Starting at age four, Michelle Larson dedicated herself to Irish dance, quickly ascending the ranks from regional to world championship-level dancing. But at 21, hungry for a change of pace, she focused her energy on interior design. It didn't take long, however, for the rhythmic patter of soft shoes to lure her back like a siren song, and in 1990 she founded the Painter Larson Academy of Irish Dance. Here, she trains children in Irish dance fundamentals, such as foot placement and timing, before teaching basic dances such as the light jig. Michelle's adult students learn these skills, too, as well as group dances that culminate in a traditional Irish dogpile.
For more than a quarter century, Robyn Melanson has developed a thorough knowledge of the dance community as a performer, instructor, choreographer, and coach. As the founder and director of Stage One Dance Studio, she and her staff of dance instructors teach clients the art of kinetic expression in styles as varied as jazz, ballet, and tap. The premises feature three studios, each equipped with raised hard-rock maple floors, where students ages 3-17 hone their skills.
Featured by the Los Angeles Times, Battle of the Dance weaves Spanish flamenco, Irish celtic, Bollywood, and American pop into a cross-cultural spectacle of musical storytelling. Battle of the Dance begins with the tale of Spanish sailors, shipwrecked off the coast of Ireland, who fear some of their most honored traditions—namely, latin dance and not getting shipwrecked—are in danger of being compromised. What ensues is a visual fever dream of choreographed capering. After the hoofers have it out, the narrative gives way to a ventriloquist act, followed by internationally renowned acrobats, The Peres Brothers, who bring their show to the Anaheim stage.
At The Bea Hive Dance Studio, shoes hit 6,000 square feet of floating dance floor in the cadences of swing, ballroom, hip-hop, salsa, and other groovy disciplines. The beats rarely stop inside the venue's three rooms—they host lessons and competitive training in addition to weekend dance parties, where students can both socialize and practice their steps. Just as it embraces a wide variety of styles, the studio teaches dance for all purposes. Private classes steer couples through wedding sashays, and ballet and tap classes for toddlers prompt parents to look forward to future stomping tantrums.
Regardless of the reason behind the rhythm, guests can rest assured that each rug-cutting venture is overseen by a seasoned instructor. Some of the staff's accomplishments include performing for Nelson Mandela and nabbing third place in the team division of the World Latin Dance Cup. Their accolades have not prompted an exclusive attitude, however; they accept pupils of any age and experience level.
At Medieval Times, armor-clad knights clash for the title of King's Champion in front of a wide-eyed audience that peppers the battlefield with cheers and jeers between bites of a four-course dinner. Each two-hour tournament channels the pageantry and spectacle of 11th-century Spain, pitting six competitors against each other inside a spacious, sand-filled arena for the honor of earning the title of champion and the favor of the royal court. A spirited musical score infuses epic onslaughts with an extra dose of tension as adversaries joust atop stallions, deflect ferocious blows, and slice through suits forged of authentic junk mail. To further immerse guests in the fairy tale, Medieval Times encourages each guest to declare their allegiance by cheering loudly for the knight in their corner.