The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, which was cofounded by the legendary dancer 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 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.
Warner Theatre serves as profound evidence that grassroots efforts can make a difference in the arts. Opened by Warner Brothers Studios in 1931, the Thomas Lamb?designed cinema house served for more than 20 years as the area's top venue to gawk at the silver screen. Yet business declined with the rise of the television, and in 1955 a flood left the venue severely damaged. It was hardly a surprise, then, when the Warner faced foreclosure in 1981. But a non-profit, citizen-run group called the Northwest Connecticut Association for the Arts raised the $275,000 needed to rescue the theatre, and repaired the years' damages to the art-deco design. Today, more than 800 volunteer actors, musicians, designers, and crew members bask in the applause and gleefully thrown lorgnettes of an estimated 35,000-plus patrons each season.
Nicole Kristoff, director of Kokopelli School of Music and Arts, doesn't just run the show?she also draws on her 18 years of dance experience to teach evening classes such as hip-hop for kids and Piloxing for adults. As a whole, the school covers a much broader range of arts education, though, including theater, dance in styles such as ballet and hula hooping, and visual arts. Music buffs also hone their craft in private lessons, which can focus on instruments ranging from guitar to cello.
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 30–60 minutes
Brands Used: Mix Vocal Technique and Faber Piano Method
Pro Tip: Learn the #1 vocal technique of the stars or play the piano in just one lesson .
Brian Leaf has spent countless hours parsing through Family Guy, Twilight, The 40-Year Old Virgin, and myriad other pop-culture phenomena—not for his own amusement, but to pick out SAT and ACT vocabulary words lurking in the scripts, which he's compiled in six books. A seasoned test-prep instructor, Leaf has helped thousands of students surmount standardized tests through his books and workshops, which dole out insider advice for taking the entire tests as well as specific subjects such as math, reading, and dodgeball. Students leave each session with a collection of McGraw-Hill guidebooks, tips on stress management and avoiding common avoidable mistakes, and strategies for each subject.
Most Popular Service: Voice,Guitar,Dance, Painting,and Acting
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 30?60 minutes
Brands Used: Yamaha, Takamine, Steinway, Stradivarius, Capezio
Pro Tip: Come ready to learn and have fun.