Susan Quinn. Amy Ernst. Sam Watson. To some, these are the names of great dancers, but to Deana Careccio-Gentile they are former teachers. Over her more than 25-year career, Careccio-Gentile has been a focused and accomplished dancer. It's only in the last six years that she has turned to teaching, and she came into the role with the same high industry standards with which she approached dancing professionally. Her supporting staff at DDA Dance Academy includes four former Rockettes, a former Miss North Carolina, Broadway veterans, and a finalist from the second season of So You Think You Can Dance. Together, the team guides students to perform with precise technique, yet the classroom atmosphere always feels fun and encouraging. Programs range from 30-minute dance classes for 2.5- to 5-year-olds to Zumba and Pilates for adults. Other classes include ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and tap for kids aged 6 and up, though the staff makes exceptions for younger kids who prove they can drink Gatorade out of their sippy cups without spilling.
Catering to aspiring dancers as young as 18 months, A Dance Place offers lessons in a non-competitive friendly environment to help build youngsters confidence and self-esteem. The littlest dancers can take part in mommy and me classes or creative movement sessions, which instill them with a love of physical expression. Ballet, tap, and hip-hop lessons, meanwhile, allow pupils to delve into more specialized disciplines.
Within the walls of the Farview Fire Company firehouse, the instructors of Best Foot Forward Dance Center guide children and adults through ballroom, latin, and swing-dancing moves. Students can attend private or group lessons, and can show off newly learned skills during dance socials complete with DJs and refreshments.
The legend of Brighton Asylum says that the facility was once just a chain of warehouses. It was converted into a brutal asylum, which was eventually overrun by the patients. Ever since, those nearby have said mysterious screams drift on the wind from the sprawling buildings, which were closed for good in the 1950s. The legend also suggests that the closure had something to do with members of the staff, who would disappear, never to be seen again.
The professional actors at Brighton Asylum bring them vividly into the corporeal realm, assisted by movie-quality makeup and sets. The 13,000-square-foot space is open all year round, and it takes the average person about half an hour to get through. But, the staff says, "that depends entirely on how fast you can run."
It's all about self-expression at Backstage Performing Arts Center, where instructors enkindle the passion that their students feel for dance. Students as young as 15 months or as old as 21 will find a class for their age group in the studio's expansive curriculum. Small class sizes ensure that instructors can take time to tweak each participant's technique, whether the class is jazz, tap, ballet, or tumbling.
If you're all dressed up in chainmail with no place to go, today's deal is an excuse to wear grandma's mail hood and mittens out of the house. Today's Groupon to Medieval Times gets you a sensuous four-course feast and live show, featuring horse-mounted combat, falconry, and mace-wielding professionals, for $39, a $64.75 value for adults, including tax. Call Medieval Times to schedule your outing soon, as this Groupon expires on January 31, 2010, the centennial of the Blue Knight's battle against Chaucer's time-travelling sword. An expansive stone castle bedecked in flags awaits you in Shaumburg, where you can satisfy your New Year's resolution to spend more time with the other family you've secretly been keeping in Shaumburg.