3 new ways to explore the arts

Pinning up a new calendar means new habits, new traditions and new ways to explore the arts! Here are three of our favorite ways to usher in 2017 while shaking up your brain, body and soul.

Happy New Year, indeed!


Whether you’re looking to expand cultural horizons this year or simply want to put more love out into the world, have we got the event for you! (“Hejsan,” pronounced HEY-SAHN, is a polite way to say hello in Swedish, after all!) The theme for 2017’s story and craft time is Famous People From Scandinavia. January’s celeb is Carl Sandburg, the Swedish-American poet who called Chicagoland home for most of his life.

Newbies to Sandburg’s work will adore the reading of The Huckabuck Family: And How They Raised Popcorn in Nebraska and Quit and Came Back, and the follow-up craft is sure to delight.

Can’t make this month’s Hejsan? They’re held every third Friday, and a hello is welcomed all year long.

Jan. 20; Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St., Chicago; $4 adults, $3 kids, free kids 1 and under.

Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth

Ready to write your own story or change the narrative for 2017? Get inspired by Lookingglass’ new tale, written and directed by ensemble member Doug Hara, and featuring the stunning puppetry of Blair Thomas. Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth are traveling storytellers who, upon the death of the Big Bad Wolf, find they must journey into their own stories to restore disappearing fairytales before it’s too late.

Fans of Neil Gaiman and other fantasy authors will be inspired by this production, geared at ages 8 and up. (When the stories are unwritten, quite literally, anything is possible. Take note and take heart!)

Through Feb. 19; Lookingglass Theatre Company, 821 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Touch tour/accessible performance, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 12, with tour beginning at 6 p.m.

Shake What Your Mamma Gave You

Eating your veggies, going to bed early, exercising often (well, at least that last one’s now easy enough behavior to model for your kids). All About Dance is unrolling a new (and free!) series called Shake What Your Mamma Gave You just in time to ward off post-holiday sluggishness.

Parents can take advantage of three FYD classes (have Fun, be Young and Dance forever), a combo of dance, cardio and toning in a fun setting while their children rock out to simultaneous Dance Explosion classes down the hall. Even after the series ends, they’ll be featuring a FYD/kid dance class combo every day of the week.

Some resolutions really do figure themselves out! Now, about that “early to bed” thing …

9:15 a.m. Jan. 3, 10:15 a.m. Jan. 16, and 10 a.m. Jan. 29; All About Dance, 501 W. North Ave., Chicago; free.

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