Music Instruction Studio's university-educated teachers dispense harmonious how-tos during music lessons for students 6 years and older. Offering instruction in pop, jazz, and classical styles, the instructors equip vocalists with belting skills, teach pianists masterful ivory tickling, and inspire bassists to lay down funkier grooves than Bootsy Collins retiling a bathroom. Music Instruction Studio stocks its interior with instruments as well as an entire library of sheet music that students can purchase at an additional cost; pupils may also rent out equipment for at-home practice. After stepping up their skills, students can draw on MIS's extensive music studio to showcase newfound abilities and hair-metal power slides during semiannual recitals at no additional charge.
The twinkle-toed instructors at Chattanooga DanceSport prepare Fred Astaires of all ability levels to grace dance floors with confidence. Over the course of three private 50-minute ballroom lessons, singles, twosomes, or singles and pet mannequins learn their choice of classic dance steps such as the waltz, tango, fox trot, quickstep, and Viennese waltz. Once moves have been etched into muscle memory like "Grover Cleveland wuz here" was etched into the Oval Office's window, pupils show off their newly acquired skills in a two-hour social dance party. Lessons can be scheduled Monday–Saturday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. depending on instructor availability, and dance parties take place on Saturdays from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Absolute Ballroom’s knowledgeable instructors specialize in a wide variety of dance styles, catering to terpsichorean newbies during 45-minute introductory classes. Absolute Ballroom’s certified and trained teachers pride themselves on unearthing a student’s missing right foot, believing that dancing can be taught to anyone, regardless of a lack of rhythm or a fevered insistence that the floor is made of lava. Dancers can learn the basic steps of several social dances under the watchful gaze of a private instructor, alternating between the wistful glides of the waltz or the elusive woodland rhythms of the foxtrot. Students can also master the over-the-shoulder saltation of swing, rumba’s mellifluous hip movements, or how to properly chomp a rose for tango.
Deemed the "Best Night Out" in Chattanooga by US Travel and Attractions for two years in a row, Vaudeville Cafe is an entertainment chameleon. On some nights, the tables at the spacious dinner theater are packed with families savoring Italian feasts as they try to solve original murder mysteries. Weekend nights have a more adult slant as headlining standup comedians seen on HBO and Comedy Central garner guffaws while guests enjoy a full bar of cocktails, wine, and frozen specialty drinks. But regardless of the event, every evening brims with jolly vaudeville spirit, and every seat in the house offers stellar views of the stage and napping spotlight operator.
Academy Ballroom co-owner Jeremy Norris knows his students. "When it comes down to it, everyone really dances for one reason: to have fun," he states on his school’s website. Co-owner Emily Loyless and their staff of fellow NDCA-registered instructors share his sentiment. In addition to teaching salsa, west coast swing, and country dancing, their dance studio turns into a ballroom dance party on Friday nights where students practice moves from their lessons. Norris and company also schedule Zumba dance fitness classes, whose calorie burn far exceeds that of completing 100 Macarenas.
The Bijou’s origins stretch back through American history, but it didn’t become a theater until relatively recently: 1908. For nearly a century prior to its dramaturgical reinvention, the building was a high-class hotel that housed high-ranking military commanders, influential civic leaders, and even President Andrew Jackson for a spell in 1819. When General Ambrose Burnside took the town of Knoxville during the Civil War, the hotel was converted into a hospital, makeshift war room, and oil-wrestling arena for Generals William Sherman and Phil Sheridan. The latter portion of the 19th century showed the building more favor, and during the lavish 1870s another president—Rutherford B. Hayes—paid call, and delivered a speech from the hotel’s balcony.
The early 1900s saw the hotel’s biggest renovation to date when it was purchased and upgraded by the Auditorium Company. The newly rechristened Bijou Theatre opened to a sellout crowd, and was a major outlet for vaudeville from 1913 to 1926. Hard times began to pile up soon afterward, and the lapsed theater would have been demolished in 1975 were it not for its eleventh-hour listing on the National Historic Record. Since its most recent renovation in 2006, the stage has hosted pop stars and musical blockbusters.
Oskie's Sports Bar & Grill is known for its live music and cold drinks, but there's another compelling reason to visit: the spot also serves up high-quality nourishment ranging from fresh oysters to gourmet pizzas. Cuban sandwiches, lightly fried frog legs, and loaded burgers also show up on the menu. Smoking is permitted at the bar.