Located on the 250-acre grounds of historic Boscobel, overlooking the Hudson River, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival envelops theatergoers in worlds long past. Its inaugural production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1987 carved a path of critical acclaim for it to expand into summer-long festivals, ongoing educational outreach, and artist-in-residence programs. The organization's canon even extends past that of the Bard on occasion: past seasons have taken on The Three Musketeers and Tartuffe.
The oldest continuously operating theater in the state, Bardavon 1869 Opera House has carried forth a little piece of every era it thrived in. The domed ceiling and proscenium stage recall the 944-seat theater's opening as the Collingwood Opera House nearly 150 years ago. The Mighty Wurlitzer "Golden Voiced" pipe organ stretches back to 1928, to a time when the venue devoted itself to silent films. And despite the fact that it nearly succumbed to the wrecking ball in 1976, the stage has remained steadfast through the decades, becoming the one thing that performers such as Mark Twain, Frank Sinatra, and OK Go all have in common besides an enduring love of frisbee.
From her years of experience educating students in nursery schools in Westchester and Putnam Counties, dance instructor Kaysree Del Pilar knows it’s important to look after the developing ankles and knees of young dancers. She has equipped her dance studio with three layers of sprung oak wood, which is designed to absorb shock. This absorption reduces repetitive stress on the joints as students execute steps during ballet, hip-hop, or modern-dance classes, or trod the boards during musical-theater and other camps.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
Westchester Ballroom Dance Studio's instructors all have more than a decade of teaching experience, so students might learn Latin dance from a three-time Russian National Dance champion or perfect the ins-and-outs of swing under a tutor who's toured with Wynton Marsalis. Instructors are experts at coaching students preparing to take to the floor at weddings. They're also passionate about helping beginners tap into dance's social and physical potential and readying advanced dancers for competitions, shows, and Nobel Prize acceptance speeches. After students learn their way around a new style's rhythms, regular socials give them a chance to show off rumbas and jives, often set to a DJ's beats.
Just like its namesake, Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Bedford Hills reflects the best of dancing’s midcentury heyday by schooling dancers in styles such as swing, foxtrot, and tango during classes and parties. Russian dance champions Yuri and Elena Tsarev tap their feet—but never impatiently—as they instruct private and group lessons. The duo wins the trust of its students by creating a supportive environment where pupils can try hip-shaking samba routines. Specialty lessons take the stress out of preparing for weddings and cruises, giving pupils time to learn the basic steps with the undivided attention of an instructor prepared to fire a six-shooter at feet to prevent missteps.