In 1947, on New York City's Park Avenue, the first Fred Astaire Dance Studio—cofounded by the eponymous toe tapper himself—opened its doors to the public. More than six decades later, now boasting schools across North America, the dancing institution still adheres to the legendary Mr. Astaire's curriculum and instruction techniques.
Specializing in social ballroom and competitive dances, the schools' current consortium of professional instructors shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through dance lessons that span from classic ballroom and foxtrot romps to the modern steps of salsa, swing, or mambo. In addition to classes, the studio hosts social practice parties where up to 40 students hone newly acquired rug-cutting capabilities. As foot-charming music blares from the speakers, instructors work to cultivate a lively social setting where each guest can dance, mingle, and surgically correct their second left foot without fear of embarrassment.
Snap Fitness, bustling with cardio and strength-training gear, throws open the doors to its facilities 24/7. Before exercisers put sneakers to treadmills or lift their first weights, staff meet with them to talk about their fitness goals before suggesting personalized fitness plans based on clients' strength, cardio condition, and bionic-limb manufacturers. The gym keeps members motivated with regular check-in calls and demystifies healthful eating with custom online meal plans designed by nutritionists. Staff also forestall exercise-routine boredom by working individually with clients on a routine basis.
Although it has its origins in the neon-soaked days of the 1980s, laser tag has evolved into a grittier, more tactical incarnation. At Laser Tag Pro Milwaukee, players don't wield typical toy weapons; instead, they're equipped with realistic, custom-built arms, such as a shotgun, sniper, machine gun, or burst rifle. Once armed, they venture into tactical missions that boast unique games modes, including Infection, Domination, and VIP.
Led by CrossFit Level 1 certified trainers Frank Colavita and Erin Stewart, CrossFit classes combine weightlifting, gymnastics and sprinting into a strength-and-conditioning program that hones in on endurance and agility. Participants in 15–20 person On Ramp classes receive personal coaching as they work up to training shape by learning basic core lifts and maneuvers such as deadlifting weights off the ground and heaving stalling airplanes off crowded runways. After two weeks, On Ramp graduates confront more of CrossFit's 4400-square-foot gym through workout-of-the-day courses, which build upon On Ramp exercises with gymnastics and specialized moves. Pull-ups, pushups, and sit-ups sculpt upper halves, jump ropes course cardiovascular exercise through entire bodies, and Turkish get-ups strengthen shoulders quicker than scooping gravy with a fez.
Milwaukee’s only women’s tackle-football team, the Wisconsin Dragons supply hard-hitting action for sports fans of all ages. The team faces a quartet of worthy opponents in four home games this season, bringing precise passes, forceful tackles, and footwork fancier than that of Fred Astaire's pet peacock. The included Dragons bandana keeps ardent fans stylishly supportive and doubles as a convenient wipe for excitement-generated sweat droplets.
Every year, a crew of landscapers draws on a palate of bricks, wood, and water, as well as foliage and flowers, to fashion sweeping terraces and murmuring aquatic features. This year, in its 88th iteration, The Realtors Home & Garden Show explores the hours of the day through designs focused on facilitating morning meditation, afternoon cookouts, and evening film screenings. One installation rises from the work of international chalk artist Julie Kirk Purcell, who teases the eye with mural of a chalk garden that seems to leap in three dimensions from the floor of the convention hall.
Chatter drifts to the model patios and gardens from more than 250 exhibitors and vendors, who showcase home-improvement and landscaping techniques alongside designers of windows, cabinetry, fences, and saunas. A culinary area stands out from the rows of home wares with daily demonstrations from five chefs, including some nominated for James Beard awards. The sessions focus on topics including plating, raw food, and French dishes, all using organic ingredients from local farms. Nearby, a market bustles with guests toting potting supplies, gardening tools, and makeup kits for vain scarecrows. Outdoor furniture begs to perch on patios alongside lawn ornamentations that hint at European and Asian art traditions or highlight work by local artisans.