Whether training to become professional dancers or exploring ballet as a hobby, students at Huntsville Ballet School hone their craft under the guidance of seasoned dance experts. Artistic director Phillip Otto taught master classes in ballet at Yale and Vassar College, and school director Rachel Butler danced and taught across the world in places like China, Australia, and Turkey. The school operates in tandem with the Huntsville Ballet, giving dancers an opportunity to audition for performances alongside the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. Former students have gone on to study at prestigious dance schools across the nation, while others have become mirror models for bedroom danceoffs.
“Warning,” declares Taste’s menu, “you may get sick of reading the word ‘Homemade.’” Skim the sandwich section and you’ll see why. Chefs flavor their creations with numerous homemade ingredients such as thousand island sauce, pickled red onions, and rémoulade. They also use their own meat—rather than pre-made deli meats—and accompany sandwiches with homemade pickles and a choice of homemade chips or potato salad. Along with sandwiches, Taste’s culinary team also crafts gourmet salads and pairs graham crackers and jams with up to six local or imported cheeses from its cheese bar. To wash down meals, guests can choose from 16 beers, 24 wines by the glass, or wine by the bottle.
Established as a humble community orchestra more than 30 years ago, the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra has swelled in string, horn, and percussion stature on the shoulders of talented musicians led by their new, accomplished conductor, Adam Flatt. In their Valentine's pops concert, Paul Houghtaling and the university's Opera Theatre join Maestro Flatt, who will summon the most romantic notes from the violins' strings, the French horns' brass valves, and the whistling elves that live under the hardwood stage. The evening's program aims its quivered bow at a host of classical favorites from operatic and Broadway scores. The French Quarter of 19th-century Paris will douse listeners with sophisticated insouciance when pieces from Puccini's La Boheme spill their symphonic sounds. The tropics of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific will gently billow past ears before they hear music from Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate.
A broad front porch stretches across the main residence at Hidden Meadow Vineyard, inviting visitors to kick up their feet, tip back a glass of fruit wine, and admire the verdant view. Owners Bill and Janette Bailey manage the small, family-run winery, which specializes in bottles made from muscadine, concord, niagara, and cynthiana grapes. Their roster of wines includes blackberry and blueberry wines as well as scuppernong, a sweet, old-fashioned white wine.
Theatre Tuscaloosa sprang directly from the Tuscaloosa Community Players, a rag-tag troupe formed in 1971 that played hotels, churches, and the castles of wealthy Southerners before it moved to the Bama Theatre late in the decade. By the end of the 20th century, Theatre Tuscaloosa had racked up a wall full of awards, including the Governor’s Arts Award and numerous Druid Arts Awards. 1998 saw the completion of the Bean-Brown Theatre, which serves as Theatre Tuscaloosa’s current home. It’s also the site of the company’s first world premiere, A Dickens of a Carol, scored by Alabamian Brad Simmons.
Jeremy Douglas and Paul Burgess worked at a Fultondale sports bar in the spring of 2011 when vicious storms tore through the area and decimated it. Dead set on turning tragedy into opportunity, the two opened North Tavern to continue the traditions of the restaurant they lost.
Patrons sit at square wooden tables in North Tavern's airy dining room, with metallic walls and a high, loft-style ceiling that conforms to zoning regulations that date back to when giants ran the city. Live musicians take advantage of the eatery's booming acoustics as visitors grab drinks at the bar or dig into half-pound burgers with homemade chips, chicken alfredo, classic BLTs, and fried pickles.