While teaching jazz dance in the 1960s, Judi Sheppard Missett decided to step away from tradition by offering an experimental class that allowed her students to simply dance without the judgment of mirrors or the constraints of rigid technique. In these sessions, she began infusing popular dance moves with specific fitness workouts to forge a distinctive blend of cardio exercise, strength training, and dance instruction. Little did she know that this “just for fun” class was the prototype for what would become the national fitness sensation known as Jazzercise.
Today, Jazzercise takes its aerobic techniques from a variety of sources that include jazz dance, hip-hop, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. The class formats, which vary according to different toning goals, are just as diverse as the program's move set. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of the improvisational routines, although her advanced skills aren't needed to get the most out of classes. Instructors cultivate a noncompetitive atmosphere where all exercisers—with the exception of those marked as cursed by jazz-hand palm readers—are welcome regardless of age, build, or fitness background.
It's a good idea to arrive early at Movie Tavern, and not only if you hate missing the opening credits. Early birds can peruse the extensive menu of chef-crafted American cuisine, from kobe beef sliders to pizza and sandwiches. But even after the show begins, the snacks keep coming. Unobtrusive servers slip in during the show to deliver orders, and can be called on for more drinks or dessert with the push of a button. Guests can even sip margaritas or signature cocktails at the full bar before heading in to the theater. The family-friendly establishment also serves finger food for kiddies.
As for the entertainment, audiences get to enjoy all-digital presentations of first-run films any day of the week, plus Retro Cinema every Wednesday morning at 11:30 a.m. as well as Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. Audiences also benefit from Movie Tavern's membership program. Anyone can sign up for free online to receive one free bag of popcorn, plus a free ticket every year on their birthday, special offers, movie news, and invites to screenings and other special events.
Within Game Shack’s digital den, flat-screen TVs line the walls, flickering with the polygonal derring-do of gamers locked in virtual competition with titles for platforms including Xbox, Wii, and PC. While their plush leather video-game chairs make extended sessions as comfortable as they are engaging, Game Shack also brings games to life in their multi-floor, tiered laser-tag arena. Illuminated by black lights, players take aim at opponents against a tropical-themed backdrop depicting a moonlit waterfall, a spooky temple, and tiki men impersonating their favorite Bond villains. The party room hosts large groups for celebrations such as birthdays and special events, with party packages available that arm each member with unlimited laser tag and console gaming. Game Shack also hosts competitive-gaming events, with an official Elo-based ranking system that assigns seeding for tournaments. As players dash and game to their hearts’ delight, the Snack Shack keeps them properly fueled with food such as pizza, hot dogs, chicken wings, Monster energy drinks, and sodas.
Owners Rita and Eldon Larson constantly refine their eclectic cellar stocked with more than 700 varietals from every corner of the planet. During wine tastings, guests sample premium vinos such as Don Olegario Albarino and Vietti Nebbiolo. Throughout, knowledgeable and accessible staff members happily answers questions and demonstrate the 25 different pronunciations of the word tannin.
At the adjoining caf??s elegant tables, forks spear seared sea scallops and other savory entrees designed for pairing with selections from the 150-bottle wine list. Peckish patrons can also pluck heirloom prosciutto from charcuterie plates or bait traps for classy mice with morsels from 11 different cheese plates. Chef Jason Lee alleviates the stress of decision making with his prix fixe wine dinners, which complement entrees with appropriate sips.
A movie palace to its core, The Cinema Grill favors a vibrant color scheme rarely seen outside the early days of Technicolor. The lobby's multi-hued walls surround the checkerboard box office with bright yellows, blues, and purples, while neon curlicues on the ceiling beckon movie-goers toward their movie. The menu of American staples mirrors the colorful decor with glowing margaritas, desserts topped with maraschino cherries, quesadillas speckled with green peppers, and deep-fried rainbows. Once ensconced in their swivel chairs, guests bathe in the high-definition (and sometimes three-dimensional) glow of the silver screen as servers take food orders and keep eating areas laden with plates of buffalo wings and shrimp fettuccine alfredo. Beers, cocktails, or glasses of wine are also available.
At African Grill and Bar, owners Osei and Adowa Ford-Wuo strive to make everyone’s African dining experience fun and unintimidating, personally attending to guests and making suggestions from the menu of beef and goat stews, fried snapper and grouper, and fragrantly spiced spinach and vegetable plates. Unlike traditional American starches such as boring white bread and canisters of uncooked biscuit dough, even the carbs of West African cuisine lend distinct flavors to plates. Fried plantains, ground cassava, and tender spheroids of pounded yam accompany dishes, which range from groundnut soups to chicken curries. Fried-rice pilafs pop with the vibrant colors of spinach, tomato, and spices, complementing the décor of dark red tables, wicker chairs, leafy plants, and walls bedecked with African woodworking and weaving.