In support of her high-decibel new album, Rihanna kicks off her hotly anticipated LOUD tour with emphatic gusto and a sizzling roster of special guests. Like an art show at a sundae bar, the LOUD tour floods the senses, enchanting audiences with lavishly designed sets, myriad costume changes, move-busting dancers, and Rihanna's songbook of Grammy magnets. Crooner Cee Lo Green augments the songful offerings with his own vocal talents, and Roc Nation rapper and rhythm scientist J. Cole further helps resuscitate ear drums traumatized by the outside world's blaring car horns and shrill howler monkeys.
If there is a major dance competition out there, Scott Lazarov has probably placed in it. Along with gracing the cover of Philadelphia Magazine and performing at the Academy of Music, the founder of DanceSport Academy has won four US and World Pro-Am championships and was named champion of US Salsa, Rising Star, and Grand National championships. At DanceSport, Scott and his fellow instructors teach dance as both a social outlet and a competitive art form, and break down complicated styles into simple steps. Private and group classes teach a foundation of balance, posture, and timing that can then be mapped onto styles as varied as mambo, swing, merengue, or the Viennese waltz. Serious students can also gear up for competitions through a comprehensive training approach that addresses choreography, costuming, and production of the oversized foam fingers given out to the judges.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the 1930s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
At two locations, Top Hat Dance Studio's passionate team of nationally certified teachers inspires dancers of all skill levels to shuffle off to Buffalo while hustling, salsaing, and waltzing across the dance floor. During group lessons, skilled instructors teach guests to untangle left feet while performing intricate, stylized choreography in the Lancaster location's two-step, ballet, and West Coast swing classes or the Philadelphia location's salsa, bachata, and advanced-level chicken-dance classes. Fledgling fleetfooters can supplement group sessions with private lessons, during which feet will learn to tap out Morse-code messages to a far-away dance partner while sharpening skills with one-on-one instruction. In addition to these dance classes, instructors also specialize in preparing engaged couples for their first dance and offer a number of specially designed youth programs.
Dance instructors Brandi and Vuthy Ou performed and competed in dance competitions all over the world together before opening their own studio in 2006. They draw on their experience and chemistry to teach students of all experience levels how to tame skittish left feet through a robust schedule of ballroom-, social-, and Latin-style dance classes. Each 40-minute session begins with a brief warm-up before students learn how to synchronize steps. Students looking to hone skills in a specific dancing style may do so during American tango, swing, or rumba classes, and the social-dance program helps regular wedding crashers to feel comfortable while chicken dancing. Private lessons enhance rug-cutting skills with the advantage of one-on-one attention. Since partners are frequently switched during classes, both couples and singles are welcome.
The term EgoPo derives from the French for the physical self, and it's more than the name of a theater—it's an acting style. The work of EgoPo's thespians is intense, and the physical and vocal training is grueling. It's not a place where actors waltz into auditions with new head-shots and freshly minted business cards that say, "Up-and-Coming Professional Actor." At EgoPo, the permanent team trains year-round until they become a theatrical organism, capable of rewarding viewers who tire of the same old summer stock. Although "classic" is in their name, EgoPo's productions typically skirt tradition in favor of provocation in visceral performances.