All veterans of the entertainment industry, the instructors at Ovation School for the Performing Arts don't believe in just instilling acting, singing, or dancing skills into their students. Instead, they impart all three, turning students of all skill levels into triple threats of stage and screen. Designed for kids and teens aged 5–18, the nonprofit's twice-weekly sessions are divided into 45-minute blocks whose subjects include acting, singing, and dance styles such as hip-hop and tap. Ovation also hosts private lessons focused on voice, piano, and guitar.
Starting at age four, Michelle Larson dedicated herself to Irish dance, quickly ascending the ranks from regional to world championship-level dancing. But at 21, hungry for a change of pace, she focused her energy on interior design. It didn't take long, however, for the rhythmic patter of soft shoes to lure her back like a siren song, and in 1990 she founded the Painter Larson Academy of Irish Dance. Here, she trains children in Irish dance fundamentals, such as foot placement and timing, before teaching basic dances such as the light jig. Michelle's adult students learn these skills, too, as well as group dances that culminate in a traditional Irish dogpile.
For more than a quarter century, Robyn Melanson has developed a thorough knowledge of the dance community as a performer, instructor, choreographer, and coach. As the founder and director of Stage One Dance Studio, she and her staff of dance instructors teach clients the art of kinetic expression in styles as varied as jazz, ballet, and tap. The premises feature three studios, each equipped with raised hard-rock maple floors, where students ages 3-17 hone their skills.
When the lights flicker on and off at The Gourmet Detective, there's no cause for alarm?it's all just part of the show. The interactive murder mystery dinner theatre injects a three-course meal with whimsical performers who blend comedy and drama into a vintage whodunnit. Each show transports its captive audience to the era of film noir, wrapping them into a dark, twisting narrative scored with live music from a lounge singer. The scene is set as guests mingle with the characters at a pre-show cocktail hour, then step into the seedy restaurant those characters run. When the first players are bumped off at the start of the meal, everyone in the crowd becomes equally gumshoe, witness, and suspect. Throughout the dinner, guests can either sit back and enjoy the show or gather clues by talking with the characters who serve each course between the scenes. The evening culminates in a reveal of the real culprit, as well as the audience's most inaccurate guesses.