
We recommend wearing clothing you are comfortable moving in, that is not too loose fitting.
Close-toed gym shoes should be worn to Parkour and all Circus Arts classes to use during stilting and unicycling. All other classes require bare feet.
Yes! If you register online after the class has started, your tuition will be automatically pro-rated.
Unfortunately, we are unable to allow make-ups for missed classes, as it makes it challenging for us to ensure a safe ratio of students to instructors in each class.
At the Actors Gymnasium, we operate on a philosophy that using multiple apparatus in conjunction with each other builds the increased strength, confidence, and performance skills critical to help artists achieve a level of competence that allows for the meaningful concentration on a specialized skill or apparatus. Because of that, most of our classes teach multiple apparatus.
Foundational skills remain constant from one apparatus to another. Wraps, climbs, hangs and most baseline tricks can be learned and improved on any apparatus. Until students reach an advanced skill level with sufficient strength and knowledge, the benefits of specializing will be minimal.
No, the parking lot at the Noyes Cultural Arts center is easy for students to be dropped off and picked up before and after class.
For those who want to stay nearby, there are benches throughout the building where you can wait for your child as well as Tallmadge Park just outside our doors.
No, parents are not allowed to sit in on their child’s class, unless the class is a parent-participation class.