Many dance companies approach ballet from a modern angle. Caroline Calouche prefers a more perpendicular one. When the stage is not enough space for her visions of macabre masquerade balls or surreal dreamscapes, she takes to the air above it, outfitted with a cirque's worth of aerial harnesses and accouterments. Her dancers are just as likely to pirouette down a 20-foot skein of golden silk as across a hardwood floor. Pairs of lovers might hang precariously from the frame of a hollow cube or perform a gravity-defying pas de deux on the double lyra—their suspension above the earth either an expression of freedom or a prison of their own making. Like identifying an elderly smoker's gender over the phone, the airborne element leaves plenty of room for interpretation.
By marrying the storytelling ability of floor-bound choreography with the gravity-defying tricks of circus arts, Caroline Calouche & Co. unleashes the full potential of aerial dance. The company's productions are free to venture to strange new places. For example, in past shows, women have risen from their graves to haunt their murderous husbands. Likewise, the sounds of Moby and Blue Man Group are more likely to be heard than Debussy.
Audience members who want to plqy the ropes and silks for themselves can learn to do so during the dance company's aerial-dance classes, along with a tight curriculum of ballet, contemporary, and stretching and strengthening courses. For all its global influences and aerial showmanship, Caroline Calouche & Co. keeps its feet rooted in the local community with outreach programs for all ages, ethnicities, and social groups.
Angie Acosta, founder of Queen City DanceOut, has a simple motto for her students: "If you're moving, you're doing it right." This encouraging, low-pressure attitude attracts people of all ages to her dance-inspired fitness classes, which meet at 18 public locations. Angie and her instructors aim to make exercise feel like a celebration and a refreshing break rather than a dreaded routine. To this end, their classes incorporate intuitive dance moves and invigorating music. DanceOut, the signature course, blends genres as diverse as swing, hip-hop, and reggae into a workout, relying on repetition and basic choreography to keep everyone grooving. Other highlights of the curriculum include the Latin rhythms of Zumba; the Dance Impact class, which fuses dance and kickboxing; and JamStrong, a mixture of core-conditioning, dance, and fun.
Community is a central aspect of every DanceOut class. As pupils practice their twirls, they can follow both the teacher and the Jam Crew—a team of regulars who help make the steps easy to follow and can assist fellow dancers. In addition to group workouts, instructors host skill workshops such as Booty Bootcamp, where attendees learn rump-shaking techniques and how to turn any chair into a rocking chair. They also put on performances and lead private classes for special events and parties.
Her name is Lisa Ryan, but everyone calls her Matty––an appropriate nickname considering she's the all-knowing force behind Matty's Mattress Warehouse. "I'm it!" she says with a proud laugh. "I move every one of the mattresses, talk to every person about their needs. Just me and a guy with a truck." She's a big fan of the more intimate service she can provide in her own store, especially after having managed huge retail chains. "I used to do furniture––always problems. Here, it's low overhead. Low hassle." And for Matty's customers, that also means lower cost. About 60% of Matty's business comes from referrals, so there's clearly something enchanting about her process. When asked what brings people in the doors—whether it's word of mouth or high-powered magnets—her response is quick. "What's not to love? You come in, get a new bed, you go home, and you sleep well." Her warehouse boasts a wide selection of mattresses ranging from Easy Sleep pillow-tops to orthopedic styles from Spring Air, but the pride of her showroom is the popular Bed Boss brand. These mattresses are forged from elastic memory foam that's infused with heat-dissipating, sustainable bamboo fibers, and they cost about one-third as much as similar mattresses from competing brands. Though Matty loves helping clients find a perfect mattress, the moments she cherishes the most are those when her mattresses become a game changer, when they really make a difference in a customer's life. "There was a guy who had back surgery," she explains. "He hadn't slept well in 18 months––been to the doc for insomnia. Sold him a mattress and he came back a week later. He was elated. It was really validating."
The highly trained technicians at Jiffy Lube tend to about 24 million customers each year with services such as the Jiffy Lube Signature Service Oil Change package, which helps promote the longevity of each vehicle. Staffers acknowledge that oil plays a crucial role in maximizing the lifespan of each car—it cools the motor and helps prevent moving parts from deteriorating. More than 20,000 technicians—all of which have completed an extensive training program certified by the National Institute Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)—service vehicles at Jiffy Lube. In addition to performing oil changes, technicians offer preventative services such as air-filtration and electrical-system maintenance, among others. Jiffy Lube’s quality pledge includes a commitment to transparency, which stipulates that they will inform car owners of any necessary services, complete a service only after it has been approved, and refuse to replace windshields with saran wrap.
The moment his father first put a golf club in his hands, the then 11-year-old Bruce Parker knew it was the beginning of a lifelong dedication to the game. Bruce went on to star as the No. 1 golfer on his high-school team for four years and play on scholarship for the Georgia State University team. Through it all, Bruce never thought of leaving golf to pursue a career in the more glamorous world of croquet. When asked, Bruce still says that spending a day at the links is his favorite activity.
Today, Bruce puts his pin-hunting prowess and enthusiasm for the game to work while conducting lessons at Golf Depot. A driving range with both grass and artificial-turf hitting areas, lights for after-hours practice, and high-caliber practice balls provides an ideal training ground for Bruce to cure all forms of golf-game maladies, such as a slice-prone swing or a driver that has an irrational fear of fairways. Bruce has also created his own style, the effortless golf method, which is taught to players of all levels of experience.
For more than 40 years, British expats Wally and Doris welcomed guests into Wally’s Sixpence in Savannah, where Wally would talk their ears off and Doris would feed them with lunch she’d prepared in her home kitchen. In 1999, two men who considered Wally’s their favorite watering hole took it over. They renamed it Six Pence Pub, renovated the interior, and converted the menu to a full array of English and American comfort food. The success of bread bowls brimming with Guinness-stout-marinated beef tips and classic reuben sandwiches has enabled the duo to launch another two locations. Although each pub has its own menu, they all pay homage to the Queen’s country with steaming shepherd’s pies, bangers and mash, and more than a dozen sandwiches. On-tap brews, bourbon, or single malt scotches help evenings pass more enjoyably than a staring contest with a Kit-Kat clock.
Each location’s atmosphere is unique: in Savannah, diners can lounge among plants on the patio or perch at a glossy wood bar guarded by unfurled British flags. In Fort Mill, guests know they’re at the right place when they see the unmistakable cherry red of a British telephone booth outside.