On a sprung bamboo floor, the dance instructors at Ancient Art Studios lead groups and individual students through routines in the various forms of belly dance. Inside the spacious and warmly hued studio, where large mirrors let visitors watch their body postures, staff members also hosts troupe rehearsals, special workshops, and recitals.
New Bedford Festival Theatre is devoted to musicals. Since 1990, they have entertained over 200,000 audience members with Broadway-style shows that span the genre's past and present. Staples such as Cats and The Producers balance lesser-known works such as La Cage aux Folles and The Producers 2: Playbill of Revenge to enrich the cultural knowledge of the public. And their efforts have not gone in vain. The New England Theatre Conference awarded New Bedford Festival Theatre the Moss Hart Award for its performances of Les Misérables and Hairspray.
The Trinity Repertory Company boasts a veteran staff of theater professionals that includes one of the few resident acting troupes remaining in the country. The 2011–2012 season is rife with such pathos-laden productions as Clybourne Park (October 14–November 13), a biting riff on Raisin In The Sun that examines race and real estate, and Shakespeare's convenience-store comedy, The Merchant of Venice (February 3–March 4). Resident playwright Deborah Salem Smith's Love Alone (February 28–May 27) delves into the nature of human grief as part of an in-rep program of new work from a trio of playwrights. Attendees can visit Trinity Repertory's website for a full list of productions, showtimes, and a photo gallery tracing the evolution of Henrik Ibsen's sideburns.
Every Friday, the Firehouse Theater hosts a merry evening of witty improvisational comedy, performed by Newport’s The Bit Players. Watch the zany troupe as they drolly play off the suggestions of the audience and make off-the-cuff remarks in a series of short-form skits. Firehouse Theater is BYOB, so show-goers are obliged to bring beer, wine or a cask of aromatherapy bathtub gin. For teetotalers, free hot teas, cocoa, and cookies accompany every performance, helping audience members feel welcome, cozy, and primed for incessant giggling in the 49-seat theater.
•For $40, you get eight weeks of creative dance (ages 4–5) or introduction to ballet (ages 6–7) instruction with one class per week (an $84 value). •For $80, you get eight weeks of ballet 1, 2, or 3 instruction (ages 8–11) or adult ballet with two classes per week (a $180 value). •For $120, you get eight weeks of intermediate or advanced ballet instruction (ages 12+) with three classes per week (a $580 value). Previous training is required for intermediate and advanced ballet levels.
Trumpets blare over the fairgrounds. As the king and queen ride through town, peasants and shopkeepers all kneel immediately, verbalizing praise and respects to their liege lord. Meanwhile, a man in shorts stands amid the crouching peasants eating a turkey leg the size of his arm as his kids tumble off the Jacob's ladder across the dirt road. This is but a snapshot of the special moments at King Richard's Faire, a renaissance festival that gathers period artisans, performers, and food merchants to celebrate the Age of Enlightenment along with visitors.
After a bit of practice throwing axes, visitors can stroll in optional costume to see fortunetellers, cobblers, and blacksmiths who have mastered ancient crafts. Knights ride to battle on the tourney field to win the king's and crowd's favor, and eight stages, a tournament field, and a mud pit bring in acts ranging from minstrels and jugglers to fire eaters and exotic animals.