A childhood peppered with basketball, football, and volleyball couldn't keep Mary Murphy out of the ballroom after she was struck by the athleticism of the sport while watching a championship performance in her early twenties. She began to compete around the world, eventually slowing down enough to found Champion Ballroom Academy in 1990 and finally teaching there full-time in between stints on Fox's So You Think You Can Dance.
Mary has plucked like-minded instructors for her studio, some of whom created Core Rhythms, a Latin dance-based aerobics program. Many of the other teachers are competitive-dance champions or black belts in hula hoop. Aside from running a flourishing dance studio, Mary's palpable passion for the art form has also driven her to play a leading role in San Diego's Chance to Dance program, a curriculum that introduces school kids to the artistry and strength-building foundations of dance.
The jazz standard ?Flying Home? brought Savoy Swing Club?s founders together in 1993 at a dance camp, after which the group of friends began meeting regularly to keep the choreography fresh in their minds. The troupe?s dedication to the lindy hop and other jazz-era dances gradually blossomed into the club?s current calendar of professionally staffed classes, workshops, and dance events. Classes grouped by skill level progressively transform students with two left feet or three right toes into fleet-footed hoofers, imparting classic moves that help nurture a sense of rhythm and speed. Each week, students of all levels can take part in Savoy Mondays, a decade-long tradition, as DJs and a single trumpeting swan provide background music for dancers to sharpen their moves. And on the first and third Fridays of every month, the basement of the local Bagel Deli becomes the Blues Underground, where a free introductory blues lesson is followed by a late night of dancing.
Every Saturday night at the Sheraton Suites Houston, someone gets murdered––while dinner guests watch. Mystery dinner theater may not be a novel concept, but it's safe to say that the crew at Mystery Cafe does it right, as evidenced by their 2009-2013 streak of winning the United States Commerce Association's Houston Award for Dinner Theatres. Forks clink and brain gears whirr as theatergoers dine amid the action, where one of the cast members gets killed and the rest of the off-the-wall characters try to figure out whodunit. As the plot twists and turns like a Slinky on a waterslide, audience members take note of the evidence and submit their suspect and motive on a solution sheet. Whoever sniffs out the culprit is named Super Sleuth and garners a prize. The dress code is dressy casual, meaning anything from a prom dress to jeans is okay, but the mermaid tail should stay at home.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, 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.
Even when a ballet imposes technical challenges and its reputation raises expectations to near-impossible levels, California Ballet's dancers and artists don't shy away. Much of the company's repertoire reads like a 19th-century Top-10 list—Midsummer Night's Dream, Coppelia, Swan Lake—yet it makes each staging uniquely its own, either by revamping the choreography, casting The Nutcracker with upwards of 200 students from its dance school, or creating sets and costumes that would dazzle an "Ooooh" out of a royal guardsman.
With 58 schools in 23 states, the inspiring and performance-driven School of Rock enthusiastically infuses fledgling tunesmiths across the nation with the rhythm, skill, and confidence required to rock 'n' roll. Each instructor at the school is a professional musician, and fully equipped with the know-how to catapult instrumentalists to the crest of Mount Rockmore.