The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire - Fort Myers, 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. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic Waltz and Foxtrot 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 and demonstrations.
Classical, opera, and popular orchestral compositions make up the repertoire of the Southwest Florida Symphony, which has made quality programming its mission since 1961. Aiming to make music accessible to all, the symphony visits schools, offers scholarships, books youth-friendly concerts, and provides a friendly First-Timer’s Guide for new audience members unfamiliar with the proper way of applauding.
Celebrating his 17th year as Gulf Coast Symphony's music director, Dr. Andrew M. Kurtz leads his fine-tuned squad of melody crafters through programs that beautifully showcase classic works. "Brahms/Rachmaninoff" features fiddler Timothy Schwarz giving life to Brahms's Violin Concerto, navigating the piece's legendary difficulty with virtuosic aplomb and the pinpoint timing of a hoop-jumping dolphin. Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances brings all the master composer's skills to bear on a three-movement summation of his career featuring shimmering tapestries of sound and a thundering finale. Concerts kick off with an informative speech from maestro Kurtz, immersing audiences in the upcoming works, deepening appreciation, and pushing used-car-commercial jingles out the other ear.
Grammy-winner Rihanna unleashes her formidable pipes and celebrated songbook as she continues traveling the countryside on her LOUD tour. Vibrant costumes and first-rate production harmoniously augment the singer's chart-topping oeuvre, which includes hits such as "S & M," "Only Girl (In the World)," and "What's My Name?" From the BankAtlantic Center's 400-level seats, concertgoers can marvel at the elaborate set pieces gilding the stage as their eardrums feast like hungry dachshunds in an unmanned pizza parlor. Cee Lo Green and J. Cole add their own vocal talents to the evening's aural enticements, creating a three-pronged attack on musical monotony.
If you part the branches of Mixon Fruit Farms? citrus trees, you might spy an unusual sight: Burmese pythons, an alligator, a crocodile, and African land tortoises basking in the sunlight, surrounded by cages of roosting falcons.
The farm that began in 1939 as a 20-acre roadside fruit stand has stayed true to citrus farmer Willy Mixon?s vision of showcasing the region?s natural splendor. But in addition to an extra 50 acres of fruit trees, the farm has expanded its focus to include a wildlife refuge, where rescue volunteers nurse injured animals back to health and educate visitors on native and exotic species. The farm also hosts an on-site tropical garden along with dazzling koi ponds, and has a magical maze open to kids of all ages.
Along with daily tours of the grove and sanctuary, Mixon Fruit Farms also spotlights Florida?s bounty with citrus-infused ice cream and salads at Groveside Caf?. Homemade fudge and orange juice also populate the 14,000-square-foot gift shop
After relocating from New York, the Saravia family founded Stage 84 as a haven for local artists and musicians that rekindled the creative spirit of their old stomping ground. Bands test the space's acoustics with soothing melodies from a raised stage, and patrons take to the microphone during Wednesday night karaoke to belt out classic rock or abridged versions of their favorite book on tape. Open-mic nights, jam sessions, and comedy acts also corral audience attention, and a monthly art show mounts gazeworthy gallery pieces on the lounge's red walls. A rotating selection of microbrews slides down the countertops of the café-style bar stocked with liquor and an espresso machine. Wines, cocktails, and specialty coffees supplement rations from a late-night bar menu that includes chili, fresh hummus, and nocturnal pizzas. Guests can also puff flavored plumes of smoke from hookahs while seated at the bistro's couches and four tables.