Saphira, the matriarch and founder of Saffron Dance, didn?t even exist 20 years ago, much like ?I survived Y2K? bumper stickers. Saphira was known as Rachael Galoob-Ortega, a lawyer who practiced in DC and Florida for a decade. But her high-power career and hefty paycheck couldn?t extinguish her passion for dance. And so she became Saphira, an international belly-dance artist and instructor with numerous accolades, including being featured in American Belly Dancer, a documentary about belly dance in the United States.
Saphira opened Saffron Dance six years ago, and along with 18 fellow instructors, channels her years of expertise into dance courses that get progressively more challenging from week to week. Welcoming all levels, her classes teach both Egyptian-inspired belly dance and community-focused tribal belly dance. Regardless of the class type, Saphira and her teachers encourage pupils to express their unique voices through dance, all while keeping proper alignment, mastering precision, and having fun.
A keeper of culture in the capitol city since 1966, the Metropolitan Chorus celebrates the beauty of the human voice without limiting itself to a certain genre. Apart from symphony-assisted classical concerts and annual productions of Handel's Messiah, the chorus also shows the jazz roots of artistic director Barry Hemphill. After all, Hemphill is the son of frequent Satchmo-collaborator Shelton "Scad" Hemphill and was babysat by none other than Billy Holliday growing up. Yet even though the ensemble's influences are so varied, a common thread ties its concerts together: a strong emphasis on American composers old and new.
Converted from a historic 1930s art-deco theater, the modern iteration of the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse is a combination restaurant, movie theater, and performance space. Besides screening blockbusters, the venue also hosts regular comedy shows featuring standups who have shared their skills on The Tonight Show, David Letterman, and Conan O'Brien. Between laughs, audience members can take bites from a complete menu or sips of selections from a full-service bar.
Established as the Washington Shakespeare Company in 1990, WSC Avant Bard is dedicated to updating classic theater for modern audiences, revitalizing well-worn drama with challenging interpretations. Under the leadership of newly appointed artistic director Tom Prewitt, the theater treats audiences to daring productions of established classics, new works, and little-known Shakespeare fan-fiction about him teaming up to fight crime with Queen Elizabeth I.
Today's side deal gets you a ticket to see Jane Franklin Dance's new work, Of Bones and Bridges. Inspired by nature's cycle of growth, destruction, and change, this composition explores the tension between people and the natural world. Head to Source, a recently renovated black-box theater in the 14th Street Corridor, for an evening performance at 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 27, or a matinee on Sunday, February 28 (a $28 value). Pick up adult tickets at the box office on a first-come, first-serve basis for your chosen evening; if you're planning on bringing children, call ahead to reserve special $10 kids' pricing (to be paid out of pocket to the theater, normally $16).
Since opening Dance Factory in 1976, Dennis Schroeder and his staff of instructors have taught more than 500,000 people how to cut a rug across the studio’s spacious, 3,500-square-foot cushioned ballroom floor. Many of the instructors are competitive dancers, and they use their expertise to teach a full range of traditional dance styles, including the bossa nova, tango, and samba. During both group and private lessons, they teach students of all levels how to perform in social settings—a skill they can flaunt at board meetings or during holiday balls and weekend dances. The staff also coaches bridal parties, and leads four-hour weekend workshops to delve into more complicated dance techniques.