For more than three decades, The Florida Ballet's teachers?all certified by the American Ballet Theatre?have introduced students to the art of the leap, the pirouette, and the tutu. And those students have gone on to high places: Orlando Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, and even The American Ballet Theatre. Founded by Laurie Picinich-Byrd and Michael F. Byrd., accomplished dancers who met during a rehearsal at the Metropolitan Opera House, the training and performance haven refines young dancers' technique with the American Ballet Theatre's 8-level training program. This curriculum not only focuses on the beauty of ballet, it also pays special attention to the health of dancers and the principles of child development.
Nearly a century ago, the Hippodrome opened as a combination movie palace and vaudeville theater, spending more than 70 years hosting big names such as Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra. Following a double-decade period of slow business and bad hairstyles, the Hippodrome closed down in 1990. Now, however, after an exhaustive restoration project that reanimated the theater’s chandelier-lit arches, the mural above the proscenium stage, and the grand-theater boxes that hearken back to opera’s heyday, the Hippodrome reopens to the delight of Baltimore’s cultural landscape.
For more than three decades, the Orlando Ballet has infused the stage with a mixed repertoire of graceful classical ballet and fiery contemporary programs. In the second production of "Battle of the Sexes," male and female dancers surge forward with sensual volleys of arms and legs timed to the choreography of Robert Hill. Gaze in awe from the middle or upper balcony as sultry silhouettes perform flying leaps and spins in tandem under red lights and full-bodied music. En pointe enthusiasts can purchase multiple Groupons and accompany their family, friends, or passing tour group to the ballet.