In the 1920s, Thomas Lamb was the man to see if you were planning to build a theater. The designer of everything from the Orpheum in Boston to Madison Square Garden in New York, his designs fanned the flames of vaudeville and inspired so much admiration in silent-film stars that they almost spoke. So when theater impresario Sylvester Z. Poli decided to built his Palace Theater, he turned to the best. Lamb designed the Palace in a Second Renaissance Revival style, mixing Greek, Roman, Arabic, and Federal motifs into the grand lobby and domed auditorium. With such a regal foundation, Poli couldn't keep his wallet closed when decorating, and spent $1 million dressing the Theater for a king. And so well outfitted, the Theater had a good run, operating with force until 1987. Then the lights on the marquee went out, staying dark for the next 18 years. But with such undeniable beauty, it couldn't stay dark forever. A three-year, $30 million restoration and expansion brought the Palace into the 21st century, turning it into a 90,000-square-foot historical landmark. Yet now, as in the 1920s, the Theater's mission remains the same: to serve as an artistic, cultural, educational, and economic catalyst for the community.
The Connecticut Dance Conservatory teaches students three key skills to make them experts of dance: technique, individuality, and artistry. Students of all ages can master these skills in a variety of styles including ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop and more. Their classical ballet classes encourage students to develop graceful arm and leg movements, while theater-jazz classes get dancers ready for Broadway?quality performances. Hip-hop sessions, meanwhile, help students express themselves in a modern style inspired by music-video performances. At the end of the year, students can perform their new moves in an annual recital for friends and family.
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing with the Stars' multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 600 calories with each go-round.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Reviewed positively by the New York Times and hailed as "outstandingly well-performed" by the Wall Street Journal during its 13-year run, the Hartford Stage's production of A Christmas Carol packs strong acting, period costumes, and spooky special effects to the Dickens holiday tale. Watch chain-rattling ghosts and a winsome little boy try to melt the icy heart of Ebenezer Scrooge during this classic Hartford Stage production, which has been seen by more than a quarter million people since 1998. Holiday revelers can buy tickets for up to three friends over the age of 5 for a pre-New Year's Eve night out, or bring the whole family as a post-Christmas gift that should atone for keeping eight disoriented reindeer in the RV.
In every production, TheaterWorks aims to create a safe space for voices of all kinds in the midst of bustling downtown Hartford. Banners outside its newly restored Pearl Street home base playfully symbolize this mission with a lion bearing a live mouse within its jaws as tenderly as a child carrying a frog that’s probably magic. The company specializes in high-stakes dramas with social implications from playwrights such as Moises Kaufman, Richard Greenberg, and David Mamet.