Chi Chi Randolph has choreographed routines for hip-hop artists including Nelly and the Black Eyed Peas. Kari Lehman has 15 years of ballet training experience. Viviane Bressan turned her love of belly dance into a career, traversing the globe while teaching and performing the ancient art. At Dance Austin Studio, these three number among more than a dozen dance instructors whose dazzlingly diverse backgrounds enable an array of classes for everyone from preschoolers to grownups and fitness buffs to serious students of dance.
Zumba combines fast-paced cardio choreography with dynamic Latin rhythms, and the 18-and-older Sexy Stiletto Fit class uses high heels to tone calves and build confidence. Students can choose to learn fundamental positions, steps, and vocabulary during structured ballet, lyrical, and jazz programs, or they can develop video-ready swagger during hip-hop classes. The studio’s sense of fun occasionally spills out into the community—it recently teamed up with the city’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to spark a flash mob at city hall, held to raise awareness of emergency preparedness and help officials practice what to do if invaded by dancing aliens.
When you do just one thing, you tend to do it right. But that doesn't mean you also have to take it too seriously. That's the philosophy of Shane and Krissi Coker, the laid-back Austinites and part-time rockers behind The Futon Store. From traditional couch-bed hybrids to more specialized frames that feature built-in bookshelves, the store has got a futon to fit just about any kind of living space. They also stock environmentally-friendly mattresses, unique seats and bedside tables, and plenty of furniture made by local artists.
Images on the video screen swell right along with the singer as she reaches the chorus of "Livin' on a Prayer," inciting her friends to stand up from the wraparound booth and pump their fists. It's a typical evening at Austin Karaoke, where visitors belt, croon, and warble their favorite songs until 4 a.m. on weeknights and 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Nine karaoke rooms accommodate small parties of up to 8 or large parties of up to 50. Ensconced in these private studios, songsters search the computerized catalog for their standard baroque numbers, grab the microphone, and then pour their souls into a premium sound system.
ColdTowne Theater is Austin's main stage for alternative comedy. We currently run shows Thursday through Monday, featuring the funniest comedians in Central Texas. We also run a conservatory offering the most fun improv and sketch comedy classes Austin has to offer.
When Felicity Coltman founded it in 1981, the Austin Chamber Music Center's goal was simpler than it is today, yet still ambitious: to create a summer chamber-music workshop for teens. Since then, not only have many alumni gone on to become professional musicians, but the center has expanded into an outreach organization whose concerts and instruction brings chamber music to Austin ears, instruments, and hearts. Adults of similar skill levels gather into small chamber-music groups, whereas youngsters meet with instructors on weekends, during the summer, or in school. Just two years after its founding, the center sent students on two European voyages and hosted musicians from Salzburg, starting an international exchange program that continues today.
In 1988, a unique performance series took form with the center’s Intimate Concerts, which take place in private homes so that audiences can experience the music in a personal way and help their cats learn to read sheet music. Led by artistic director Michelle Schumann the center now holds year-round concerts for a variety of musical tastes, with all programs including live program notes.
Traversing the notes and frets of guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and vocals, the faculty of professional musicians at School of Rock instructs junior jammers of varying statures with an eye on achieving live-performance skills. Nudge your future noodler into a private 45-minute lesson that prompts him or her to explore the auditory excess of rock 'n' roll. Burgeoning bassists learn how to keep backbeats rumbling, and drummers in training hone rhythm abilities that may one day spark drumstick-twizzling flash mobs at rock venues. Craft musical nuances with epic keyboards and synths, or hone singing swagger via vocal training with one of the school's sound-savvy instructors. At the end of their foray into musical musings, kids gain creative confidence, artistic appreciation, and the desire to play air guitar in the presence of strangers.