As may be apparent by her name, studio director Ursula Undress is a student of both classical burlesque and its neoburlesque modern revival. At her studio, she puts together a curriculum that pays tribute to the history of sultry dance while also integrating its modern trends. Among the goals of the classes is for all women to learn to confidently swing their hips and master the subtle art of the tease—while striking up a renewed relationship with their inner temptress. Ursula and her fellow instructors also add variety to classes by integrating sexy hoop dancing, graceful ballet moves, or Latin-inspired dance forms, including salsa, cha-cha, and mambo. Students looking for a more intense workout can tone up through the studio’s go-go fitness classes that are aided by an upbeat pace and hefty gold-plated feather boas.
Atlanta’s Woodruff Arts Center is the city’s grandest artistic complex, containing the High Museum and the Alliance Theatre, in addition to the Atlanta Symphony. Located right in the middle of Midtown, the theater is comfortable for both dates and young families, and since the Atlanta Symphony is known for its fantastic acoustics, there are no bad seats in the house. The orchestra’s annual gala is one of the arts season highlights, featuring the talents of the orchestra in addition to celebrities like Broadway’s Audra McDonald, while even the commonplace shows tend to wow crowds, without breaking the bank. There’s nothing better at the end of a difficult work week than to sit in a plush, comfortable chair, close your eyes and allow the strains of a live orchestra to carry you away.
The home of its titular pro soccer team, the Atlanta Silverbacks Camps arranges four full-sized fields around a sprawling, 48,000-foot indoor facility. When the team isn’t defending its home turf, the 5,000-seat stadium sits open for use by other local teams, including the Atlanta Renegades Rugby Club, local high school teams, and professional field-rushing squads. Nets and glass surround two enclosed fields, which often host indoor soccer and flag football games. The complex also houses a 50-seat event room capable of containing meetings, parties, and seminars.
Throughout nearly seven decades, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has bridged musical gaps with an extensive catalog of Grammy-winning recordings that include symphonies, operas, and gospel and classical choral works. Once helmed by the chorale superstar Robert Shaw, the orchestra has produced six Grammy-winning releases in its 12 years under current director Robert Spano. Its allied institution, the Atlanta School of Composers provides training, support, and ear massages for hardworking contemporary artists.
Flush with cash during the Roaring Twenties, Atlanta's Shriners set out to build a magnificent monument for their headquarters, dubbed the Yaarab Temple Shrine Mosque. The structure was to feature grandiose architectural touches such as towering minarets and onion domes. When a teetering economy threatened construction, the Shriners sold the building to film mogul William Fox, who finished the space as a movie palace with virtually no changes to its extravagant design. As splendid as the exterior was, audiences were unprepared for the interior. After seeing it for the first time, one Atlanta Journal reporter breathlessly remarked on the "picturesque and almost disturbing grandeur" on display.
Crafted to resemble the courtyard of a Moorish castle, the main hall's decorations begin in the back with a faux canopy of plaster and steel stretching over the rear balcony. Stone parapets wrap around the sides, culminating in a towering proscenium arch illuminated by hanging lanterns and overhung with persian rugs. Above, a blue ceiling sparkles with hundreds of recessed light bulbs, which refract through three-inch crystals. Projected clouds drift across this simulated starry night and rain on anyone who texts during a show.
The final jewel in the theater's gilded crown is the The Mighty Mo Organ. The second-largest theater organ in the world, the Mighty Mo was custom-built in 1929 for the princely sum of $42,000 to accompany any movie or live production. The instrument’s richly textured sounds erupt from 3,622 pipes of varying length, with the smallest no larger than a pen and the largest spanning five feet in diameter. Adding to the Mighty Mo's sonic tapestry is an internal glockenspiel, marimba, and xylophone, plus a system by which the stage's grand piano can be played remotely. The Mighty Mo also mimics thunder, steamboat whistles, saxophones, and its parents' voices when they're not around.
"The Tease." It's more than a series of scintillating maneuvers. It's a release. It's eye-popping, orchestrated doffing as an art form, and it's just a taste of the empowering and vociferous avenues chartered at The Atlanta School of Burlesque. Operated by a team of burlesque professionals who've mastered the craft of unleashing steam, the combination dance, fitness, and rehearsal studio acts as a magnet for women of all shapes, sizes, and demeanor hoping to unveil their inner starlet. Students not only explore their sexy side, they also gain physical fitness in the process, and encounter an entire community of encouraging, like-minded performers. Along the way, students learn the history of the burlesque art form and the bells and whistles of its theatrics, master the art of seduction while learning how to bump n' grind, and become experts in boa safety and proper fan-dance velocity.