Winners of 16 2010 Youngstown Area Community Theatre Marquee Awards—including best direction and best play—The Victorian Players present plays written in and inspired by the Victorian era. The company is dedicated to presenting family-friendly theater, eschewing stagefare that includes profanity, violence, or graphic onstage depictions of drunken robots. The Madwoman of Chaillot tells the story of the titular character, a quirky aristocrat who gathers an army of café-goers, performers, and fellow madwomen to halt the machinations of an evil coterie of businessmen planning to dig up Paris for its underground stores of oil. Shows take place in a restored 1890s Victorian church, imparting a period-appropriate architectural flavor to the dramatic proceedings.
Ilya's Bellydance & Henna Studio teaches the fine art of tummy undulation and hip-and-shoulder shimmying to abdomens anxious to shuffle their metaphorical belly feet. Eager rug-cutters can strive to improve their poise and self-confidence in a standard belly-dancing, burlesque, or Bollywood workshop. An expert audience mesmerizer instructs on navel-oriented movement techniques, including the classic bellybutton ripple that displays agility and removes any abdomen-attached forest creatures.
Theatre of Youth specializes in kid-friendly performances that engage young minds and captivate grown-up grown-ups. They produce five literary-based productions and two health and wellness productions each year. Since 2000, more than half a million children have gotten their jollies from the popular productions, which are known for their high production value and quality acting. Upcoming plays include the informative Inside Out that wraps an entertaining story around a lesson that encourages healthier eating habits. This Holiday season, catch A Little House Christmas which is adopted from the famed Little House on the Prairie series, or peer into the future and reserve seats for a stage adaptation of Judy Bloom's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, opening next March.
With more than 60 years of combined rug-cutting experience, La Danse Cleveland's co-owners, Esther Rehm-Cohen and Tim Brown, have helped untold numbers of students twirl, hop, and belly slide across the dance floor. Certified as a ballroom instructor in 1981, Esther has won national awards for her teaching skills and has had the distinct honor of training couples who have gone on to rank in competitions. She garnered the position of head coach of the Case Western Reserve University ballroom team before fate's two-step led her to a partnership with Tim to run La Danse Cleveland's ample 6,000-square-foot studio. Boasting a background that includes competition in professional arenas as well as work as a dancing judge and a choreographer, co-owner Tim delights in crafting group classes and private lessons that excite and challenge students.
Included on the studio's roster of lessons are styles from Viennese waltz to nightclub two-step, along with sessions tailored specifically to children and to adult fitness goals. In classes and dance parties open to the public, students and social dancers alike rendezvous with Esther, Tim, and their impressive stable of instructors, whose resumés include stints with such world-class companies as the Boston Ballet and Gene Kelly's gutter-cleaning company.
Cleveland Ballroom Company's owner and principal instructor Nichy Vegas imparts graceful dance techniques to singles and couples in a variety of ballroom styles. Lessons range from beginner to advanced, allowing tyro twirlers and experienced foot-movers alike to learn new techniques and enjoy the fun of ballroom dance. Classes such as beginning and intermediate rhythm teach the importance of well-timed movements, a critical element of any basic two-step, foxtrot, or bullet-dodging routine. Alternate styles include tango, cha-cha, salsa, and the classic waltz—call ahead for information on future scheduling.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, 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.