An endless amount of stories flicker across the screen at these cinemas, which offer stadium seating and digital sound. The theater plays films chosen from Hollywood’s newest releases, featuring stars just plucked from the vines where they grow in the California hills. Between whispered critiques of each preview, audience members can wash down fluffy kernels of popcorn with soda from the concession stand. The theater also opens its doors for birthday parties and large private screenings for up to 300 guests.
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.
Mary Hencher and her team of certified instructors lead Dance Trance classes that set high-energy dance moves to upbeat music. Because the classes emphasize the energy of the music, instructors don’t shout out commands; instead, they use a series of hand gestures and intuitive, easy-to-follow dance moves to guide students through the classes.
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.