Snakes slither in glass display cases, and lizards wriggle in the hands of trained handlers as they're held up in full view of a curious crowd. This is the scene as one of Repticon's presenters educates attendees on the biology, behavior, and typing speeds of exotic cold-blooded creatures at one of the year-round shows held in cities across the country. Reptile and amphibian breeders, scholars, and handlers engage audiences in lectures and demonstrations in the midst of live reptile exhibits, family activities, and displays for exotic-pet supplies. Presentations may focus on the genetics of large snake species, the specifics of exotic-pet care, and the effect that tiny hats have on the image of arachnids such as tarantulas, scorpions, and spiders.
Kamy Henson started dancing when she was 5, and she hasn't stopped since. Over time she added tumbling and gymnastics to her skill set and became a dance teacher and coach. Kamy eventually she founded her own school: Ovation Academy of Dance. She has shared her passion for the art of dance with countless students, but perhaps the student she's most proud of inspiring is her daughter, Aubrey. Along with her fellow Ovation instructors, the award-winning Aubrey teaches ballet, tap, jazz, and lyrical choreography to the students who twirl across the studio's glossy wood floor.
Arthur Murray Dance Studios has been a leading name in social dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with certified instructors. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Gayle Lynne first took to the sky when she was 53, and was instantly hooked. Her dancing and ice-skating experience hadn’t prepared her for the joys of careening through the air on silks and hoops, but she quickly picked up on the skills, and was inspired to create a studio in which adults and children of all ages could also explore the sky. So Aerial Dance Over Denver was born, hosting air-borne maneuvers with 35 rigging points and seven aerial stations.
Gayle handpicked a fleet of experienced instructors, each primed with a background in dance, to lead students through classes and camps that introduce them to silk fabrics, trapeze work, and contortions—in which patrons increase their flexibility and learn to cram into small spaces, such as an unsuspecting family member's lunch box. Dangling from their material of choice, students perform a routine that builds strength and flexibility, scaled to suit beginners with slow and low maneuvers or veteran airborne artists with high-flying choreography.
With programs that often combine group and private instruction, TG Danzport Studio gives dancers the opportunity to hone their skills before learning to dance alongside other couples. Six styles of dancing range from Country Swing to Samba, and cater to all abilities, especially beginners. Private lessons for kids are also available to develop rhythm and coordination.
Voodoo Comedy Playhouse’s resident yuksters split sides four days a week, oscillating between stand-up acts, improv shows, and celebrity impersonation revues. On Saturday nights, The Fine Gentlemen’s Club opens its stately gates for a retinue of solo joke-tellers, lobbing laugh-bombs at audiences still crooning choruses from Hit and Run’s Friday night musical improv. Chuckling companions may also rain roses on Makeshift Shakespeare’s all-male cadre of bard-minded barnstormers, who deftly fuse the rich, florid prose of Shakespeare with a soupçon of gut-busting improv. Alternatively, guests can opt for a late-night lark at the Divalicious Cabaret, which raucously parades the spitting images of such fetching celebrities as Cher, Beyoncé, and Snuffaluffagus. Suds and spirits from a full-service bar irrigate arid laugh lairs as performers tread the boards beneath Voodoo’s pristine, ultramodern theater set-up.