Mary Mayer's career in Irish dancing started when she took her first lessons in Ireland while staying with her grandmother in the early '70s. She loved it so much that when she returned to Chicago, she—as well as her brother John—began taking lessons at a local Irish-dance school, where they danced with such people as Lord of the Dance creator Michael Flatley. Both Mary and John eventually starting placing at regional and national championships.
In 1980, they founded the Mayer School of Irish Dancing. It began in a basement with only five students—two of who were their younger brother and sister, Paul and Julie Mayer. These two followed in their older siblings' footsteps by placing in championships and even landing roles in Road to Perdition. Paul trained actress Jennifer Jason Leigh and danced with her in the film. Julie also trained many actors and performed alongside Paul Newman and Daniel Craig.
Though John has since retired, Mary continues to teach classes six days a week in Villa Park and Galena. Paul and Julie man two of the school's additional locations, which now span four states. Their students have placed in regional and national championships. Some have even traveled to Ireland to put their skills on display at the All-Ireland Championship and see if any snakes have found their way back yet.
The consortium of professional instructors at 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.
Dr. Paul Black brings 25 years of dental experience to his cosmetic procedures and Invisalign treatments. State-of-the-art equipment, like the Itero Digital Impression, ensures teeth emerge looking their best after orthodontic or whitening sessions, and high-quality implants allow patients to bite through even the toughest turkey leg.
Razzle Dazzle Spa deals in physical transformation. The day spa features numerous ways to spruce up and attain a new look. For the hands and feet, aestheticians offer manicures and pedicures with an option for long-lasting Shellac polish. They outfit customers with eyelash extensions and makeup applications, and Razzle Dazzle Spa also offers full-body waxing for smooth skin.
The Quad City Symphony Orchestra tickles ears with beautiful melodies and spectacular performances during its annual "Holiday Pops" concerts. Guest conductor Michael Butterman takes charge of an all-star cast that features six-time U.S. figure-skating champion Todd Eldredge as he shows off his moves and carves his version of a perfect tumbleweed into the ice. Actor and Quad Cities native John Getz lends his vocal talents to festive proceedings, and internationally acclaimed trumpeter Jon Faddis jazzes up orchestral pieces with fiery improvisation. The show takes place at the i wireless Center, with guests choosing from lower-bowl seats for straight-ahead sightlines or upper-bowl perches for enviable views of conductor stage dives.
The It's Glow Time 5K isn't your typical 5K race?unless your typical 5K route is dotted with "party zones." The zones' black lights make runners' neon outfits and face paint glow, and speakers in each zone blast jams to pump up racers. These areas aren't just in the middle of the race course, either. Both the start and the finish are party zones, though the finish line would be more aptly described as a full-on party for triumphant runners. A DJ spins amped-up tunes, racers wave glow sticks, and laser lights illuminate the festivities.