[Evanston, IL] – The Actors Gymnasium, the Chicago area’s first and longest-running circus school, will launch a Professional Circus Training Program in September 2015 under the direction of Master Teacher Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi. The application process is open for all interested students.
The program is designed to prepare students for professional circus performance, or for audition into a multi-year circus program. It is intended for dedicated artists looking to take their circus training and theatrical skills to the next level.
“To me, circus is magic,” explains AG Co-Artistic Director Larry DiStasi. “Circus is a dazzling display of one impossible thing after the next. In the circus, people can fly. Who wouldn’t want to do that? I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t. And that’s why we started The Actors Gymnasium. At least, it’s part of the reason. And it’s why I study circus myself.”
Program Director Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi is a second generation circus performer who grew up touring with various circuses, including Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus. She also performed at The Circus World Championships in London, England. In 1990, she moved to Chicago and began her career as a circus teacher and choreographer. Sylvia is a co-founder of The Actors Gymnasium and an Artistic Associate of The Lookingglass Theatre Company.
To provide a foundation for The Professional Circus Training Program and ensure students receive a well-rounded education, AG is partnering with the award-winning companies Lookingglass Theatre and Lucky Plush Productions, who will provide dance and physical theatre instruction. Our faculty also features some of the leading circus and physical comedy instructors in the Chicago area, including Nourbol Meirmanov, Oyunchimeg “Oyuna” Yadamjav and Dean Evans.
The 9-month intensive curriculum provides 27 hours per week of premier training in circus arts, dance and physical theatre. Aerial arts skills including trapeze, silks, lyra, straps, Spanish web, invented apparatus, and Chinese pole are featured, as well as handbalancing, tumbling, partner acrobatics, juggling, tightwire, and contortion. Study also includes stretching and conditioning, pilates, and special topics such as rigging and career management.
Each week, students work on circus skills, stretching and conditioning, dance (classical and modern forms), physical theatre training, and a special topic course. Students also receive one private lesson per week and 2-3 hours of open practice time daily. The program culminates in a capstone performance in May when students will showcase their work.
For more info: Professional Circus Training Program