Ballroom Factory Dance Studio's brigade of experienced instructors takes students with two left feet and whips them into dancing dynamos. Light trippers of all ages and skill levels learn the ins and outs of dance styles that range from ballroom basics and American waltz to international tango and advanced hokey pokey. Private or group classes twirl gracefully through an airy studio space, characterized by sleek wood floors and walls lined with mirrors. The studio's expertise also extends to voice and piano lessons for both children and adults in which pupils master scales, harmonies, and the ability to read music.
Since 1984, Rock-N-Roll University has equipped musicians with the equipment, accessories, and skills to pursue their ambitions in songsmithing. Glistening guitars in all shapes and colors hang from the walls in rows, surrounded by equipment such as amps, practice books, and freeze-dried roadies. The shop also retails and rents instruments for orchestras and bands as well as the various parts and salves to keep them in working order. Rock-N-Roll University also has a varied curriculum for students of music. There are both private and group classes, where you can learn with traditional lessons, jam sessions, and band programs that culminate in live concerts.
At Encore Dance Academy, tiny feet pirouette and leap across a safety-sprung wood floor during a classic ballet class. That’s just one of the ways the instructors get bodies moving in dance classes for wee ones as young as 6 months to adults. The roster includes jazz, tap, hip-hop, and musical-theater dance forms, led by experienced instructors certified in CPR and first aid. They create an energetic and friendly atmosphere in which dancers of all ages can feel free to express themselves through movement. To carve out toned physiques, adults can groove to the Latin beats of Zumba, which includes free babysitting so parents can bust a move without duct-taping their child to their chest.
The dance center also hosts birthday parties and camps, come summertime, that encourage kids up to age 8 to step into the rolls of divas and rock stars while learning a dance step or two.
A crimson curtain rises to unveil the operas, nationally touring musicals, children's shows, and films that pass under the historic movie palace's gilded ceiling. Originally built in 1926 as a home for vaudeville performances and motion pictures, the grand venue has survived more than eight decades with the help of The Garde Arts Center, Inc., a nonprofit organization that formed in 1985 to both preserve the building and pursue its mission "to engage, enrich, entertain, and inspire the region of Greater New London." Today, the center stages a slew of performances and events that keep guests on the edges of all 1,472 seats.