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.
The consortium of professional instructors at the many Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
Adrienne Logan is a dance guru, and she's got the resume to prove it; she was a student of Fred Kelly (Gene Kelly?s brother), studied at the Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway, and she's now the owner of Just off Broadway. Along with a faculty of talented dancers, she leads classes for students of all ages in disciplines such as jazz, musical theater, and tap. Aspiring ballerinas can study under resident ballet maestro Andrea Kron, who studied at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, performed in Radio City Music Hall, and danced as a Rockette. Like eating a bowl of pure cane sugar for dessert, the need to dance has no age limit, which is why the staff also leads dance classes for adults, as well as fitness classes such as Pilates, Zumba, and barre fitness.
When she opened her eponymous dance studio, Cinzia DeGregorio already had more than 20 years of dance experience under her belt. She’d studied and taught everything from ballet to cheer to hip-hop to salsa, and continues to explore and combine a variety of different dance styles. Today, her studio offers a range of hip children’s classes such as breakdancing and Bollywood dancing, as well as more traditional dance forms, including ballet and tap. Customers can also create custom dance classes that incorporate the Jabbawockeez style, or arrange private dance parties to test out moves of their own. Cinzia also helps her charges stay slim and fit with dance-inspired fitness classes, such as Zumba and Ballet Bootcamp, that are open to women of all fitness levels.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Edie Ollwerther grew up a touring dancer, with television and teaching credits to her name. When she married, she took a break—but it wasn't long before neighborhood parents knew of her history in dance. They encouraged her to begin giving lessons to their children, and Edie obliged by transforming her basement into a studio space.
That was in the 1970s. Today, Edie and her fellow instructors—some of whom are former students, now grown—act as the heads of a continually growing family of dancers. Their curriculum encompasses tap, jazz, ballet, and musical theater, as well as vocal coaching and hip-hop routines. Some of their pupils learn to shimmy as a hobby, and others aim to join the competition team, whose performances have taken them to Disney World and aboard a Carnival Cruise ship.