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.
Ethnic Dance Expressions teaches students how to shake and shimmy their hips, imitating belly-dance styles that have enraptured the Middle East for centuries. The school's classes progress from moves for beginners to more advanced techniques with veils and improvisation. Solo coaching caters to students who want to perform or compete, and costume-sewing workshops help fill out performances with sparkling and jangling outfits.
Located on Jacksonville’s south side, The Comedy Zone has been hosting some of the nation’s finest standup comedians for decades. Tucked away inside the Ramada Conference Center and Hotel, the Comedy Zone is a quaint, dim, charming nightclub venue filled with cozy tables and chairs. The thick carpet underfoot cushions the space further and keeps noisy shoes and squeaky chairs to a minimum. The small, gleaming wood stage is back-dropped by a large brick wall, reminiscent of so many other famous comedy clubs. Over the years, the stage has played host to a variety of national touring comedians and lots of local Florida talent. A full bar and a variety of burgers, sandwiches and appetizers are available to order, and can count toward the room’s industry-standard one drink or item minimum. Of course, that means comedy fans must be at least 21 years of age to enter the Zone.
Professional belly dancers bring the ancient art form to the masses in Florida. Belly dancing uses natural body movements to create a low-impact, weight-bearing exercise that tones muscles, improves flexibility, and relieves stress. Class options are geared toward beginners through experts, and use props such as veils and finger cymbals.
Boasting more than 85 years of combined dance experience, Dance Elite Dance Club's friendly instructors fine-tune students' footwork with traditional ballroom, Latin, and swing dance styles across a spacious, hardwood floor. Thirty-minute private lessons give pupils one-on-one time with danceficiandos to polish techniques and learn any style of dance the studio offers. During 60-minute group classes, students can take a spin through the exposed-brick enclosed space, pairing up with a partner of any level to learn the graceful glides of the rumba, the quick twirls of a two-step, or how to win a staring contest during close tango embraces. Further fostering social encounters, the practice party invites Dance Elite students to boogie down for 90 minutes while brushing up on proper toe points and making new fleet-footed friends. Check the calendar for current class times and click here to see Dance Elite’s own shaking to the beat.
The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1949, and currently plays at the 1,800 seat Robert E. Jacoby Symphony Hall in the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts downtown. Over the years, the orchestra has hosted renowned artists such as Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Luciano Pavarotti. It’s currently led by Music Director and Principal Conductor Fabio Mechetti, who has been in the position since 1999. He will be stepping down in May, but not until helming productions of The Marriage of Figaro and Verdi’s Requiem in the spring. The Jacksonville Symphony also partners with Duval County and three other public school systems to provide some 84,000 children the opportunity to both listen to and participate in youth-oriented symphony events. The orchestra’s charitable works, world-class facility and enduring star power have helped keep Jacksonville culture on the map for decades.