Erica Saben's passions have taken her near and far. She studied dance, political science, and Caribbean culture in Kingston, Jamaica, before returning to the United States to perform with several multicultural companies. A juggling gig in Philadelphia introduced her to two local circus experts who knew the director of Philadelphia School of Circus Arts. From this chance meeting blossomed a new chapter in her life: in addition to teaching her her big-top skills such as aerials and tightwire, they introduced her to Chinese acrobat Lin Junming, who would become her resident acrobatics coach when she founded Charm City Movement Arts.
Nestled between Canton and Brewer's Hill, the studio and performance space lets children and adults live the lives of professional circus performers without having to sneak into a tent disguised as a barrel of clown feed. Each instructor boasts experience in diverse movement backgrounds: Lin is also a member of the Fujian Acrobatics Troupe of China, and managing director Paco Fish has taken home awards in several Southern burlesque competitions. Other instructors draw from backgrounds in rock climbing, slacklining, acrobatics, and aerial work. Using this range of skills, they teach students the basics of Western and Chinese acrobatics, Broadway tap-dancing, modern dance, juggling, unicycling, and blends of clowning and burlesque. When not in class, staffers and students also hone their own chops as performers in seasonal dance and circus shows.
Every week, Magooby's schedule features established national headliners, including comedians featured on Letterman, The Tonight Show, and Comedy Central. Although many of the comedians featured have made nationally televised appearances, you needn't worry about two of them getting into an onstage fight over contractual issues or comedic supremacy. Magooby's is a down-to-earth comedic facility. In fact, it's so down-to-earth that it's in a root cellar. The parking is free, and guests are encouraged to show up prior to showtime and enjoy a drink—no waiting in a cramped space or standing outside required. If you do want to stand outside, be sure to wear moon shoes.
The thespians and theater crew at Fells Point Corner Theatre have enchanted audiences with nonprofit productions of new and rarely seen plays for 25 years. Upcoming attractions include Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, the 1994 Pulitzer Prize winner about three differently aged women who reflect on their lives with acerbic wit while scaling skyscrapers; and The Little Dog Laughed, a look at gossip and celebrity in the 21st century. Colorful characters populate Circle Mirror Transformation, a comedy detailing a motley crew’s attempt at bonding during a six-week acting class; Eugene O’Neill’s iconic play The Iceman Cometh explores universal social questions in the back room of a 1912 skid-row saloon. Though seating at the 85-seat Fells Point Corner Theatre is subject to availability, the small size of the theater allows for good sight lines from all seats.
Atlantic Ballroom's esteemed faculty of trophy-touting toe tappers serve casual and competitive cavorters of all ages and backgrounds. Aspiring Astaires can trip their way through several styles, including Latin, American Smooth and Rhythm, and club-ready dances such as salsa, the hustle, and the awkward head-nod. Group classes are held once a week over the course of a month. Unlike TV crime dramas, each week builds upon the last, with every measured step nudging its way into malleable muscle memories that eagerly anticipate the next installment. Consult the schedule for class times.
Baltimore Comedy Factory has nonviolently busted guts with nationally sourced joke-slingers for nearly three decades. Several nights a week, the club schedules sets by stars pulled onto the stage fresh from appearances in blockbuster comedies and hit TV shows. Tucked within the Power Plant Live complex, the expansive new location finds room for comfy table seating, a beach-themed bar pouring sodas and cocktails, and an ample supply of super-size prop sunglasses.