Northern Alabama’s only professional, regional opera company, Opera Birmingham showcases some of the freshest young talent from all over the world, singing classic operatic pieces. Its Home for the Holidays show ushers eardrums into the season of eggnog and electric reindeer with a sonic slate of holiday favorites, led by four soloists. Those who opt to become subscribers will get side front orchestra seats to four shows bursting forth from surround-sound vocal chords throughout the 2010–2011 season. In addition to Home for the Holidays, other shows are Faust, Lucia di Lammermoor, and The Great Wagner Concert. Season subscribers also receive invitations to exclusive events, such as the annual subscriber brunch. Forgo another year of listening to alley cats perform a Bach oratorio and instead hit up Opera Birmingham for easy-to-digest ear candy.
As part of the Alabama Symphony's Sounds for Summer series, both shows bring contemporary musical entertainment to the ornately gilded, classy venue. The Act of Congress and Three on a String show tickles tiny earhammers with modern bluegrass and genre-spanning hits. Or hear Country's Hit Makers: Behind the Hits, which packs a 15-song set with recent country billboard toppers such as "Cowboy Casanova" and "American Honey." Both shows are conducted by Christopher Confessore, the ASO's principal pops conductor.
Birmingham Children's Theatre aims to mint pint-sized playwrights, actors, and audience members. It has pursued this goal since its inception in 1947, impacting more than 170,000 children and their 170,000 imaginary friends annually. The theater's kid-friendly programming not only introduces kids to the theater, but also initiates them into the production process. Since 1982, its New Voices Project has yielded upward of 50 original scripts, stories, musicals, and adaptations for young audiences, all while celebrating artistic experimentation and supporting promising new playwrights.
Magic City Ballroom Dance Studio's experienced instructional feet ignite the dance floor with a variety of lessons that demystify the art of rhythmic motion for dancers of all skill levels. Dance styles such as the tango, mambo, and samba infuse hips with infectious Latin rhythms while the Viennese Waltz, the fox trot, and the lindy step add pizzazz to wedding dances or an expressive trip down the produce aisle. Not content to only host energetic classes, the studio also supports one-day dance competitions, inviting dancers to show off their hard work for a chance at prizes and statues of bronzed jazz hands.
Farley’s Ballroom fills with the rhythmic rush of fluttering feet during weekly group dance lessons and private instruction sessions. During six-week beginner courses, dancers can fly solo or flock together in group lessons for individuals or couples on Mondays from 7 p.m. to 7:50 p.m. Instructors draw from a rotating slate of styles that, like months on a bargain-bin calendar, change every three weeks, so participants will learn two distinct genres during each course period, including tango and rumba (November 7–December 12) or the waltz and cha-cha (December 19–January 23). For more intense tutelage, one-on-two private lessons instruct couples in ballroom, Latin, or swing dancing. Dance masters schedule private lessons on any day of the week, calibrating training intensity depending on dancers’ goals, prior experience, and ability to withstand getting served.
The Kinesthetic Cue Dance Club's instructors coach novice and experienced dancers in ballroom, Latin, and swing dance styles. Private lessons pair a sure-footed teacher with either an individual or a couple, helping to refine technique and posture with personalized instruction on styles ranging from rumba to foxtrot. Throughout the week, 50-minute group classes explore various dances, with Monday sessions for beginning students, Thursday sessions for intermediate dancers, and Friday sessions for extras from West Side Story. The more advanced group classes assume that attendees are familiar with the basic steps and begin to introduce floor-management techniques as well as leading and following skills. The studio also hosts a weekly dance party, where pupils mingle with the other students, the class instructors, and the neighborhood choreographers in an alcohol- and smoke-free environment while practicing their newly learned skills.:m]]