Showing posts with label aerial arts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aerial arts. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Aloft Set To Open Circus Arts Classes And Shows in 109 Year Old Logan Square Church

Nation's Third Largest School 
for Circus Arts 
Set to Open in 109 Year Old 
Logan Square Church

You're never too old to join the circus 

or get fit in an fabulously fun way!

Aloft Circus Arts will teach classes to all ages 
Classes for adults and, for the first time in Aloft's history, children, begin Tuesday, Sept 6.

Here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows, we've adored Aloft Circus, El Circo Cheapo, and fearless leader, Shayna Swanson's various circus arts endeavors for years. I can't even express how excited and overjoyed we are to have Aloft Circus Arts as a near neighbor! My daughter is literally hanging by her heels in anticipation for the long awaited kids classes to begin. Check these guys out. Oh SO highly recommended!

Classes begin for all ages September 6 at 3324 W. Wrightwood, Chicago, IL in trapeze, aerial silks, pole, trampoline, hand-balancing, clowning, acrobatics, and more, including circus-based fitness classes. Aloft will offer 90-minute taster classes ($10) from August 29-Sept 4, giving people an opportunity to try out different classes before they enroll in an eight-week session. Taster classes are for students 18 years and older. Children will be permitted to take a free test class during our regularly scheduled class sessions. For more info, check out

For the last eight years, Aloft Circus Arts has been training amateur and professional circus artists in aerial and earth-bound acrobatics from a rented loft in a west-side industrial warehouse. And in those eight years Aloft has grown into one of the largest and most renowned circus schools in the United States, drawing 250 students per week. Now, with the purchase of a 109-year-old church in Logan Square, Aloft is poised to put down roots that will allow it to launch a new phase of growth. 

"When our landlords told us they wouldn't be renewing our lease, I was really scared for the future of circus arts in Chicago," says Aloft's founder Shayna Swanson, an internationally acclaimed performer with more than 20 years of circus experience. Swanson founded Aloft in 2005 in a small Humboldt Park garage. Since moving from the garage to a Fulton Street loft, the studio has expanded to include circus arts classes for adults at all levels of fitness and skill, as well as a rigorous and selective professional training program and a performing company. 

Aloft teachers are veterans of Cirque du Soleil and myriad other world-class troupes. Aloft's monthly El Circo Cheapo showcase performances routinely sell out, and in 2014 Aloft helped host the first-ever Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival. But last summer all they'd accomplished seemed in jeopardy -- until Swanson found the former First Evangelical Church at the corner of Kimball and Wrightwood.

"As soon as I walked in, I knew we had to move there," she says. "I'm really proud of the fact that a small arts organization was able to purchase this beautiful building and keep it active in the community." Now, after a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised $60,000 to go towards a state-of-the-art rigging system, the church is set to become Chicago's permanent home for contemporary circus.

Interest in contemporary circus is booming in the U.S., and across the globe. Aloft's classes are small and taught progressive manner, allowing students with no previous experience in circus or acrobatics to master challenging physical skills and experience the excitement of this joyful art form, which has been proven to boost self-esteem and fitness in both children and adults.

About Aloft Circus Arts
Aloft is a Chicago-based physical performance company dedicated to telling original stories through world-class circus arts. Aloft combines visual art, urban space, physical movement, modern dance, and aerial performance to build a cohesive emotional tale. In productions meant for theaters, the street, or the open sky, Aloft Circus Arts is changing the limits of what's physically possible in storytelling. 

Animal-free and accessible for all audiences, Aloft Circus Arts is at the forefront of what modern circus is growing into, pushing the limits and leaving old ideas of "circus" in the dust.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dralion's Goddess of the Air Interview With ChiIL Mama #original video interview

Who saw a Cirque du Soleil show at age 12 and told her Mom, "That's what I want to do when I grow up"....and did it?!   (Her mom just flew in from Orlando last week to see her daughter fly through the air on silks at Allstate Arena).

Who trains for and runs triathlons when she's not rocking the aerial arts in Dralion's graceful love story? (Her partner on the silks for the last two years is also her personal trainer and good friend.)

Who can you see LIVE at United Center through July 1, dazzling in cobalt blue, as Azala, Goddess of the Air?  (this tiny but mighty girl has a lofty job description as keeper of the sun and the guardian of immortality.)

Meet Amanda Orozco, fascinating aerial artist with Dralion and world class athlete.   

Friday, February 17, 2012

Act Out: Top Theatre Picks-Lost & Found at Actors Gymnasium

Gala Fundraiser at Actor's Gymnasium-opening night of Lost & Found 2012

Lost & Found: A Recycled Circus

Back by popular demand!
February 11 – March 11, 2012

"This production will charm, warm and wow you…sly and nuanced clowning…wordless,  impressive poetry" - Chicago Theatre Blog. 

"Director Lawrence DiStasi showcases a wry sense of humor and some superb acrobatics in this quirky Actors Gymnasium show" "Recommended"  - Chicago Reader.

We had the great pleasure of checking out opening night of Lost & Found at The Actors Gymnasium last Saturday.   The caliber of their circus arts is truly top notch.  This colorful extravaganza combines all of our favorite elements--aerial acts, steampunkery, a funky, rag tag band of urchins playing instruments and making mischief, a love triangle, technology as art, low tech fun, recycled and upcycled outfits, drums and toys.  We'll be returning to catch the show again with the kids as soon as possible.  Lost and Found is highly recommended, family friendly fun for all ages.   We were quite impressed with the cast, and the cast off set dressings.  We're also enamored with Co-Artistic Director, Lawrence E. DiStasi's statement about the show.   He says:

I didn't used to like old things.  They kind of depressed me.  But now, when someone takes an old chair or something, a thing that has managed, against all odds, to survive the world for many years, and they give it a little careful attention-I think it's incredibly moving.  And these things have so much personality.  It's almost like they're alive.  Like people.   They have souls in a way.  Unfortunately most of the stuff we all bring into our lives is disposable.  And things that are made to be thrown away, are sad company.  It's so hard to stay away from them, but who needs that kind of sadness?   Anyway, I think there is treasure in our garbage-in what we throw away, and overlook.   And those people we throw away and overlook too.  There is magic in our trash.  And probably our future there too.

ChiIL Mama has potential video interviews in the works with the Artistic Directory and also actor/Chicago Dad, David Catlin, who plays alongside both of his daughters in the show.   Saylor, who is 9 and in 4th grade, went to preschool with ChiIL Mama's Sage.   Saylor's younger sister, Emerson, is a 6 year old first grader and Lost & Found 2012 is her first circus show!   So check back with ChiIL Mama like we vote in Chi, IL...early and often.   We have lots of exciting things in store.

We also sat next to an accomplished aerialist, whom we photographed and chatted with in the past, when she played Alice in Lookingglass' last remount of their namesake story.  We also saw familiar faces from CircEsteem, including Will, a talented high school senior, who plays the lead juggler in Lost & Found.   We highly recommend checking it out.

Lost & Found gets ChiIL Mama's GRRREAT GREEN SEAL OF APPROVAL:   99% Recycled! - Costumes, props and set pieces used in this show are re-purposed, recycled, found-object art.

Last year's runaway hit, Lost and Found: A Recycled Circus returns to The Actors Gymnasium! A collaborative original work by Co-Artistic Directors Larry DiStasi and Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi, together with an amazing team of designers and performers, this circus production explores the world of second-hand treasure. Cast-off junk and cast-off characters are saved in this show and given thrilling, new life. Lost and Found: A Recycled Circus features aerial acrobatics, live music, and magical, found-object invention. 

Shows run every Friday through Sunday till March 11th.
The Actors Gymnasium
927 Noyes St
Evanston, IL 60201

Recommended for ages 5 and up.   
Adults $15
Students with ID and kids under 13 are $10

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