The Epilepsy Association of Central Florida distributes bike helmets to economically disadvantaged children to save lives during accidents and reduce head-trauma-induced conditions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that if children universally wore helmets while biking, it would prevent roughly 40,000 head injuries every year, which would also reduce the risk of youth developing epilepsy.
Students at The Art Room encounter a soothing and supportive environment punctuated by sighs of relaxation and strokes of genius. Friendly instructors guide novitiates through the basics of acrylic painting in the pleasantly spacious studio. Students learn the basic touch required to produce a range of brushed beauties, including fully formed flowers, vibrant bumblebees, and feathery roosters that leap off the canvas. Adults produce a 16"x20" piece over the course of three hours, and special classes for children run two-hours long, resulting in a 12"x16" painting. Students can bring in a few snacks to consume with the non-dominant hand, or tote along some beverages and buddies to amplify the artistic vibe.
A staple of the nation’s standup scene since the first location opened in 1963, Improv comedy clubs have been popping up all over for nearly 40 years. The venues have played an instrumental role in the early careers of famous jokesters such as Bette Midler and Jerry Seinfeld. Now firmly established in locales from Florida to California, Improv comedy clubs draw big-name acts and ambitious up-and-comers.
As one out of six children from a family of modest income, a 13-year-old Alfred Mann entered the cooking and hospitality industry out of necessity. Luck finally struck him when, throughout the 1990s, he met face-to-face with John Smoltz, Tyra Banks, and the Orlando Magic basketball team, all in his capacity as a chef. Since then, he's continued to hone his art while cooking for a range of celebrity actors, athletes, and visiting dignitaries as the head of Elite Catering & Events. Chef Mann and his team draw on experience working with culinarians including Emeril Lagasse to perform catering and personal-chef services, letting customers revel in at-home feasts or flaunt the strength of papier-mâché banquet tables. In addition to crafting gourmet fare for large and small events, staff members pass on their culinary legacy through cooking classes and assuage clients' tension with home spa services such as chef nights, massages, and aromatherapy.
Corona Cigar Co. welcomes all types of cigar lovers, from casual smokers to rolled tobacco connoisseurs to four-star generals in need of chomping sticks. The shop’s friendly atmosphere encourages ample browsing, which is made easy by a stock of millions of premium in-store cigars that patrons can savor as they sit back, relax, and enjoy a rare spirit, cocktail, or glass of wine at the bar.
Ornate chandeliers cast their brilliance across a sprawling hardwood dance floor, but the crowd's eyes aren't directed toward the shimmering lights. They're focused instead on the intricate steps performed by a professional dance instructor, just one member in The Sovereign Dance Academy's talented team. With experience that spans from international competitions to television work, these professionals help others discover a passion for dance that extends beyond gracefully popping bubble wrap. Their mission is reflected in their curriculum, which offers a step-by-step approach that allows students to focus on American Smooth ballroom styles, such as the waltz and tango; International Ballroom styles, such as the foxtrot; or Latin and Rhythm styles, such as the rumba and hustle. Instructors work one-on-one with students—who can be adults or children—and let them know when they are ready to grapevine on to the next level.
Aside from the standard curriculum, The Sovereign Dance Academy leads specialized workshops and private sessions in which engaged couples can hone the dance they'll perform atop their wedding cake. On select nights, the space transforms into an area for social events such as girls' night out.
As Tommy, one of Howl at the Moon’s piano players, explains on the club’s website, “Every night…we try and throw a party, regardless of whether it’s a Tuesday night or a Saturday night.” The bar’s trademark dueling pianos serve as the epicenter of these nightly celebrations; patrons submit their favorite songs on slips of paper for the pianists and backing musicians to recreate. If the website’s playlist is any indication, the bands can handle popular songs from all genres and eras, from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” The performances are spirited: colorful lights splash upon a stage where servers, guests, and chairs that have somehow developed mobility all dance along to the music.
Fueling the celebration is the bar’s indulgent selection of drinks. Servers stand over patrons to plunge jello injectors into their mouths, and revelers grab colorful straws to help drain 86-ounce booze buckets filled with sangria or other fruity libations. Pomegranate liqueur and honey-infused whiskey sweeten specialty cocktails, and local beers add depth to coolers stocked with Stella Artois and Dos Equis.