A quarter-century after its 1987 rebirth, the Grapevine Opry brings the honky-tonk atmosphere to North Texas with weekly performances by touring performers. On Saturday nights, Rocky Gribble, the venue’s master of ceremonies, introduces country performers, big bands, bluegrass musicians, and ‘50’s-style rockers, and on the fourth Friday of the month, gospel singers descend upon the art deco theater to praise from the stage. Past performers have included the likes of Willie Nelson, LeAnn Rimes, and Miranda Lambert, but one of the biggest thrills at the Opry is seeing the country stars of tomorrow before they hit it big and start hiring robots to perform for them.
“It all starts with an idea and block of wood,” John Hopkins, founder of Le Theatre de Marionette, marvels on his website. While that may be true for marionette-theater productions ranging from Hansel and Gretel to The Wizard of Oz, it took a little more for Le Theatre itself. John began the operation in a defunct bus station in Arlington, drawing in families with the just skill of his hands and voice, before achieving enough success to move to Dallas and expand from one theatre to three. He also brought on a skilled team of puppeteers and voice actors. Yet despite the company's growth, John remains hands on, helping to shape those ideas and blocks of wood into puppets, sets, and smaller blocks of wood.
• For $20, you get one general-admission seat at the quarterfinals on Thursday, August 25, at 5:30 p.m. (a $40 value before fees, or up to a $47.04 value online, including all Ticketmaster fees). • For $24, you get one stadium-reserved seat at the quarterfinals on Thursday, August 25, at 5:30 p.m. (a $48 value before fees, or up to a $55.04 value online, including all Ticketmaster fees). • For $22, you get one general-admission seat at the semifinals on Friday, August 26, at 5:30 p.m. (a $45 value before fees, or up to a $52.04 value online, including all Ticketmaster fees). • For $27, you get one stadium-reserved seat at the semifinals on Friday, August 26, at 5:30 p.m. (a $55 value before fees, or up to a $62.58 value online, including all Ticketmaster fees). • For $25, you get one general-admission seat at the finals on Saturday, August 27, at a to-be-determined time (a $50 value before fees, or up to a $57.58 value online, including all Ticketmaster fees). • For $30, you get one stadium-reserved seat at the finals Saturday, August 27, at a to-be-determined time (a $60 value before fees, or up to a $67.58 value online, including all Ticketmaster fees).
Since age 3, Dana Bailey has been twirling to her own beat, progressing from childhood cha-chas to appearances in promotions for Pepsi and JC Penney. After studying under instructors in California and New York City, Dana now offers pintsize patrons the same opportunity to get a head start in the performing arts with child and teen dance classes. She enlists working industry pros to wrangle kids as young as 2.5 in tap, ballet, and tumbling classes atop pliable wood and marley floors.
The boys' tap, jazz, and hip-hop classes accommodate a demographic often overlooked by the dance industry and prepare a studio team for local and national performances. Instructors regularly glean pointers from top national choreographers to craft classes such as Teen Hip Hop, which equips students with basic moves and combos that, much like the prom held outside the Grammys, are set to a soundtrack of current hits.
Donna Park's passion for performance preceded the bulk of her vocabulary: at 4 years old, she got into the habit of correcting the dance steps of the other children in her recitals. Her unquenchable thirst for performance led her through a theater minor in college to the discovery of film, then onto a career as a director, writer, and producer of television specials and commercials. Now, calling upon contacts developed during her 20-year career, she brings working professionals to Texas Creative Arts Academy to share their hard-earned wisdom with the young.
The Academy's year-round programs gather students aged 4 to 18 to celebrate their interest in dance, art, film, and melodrama. Aspiring artisans learn the basics of canvas and garment craftsmanship in Hi Ho! Van Gogh! and Design Fashion Diva! camps. Teachers unlock high notes in students' vocal ranges with voice lessons and train the eyes of future cameramen in video-production classes. Piano and guitar instruction empowers kids to realize a future where spontaneous public musical numbers don’t just happen on stage.
When players take a tumble or dive at Gatsplat, they?re cushioned by the same stuff that protects NFL players from harm. Both of Gatsplat?s indoor paintball fields are padded by NFL-quality Astroturf, but these are not the only safety measures the staff puts in place. Professional referees keep watch over games, as opposed to off-duty clowns looking to score some free face paint. Players are also divided by experience level, and standard 68-caliber markers can be swapped out for lighter-weight 50-caliber markers so kids as young as six can play.
The 26,000-square-foot climate-controlled facility also has a comfortable viewing area with wide windows for non-players to keep an eye on the action. Free wireless internet access and a wide-screen television keep them occupied, and between games, players and non-players can discuss strategy or compare paint splatters as they snack at picnic tables.