With more than 60 years of combined rug-cutting experience, La Danse Cleveland's co-owners, Esther Rehm-Cohen and Tim Brown, have helped untold numbers of students twirl, hop, and belly slide across the dance floor. Certified as a ballroom instructor in 1981, Esther has won national awards for her teaching skills and has had the distinct honor of training couples who have gone on to rank in competitions. She garnered the position of head coach of the Case Western Reserve University ballroom team before fate's two-step led her to a partnership with Tim to run La Danse Cleveland's ample 6,000-square-foot studio. Boasting a background that includes competition in professional arenas as well as work as a dancing judge and a choreographer, co-owner Tim delights in crafting group classes and private lessons that excite and challenge students.
Included on the studio's roster of lessons are styles from Viennese waltz to nightclub two-step, along with sessions tailored specifically to children and to adult fitness goals. In classes and dance parties open to the public, students and social dancers alike rendezvous with Esther, Tim, and their impressive stable of instructors, whose resumés include stints with such world-class companies as the Boston Ballet and Gene Kelly's gutter-cleaning company.
Cleveland Ballroom Company's owner and principal instructor Nichy Vegas imparts graceful dance techniques to singles and couples in a variety of ballroom styles. Lessons range from beginner to advanced, allowing tyro twirlers and experienced foot-movers alike to learn new techniques and enjoy the fun of ballroom dance. Classes such as beginning and intermediate rhythm teach the importance of well-timed movements, a critical element of any basic two-step, foxtrot, or bullet-dodging routine. Alternate styles include tango, cha-cha, salsa, and the classic waltz—call ahead for information on future scheduling.
A mobile service, Bar Nova dispatches its team of bartenders and professional bar supplies to events big and small, including wedding receptions, corporate gatherings, and private parties. Beforehand, the company consults with its clients to create a cocktail menu, plus a shopping list of necessary liquors, mixers, fruits, and other supplies. By the time guests start filing in, Bar Nova will have already set up an elegant bar scene, complete with professional bartenders to craft cocktails and barbacks to lead renditions of “My Heart Will Go On” if a drink is spilled.
Chefs at Cedar Lee Pub and Grill sizzle burgers and chop salads to satiate enthusiastic appetites while projection and flat-screen televisions quell desires for sports action. Infuse mouths with a menu of more than 30 burgers, including the South of the Border ($7.99), which rouses lazy taste buds with a kick of pepper-jack cheese and salsa before dressing them in grilled onions and green peppers. The Hawaiian burger ($7.99) mixes mellow teriyaki sauce with sweet slices of grilled pineapple and ham and a crunch of bacon. Like a rollicking game of Mad Libs, building your own burger or salad results in a hilarious medley of chopped vegetables and words such as "tzatziki" and "crouton." Meanwhile, 15 wing sauces wait to sprint out at a bugling cue, leap onto a springboard, and reverse somersault into a basket of wings ($4.50 for six).
With this deal, movie buffs can scarf down popcorn while watching action-packed celluloid at one of seven different locales, including Cleveland Heights' Cedar Lee Theatre, which won a Scene magazine readers' poll for Best Movie Theater. Arty cinephiles can catch an independent or foreign film at this theatre, where the concession stand slings out tasty baked goods, sandwiches, specialty coffees, and more. Catch a flick at the historic Capitol Theatre, nestled in the Gordon Square Arts District, a renovated three-screen spot featuring Hollywood, specialty, and 3D films. Many of Cleveland Cinemas' other theaters boast multiple screens, digital sound, a Groucho Marx robot that quips one-liners from the balcony, and stadium seating for ideal movie gawking.
Envisioning themselves as the house band of the United Nations in 1962, Pink Martini's 12 musicians perform an eclectic songbook of pieces drawn from globe-spanning jams, American lounge tunes, and jazz. Guest vocalist Storm Large, who has appeared on the reality show Rock Star: Supernova, takes over the lead-singing reins for Pink Martini’s summer tour. With a style described as “powerful, at times operatic” by the Guardian, Large fills the gap left by former singer China Forbes and her classy charisma and potent purr. Originally opened in 1921 as a vaudeville house where Fred Astaire and Judy Garland once dropped jaws, the lavish State Theatre aligns with Pink Martini’s elegant visions of jet-setting cocktail parties.
Nestled in the Coventry district within Cleveland Heights's historic Centrum Theater, Fracas flanks fine gastropub fare with inspired homemade sauces. Sea smitten can munch on the calamari to start, browned in lemon oil and chili olive pesto ($9), while green gurus can lead forkscapades onto plates of fried green tomatoes bathed in chive oil and vinaigrette ($9). Entrees include a beef short rib braised in Dogfish Head IPA ($26), as well as the Ohio City black-pepper gnocchi backed by wild mushrooms, english peas, leeks, and grape tomatoes, and smothered with smoked gouda alfredo ($18). The bar stocks a staunch selection of local and Midwestern brews, 16 on tap and 30 by bottle, and counts the Rate Beer–approved Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold ($4; RB: 95/100) and the Buckeye Brewing Hippie IPA ($12 for 22 oz; RB: 95/100) among their regular liquid relievers. Should carnivores crave sustenance not found on the menu, Fracas's scratch kitchen can create the meal of one's dreams should they have the ingredients, yielding such customer-conceived classics as the melancholy jam sandwich and apple pie a la go carte.