It’s the making of a hit movie. Young Jeff Allen of Providence—untrained in the world of movement, but driven by desire—starts attending social dances. It's there he learns dances such as the jitterbug, cha-cha, and lindy, and develops a taste for competition. Soon, he's winning every dance contest he enters, whether the genre is disco, ballroom, or argentine tango.
Channeling his penchant for victory into a teaching career, the self-taught hoofer transformed into an acclaimed teacher and coach, racking up more than 30 National Dance Council of America Top Teacher Awards, and holding membership credentials with the North American Dance Teachers Association. At his studio, he keeps a packed schedule, teaching west coast swing dancing, mambo, and even Dancing Dirty–style moves. For those who can't make their ways to Cranston, Jeff has produced a slew of instructional books and DVDs, including The Complete Idiots' Guide to Ballroom Dancing and The Complete Guide to Slow Dancing.
In 2006, friends Mike and Courtney—independent researcher for the historical society and ghost tour guide, respectively—drew up a unique business plan to spook Providence locals and tourists alike with fact-based ghost tours. Their combined interests in the paranormal and knack for research led them to pillage the minds of staff members and records at the Providence Historical Society, the public library, and the Rhode Island State Archives for accounts of abnormal and violent events. They dug through old files and microforms of oft-forgotten morbid events—including murders, suicides, and fires—gathering facts to present objective stories about real people. Once they’d crammed their skeptical minds with grim and gloomy facts, the tours were ready to begin. Today, these truthful and skeptical accounts of paranormal activity chill the spines of tourists and terrified library books as guides lead walking tours, lit by lantern, through centuries-old Providence streets. Since its inception, Providence Ghost Tour has been counted among TripAdvisor's top 10 ghost tours in America, and was featured on an overnight paranormal investigation with Syfy's Ghost Hunters frontmen, Brian Harnois and Keith Johnson.
Director and founder of JMK Entertainment, Jennifer Kennedy has been performing and teaching her dance moves for more than three decades, and she channels her sensual moves from experience performing in cabarets aboard Virgin Islands cruise ships. JMK's burlesque performers showcase their skills and sense of fun in events that feature variety acts, cabaret performers, guest artists, and guest poles. In addition to lively performances, she and her instructors patrol a studio of 20 poles, teaching basic to advanced pole-fitness classes.
During dance lessons as a child, Jean DeLuca took notes. While most students just memorized the choreography, DeLuca also memorized the style of her instructors. She noticed their teaching methods stayed the same no matter who they interacted with. DeLuca takes a different approach at her studio, Jean DeLuca Dance Studio. She and her staff believe that everyone learns a different way, so they take the time to get to know each student in order to make their lessons both effective and fun. Children as young as 2 years old learn dance steps in beginning ballet and tap classes, and older students educate their feet in combination classes that cover jazz, hip-hop, and other disciplines.
On a sprung bamboo floor, the dance instructors at Ancient Art Studios lead groups and individual students through routines in the various forms of belly dance. Inside the spacious and warmly hued studio, where large mirrors let visitors watch their body postures, staff members also hosts troupe rehearsals, special workshops, and recitals.
The 23-room Architect’s Inn was constructed in 1873 as the private residence of Newport architect George Champlin Mason. Today, bed and breakfast is well known for its interactive murder-mystery events, during which guests dress up in costume and participate in two-day whodunits. The five guest rooms feature private fireplaces and period furnishings, including four-poster canopy beds, embroidered linens, and floral wallpaper. A few rooms, such as the Redwood room and the Perry suite, even have Victorian claw-foot tubs. Modern touches include cable TV and DVD players, in addition to WiFi access. Less than half a mile west of Architect's Inn is a collection of historical mansions commissioned at the turn of the 20th century for affluent American families, including the Vanderbilts. Explore the 80 acres of gardens and parks on guided tours that illuminate the pioneering architecture, interior design, and social history of 11 landmark properties.