Since 1981, Lorraine-Michaels Dance Centre's cast of passionate instructors has been helping students of all ages and abilities confidently express themselves through the art of dance. They lead these students through sashays, shimmies, and kicks with an exhaustive roster of dance and fitness classes that ranges from ballroom dancing to Hip Hop to kickboxing. During dance classes, they teach students to perform fundamental moves with confidence and musicality, covering a variety styles—including the Argentine tango, waltz, swing, and salsa—tending to bites from the dancing bug or disgruntled dance partners. They motivate students into performance shape in dance-inspired fitness classes such as Zumba, a regimen of easy-to-follow dance moves set to high-energy Latin tunes. In kickboxing sweat sessions, they inspire students to kick and punch their way toward their fitness goals, effectively toning muscles and scaring away the ghosts of gladiators past, while pole dancing classes build strength and teach students how to spin and climb.
The community-oriented Shakespeare & Co. presents high-quality theatrical meditations on life, politics, and elf employment while upholding the art-loving, humanistic tenets of Elizabethan theater. Based on the popular David Sedaris essay of the same name and adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello, The SantaLand Diaries chronicles one man’s achingly amusing struggle playing Crumpet the Elf at Macy’s during a single holiday season. Presented in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, the show combines wry comedic storytelling with a yuletide setting that charmingly evokes years of bygone Santa visits and threats of coal-lump showers. Peter Davenport, a 2009 IRNE nominee, plays protagonist Crumpet the Elf as he struggles through bouts of hilariously irksome Christmastime retail drudgery. Elves, though docile by nature, are prone to outbursts of adult-related content, so this show is not recommended for children ages 13 and younger.
Saratoga Savoy Center of Dance's cabinet of instructors teaches hip-swinging classes in a variety of styles to partner-less dancers and matched sets of all levels and ages. Fox trot, waltz, and rumba through comprehensive ballroom lessons, or perfect the lindy hop in swing classes, wherein students learn a bombastic club-style dance executed to rockabilly, big-band, and jazz music. Club Latin, set to salacious tunes, teaches hips to keep time during the salsa, merengue, and bachata, without getting legs as tangled as the heartstrings of a newly single fourth grader. Bodies bump to newfangled urban beats in fast-paced hip-hop classes, or learn to maintain balance and connection with a partner in the Argentine tango.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the cha-cha. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and foxtrot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba.
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing with the Stars' multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 600 calories with each go-round.
Located on the 250-acre grounds of historic Boscobel, overlooking the Hudson River, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival envelops theatergoers in worlds long past. Its inaugural production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1987 carved a path of critical acclaim for it to expand into summer-long festivals, ongoing educational outreach, and artist-in-residence programs. The organization's canon even extends past that of the Bard on occasion: past seasons have taken on The Three Musketeers and Tartuffe.