Originally opened in 1927, the Genesee Theatre slowly deteriorated over the course of the century until its closing in 1989. But starting in 2001, a $23 million cash infusion from the city allowed 120 volunteers to restore the theater to its Gilded Age splendor. Its elegant trappings include authentic wall fabrics, an exact replica of the original marquee, and a 2,200-pound chandelier that gently spotlights the grand lobby and every audience member passing underneath to show how everyone is a star if you really think about it.
The sounds of jazz, hip hop, and other contemporary genres fill the four large studios at Gotta Dance Atlanta's 9,000-square-foot facility. Instructors describe the dance and fitness center as a "home away from home" for dancers of all abilities, and it's not hard to see why. Beginners can learn how to cut a rug or mow a hardwood floor in "Explore" classes that require no prior knowledge of dance terminology. Even dancers who have already worked up to the professional level can find a class to match their style, be it salsa or ballet. Students of all abilities benefit from classes such as Awesome Abs and Cardio Hip-Hop, which use dance as a jumping-off point for fitness workouts that tone and shape the body.
As may be apparent by her name, studio director Ursula Undress is a student of both classical burlesque and its neoburlesque modern revival. At her studio, she puts together a curriculum that pays tribute to the history of sultry dance while also integrating its modern trends. Among the goals of the classes is for all women to learn to confidently swing their hips and master the subtle art of the tease—while striking up a renewed relationship with their inner temptress. Ursula and her fellow instructors also add variety to classes by integrating sexy hoop dancing, graceful ballet moves, or Latin-inspired dance forms, including salsa, cha-cha, and mambo. Students looking for a more intense workout can tone up through the studio’s go-go fitness classes that are aided by an upbeat pace and hefty gold-plated feather boas.
"The Tease." It's more than a series of scintillating maneuvers. It's a release. It's eye-popping, orchestrated doffing as an art form, and it's just a taste of the empowering and vociferous avenues chartered at The Atlanta School of Burlesque. Operated by a team of burlesque professionals who've mastered the craft of unleashing steam, the combination dance, fitness, and rehearsal studio acts as a magnet for women of all shapes, sizes, and demeanor hoping to unveil their inner starlet. Students not only explore their sexy side, they also gain physical fitness in the process, and encounter an entire community of encouraging, like-minded performers. Along the way, students learn the history of the burlesque art form and the bells and whistles of its theatrics, master the art of seduction while learning how to bump n' grind, and become experts in boa safety and proper fan-dance velocity.
Dinner With The Mob's cast of seedy characters engages audiences with an evening of laughs, intrigue, and suspense in an interactive murder-mystery performance paired with a three-course meal. Members of the talented troupe have sharpened dramatic slaying skills on the small screen in CSI and Criminal Minds, and a Grammy-winning music director adds tense tunes to each whodunit. Sugo Restaurant’s blood-red walls and antique photos serve as a swanky backdrop to the PG-13 show’s mob-related crimes and post-curtain-call algebra quiz.
Each Tuesday evening, the comedy curators at Hysterical Events introduce formidable funnypersons to tickle the collective brain matter of laugh-primed audiences. From the swanky, New York–style surrounds of Jerry Farber’s Side Door (located within the historical Landmark Diner), guests can chortle at the high-brow observational musings of August 16 headliner Thomas Jenkins, or guffaw at the practiced punch lines of Dan Mengini, a long-time comic, TV actor, and featured performer on August 23. Hands weary of clapping can toss bouquets or deadpan pet raccoons onstage after an incisive joke about blue-collar labor from Atlanta local Primetime Steve, who tops the bill on September 13. Throughout the show, foursomes can order laugh-lubricating libations and food from waiters roaming the tabletop seating of the gallery. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for an 8:30 p.m. start time, and patrons should check the Hysterical Events calendar for information on upcoming acts.