Experienced instructor Maria Alvarez leads solo hoofers or fleet-footed pairs through the steps, forms, and customs of more than 15 styles of dance. Private lessons—each lasting 50 toe-tapping minutes—cater to the ability of each individual student or couple, and the one-on-one interaction allows for the speedier learning of steps and the secret fox-trot handshake. Group lessons, which are usually composed of 10–30 participants, encourage students to boogie down with multiple dance partners, and each group outing focuses on a few steps. Newly acquired fancy footwork comes in handy at the monthly studio parties, in which students test out their skills in a fun social setting. Movement-friendly duds should be worn to classes, and more semiformal threads, such as dresses or tuxedo T-shirts, are welcome at the parties. All events require footwear with clean soles.
One of the oldest community theaters in the state, The Gainesville Community Playhouse has produced crowd-pleasing plays since 1927. In Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful, elderly Carrie sets out to escape the clutches of her cowardly son and his bossy wife by returning to her childhood home. A dedicated cast and crew of local volunteers ably enact Carrie's search for her past. Patrons peep through the fourth wall in the 210-seat Vam York Theater, which boasts facilities to stage the most demanding musicals or Shakespearean space battles.
The posse of chefs at Agave Blue piques curious palates with a menu of casual Mexican fusion fare. Step in from the eatery's parking lot to warm up masticators with an appetizer of taco cheese fries ($5.95) topped with taco meat, jalapeños, and shredded cheese. Mouths can move on to deep-fried chicken chimichangas ($9.95), a trio of steak tacos ($10.95) harmonizing with mexican slaw and chimichurri sauce, or the baja burger ($8.95), which hulas to tables with an entourage of grilled pineapple, pepper jack cheese, and sautéed onions. Diners can sip, slurp, and blow bubbles into traditional margaritas, sidling up to the bar to watch the game or hanging out at a table to watch the table.
Belting out karaoke can be a scary prospect for some, but Stage 7 offers a remedy for this particular brand of stage fright. Inside their private karaoke rooms, groups of three to 30 can sing alongside their friends, secure in the knowledge that they will not be mocked by strangers or have their uvula photographed without their consent. Rooms of varying sizes are furnished with sofas and tables so visitors can relax and socialize while they choose from a selection of more than 7,000 English-language songs—which range from classic rock to Top 40—as well as thousands more in Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, and Filipino. Waitresses ferry snacks and drinks to each room, keeping singing pipes well-oiled with sake, soju, domestic beers, and imports such as Tsingtao and Asahi.
University of Florida fans tuck into booths, sit along the bar, and lean across a blue-felt pool table while they enjoy the lively atmosphere and sports action at Gator Tales Sports Bar. The kitchen sates patrons with a long list of edibles, and bartenders keep whistles whetted and in tune with cool drafts of Miller Lite and Amber Bock. Ceiling fans manufacture breezes on the outdoor tiki bar, surrounded by key-lime-green walls and twin flat-screen TVs, and a mounted gator head smiles above the bar inside.