Why join a gym when you can join the circus?

April 21, 2009 10:18:56 AM PDT
You've probably seen them at the circus; Gym Wheels are large metal wheels that performers use while doing various stunts. They've been called "hamster wheels for humans" and they can provide a fun and unusual way to get fit. CircEsteem CircEsteem.org, in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood, can teach anyone to perform on the Gym Wheel, while getting a great workout.

CircEsteem, a non-profit organization that encourages self-esteem and confidence in children through the teaching of circus arts, offers Gym Wheel classes for adults; even seniors have signed up. The art of the Gym Wheel, a large metal structure resembling a hamster wheel, combines flexibility and acrobatics. CircEsteem's Gym Wheel classes are open to individuals of all abilities; previous gymnastics or circus experience not necessary.

Invented in 1925 by Bavarian blacksmith Otto Feick, Gym Wheel, often called German Wheel, is a competitive gymnastic discipline in Europe. In the United States, Gym Wheel is a staple of circus shows such as Cirque du Soleil. CircEsteem has more Gym Wheels and more certified instructors than anywhere else in the United States. CircEsteem's Gym Wheel classes will be lead by Wolfgang Bientzle, an eight time European Gym Wheel Champion who has performed with Cirque du Soleil and on The Late Show with David Letterman and currently serves as Creative Director of the Chicago Youth Circus. Chris Delgado, who has performed Gym Wheel in Millennium Park and Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, and Nich Galzin, a National Sport Acrobatics Champion, will also instruct. Students will have the opportunity to perform in CircEsteem's Spring Circus and to develop their own routines to perform on their own. They will also have the opportunity to compete at the International Championships if they choose.

Classes are held Tuesday evenings from 8:30-10:00 p.m., Wednesday mornings from 10:00-11:30 a.m., and Wednesday nights from 7:30-9:00 p.m. at Alternatives, Inc. at 4730 N. Sheridan Road in Uptown. The cost is $180 per session (eight classes) and $30 for a drop-in class.

In addition, CircEsteem offers General Circus Skills classes for adults, teaching juggling, clown skills, stilt-walking, unicycling and more, on Monday nights from 7:30-9:00pm at 4730 N. Sheridan Road. Classes are $180 for eight classes or $30 for drop-in. To register, call 312-731-HAHA (4242) or email maribeth@circesteem.org.

CircEsteem also offers Summer Camp, which runs for 10 weeks from June 22-August 28th, Monday through Friday 9:00am-3:00pm. For more information, visit www.CircEsteem.org or call 312.731-HAHA (4242)

CircEsteem is a non-profit organization whose mission is to build self-esteem through circus arts and to unite youth from different cultural, racial, and economic backgrounds. CircEsteem provides afterschool, in-school and now adult programming; 70% of youth attend on scholarship.

CIRCESTEEM PRESENTS 8th ANNUAL SPRING CIRCUS
Performances by children, teens and one spry senior

CircEsteem and the Chicago Youth Circus present the 8th Annual Spring Circus, a dynamic multi-act production with trapeze, juggling, and acrobatics performances by children ages 8-18. For the first time this year the Circus will also feature a gym wheel performance by students from CircEsteem's adult classes, including 64-year-old Melanie Sikorski, CircEsteem's first senior student, and Edith Keme and Dave Ettelson, the reigning U.S. Gym Wheel Junior Champions. Both Keme and Ettelson will represent the U.S. at the World Gym Wheel Championships in Baar, Switzerland later this month.

The CircEsteem's Spring Circus will be presented on Friday, May 15 at 7:30p.m.; Saturday, May 16 at 4:00p.m.and 7:30p.m., and Sunday, May 17 at 2:00p.m. Performances will take place at the O'Rourke Center, Truman College 1145 W. Wilson, Chicago, IL 60640.

Advance tickets are for $10 for children, $15 for adult; at the door, tickets are $12 for children, $17 for adults. Purchase tickets online at www.CircEsteem.org or by calling 312-731-HAHA.

CircEsteem is a non-profit organization whose mission is to build self-esteem through circus arts and to unite youth from different cultural, racial, and economic backgrounds. CircEsteem provides afterschool, in-school and summer camp programming, and 70% of youth attend on scholarship.


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