The Detroit Institute of Arts takes the “s” at the end of its name seriously. The immense Beaux Arts building on Woodward Avenue isn’t only a setting for a top-tier collection of visual works that include Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry frescoes, a van Gogh self-portrait, and ancient sculptures from Africa and Asia. It also opens the doors of its lecture halls, event spaces, and auditoriums for craft workshops, wide-ranging talks from historians and people who know how to draw really good cubes, film, and music. The latter two art forms find a home in the Detroit Film Theatre, a gilded, neoclassical auditorium that preserves a sense of coziness amid the grandeur.
The instructors at Anita's Theatre Dance & Performing Arts foster a love of dance in students aged 3 and older with a diverse schedule of 30-minute weekly lessons in a variety of styles. Fledgling dancers can dip their toes into ballet and learn to plié in age-appropriate beginner sessions, and older, more experienced hoofers can hone their skills in classes in adult tap, junior partnering, and intermediate jazz. All classes take place within one of three large dance rooms, replete with mirrors and cardboard cutouts of a scowling John Lithgow.
Finding your way in the entertainment industry is a lot like navigating a foreign country—in both cases, a plan is crucial to success. Jordan Mac Studios provides just that to those vying to become actors, recording artists, models, and dancers, nurturing talent of all kinds since 2001. They provide sundry services, including shooting music videos, conducting photo shoots, and organizing music-listening parties so musicians don’t have to blast their tunes through high-school intercoms. The studio also offers dance classes to kids, teens, and adults in a number of genres, including hip-hop, break dancing, and jazz.
With students featured in spotlight-grabbing settings such as America’s Thanksgiving Parade and Detroit Pistons halftime shows, Deborah’s Stage Door’s Deborah Agrusa and her award-winning staff hone twirls, taps, notes, and general razzmatazz for preschoolers through adults. Young toes yearning for terpsichorean know-how learn the ropes in Deborah Stage Door’s preschool rhythm class, as preschoolers romp their way through a combination of tap and ballet, learning balance and coordination along the way. More experienced dancers increase skills and decrease the chances of losing a street fight to the Sharks with a smorgasbord of ballet, jazz, tap, or hip-hop strutting courses taught in both the summer and fall. In addition to dance, Deborah Stage Door’s college of musical knowledge nurtures budding songbirds with performing-arts classes including show choir and acting.
In the 1965, Dr. Harold Furlong approached the town of Pontiac about creating a space where children could see, make, and learn about art. Nearly 50 years later, the Pontiac Creative Arts Center has stayed true to this original mission. Behind the Creative Arts Center's stone archway lies a variety of classrooms where seasoned faculty members create a relaxed environment that encourages free expression during classes in topics as diverse as ceramics, glass-blowing, and acting. Exhibition galleries feature year-round and rotating exhibits by local and national artists. In the past, these have highlighted quilts and paintings, vintage photographs, and exhibits highlighting art by African American or Latino artists. In addition to holding on-site arts education programs and special events, the non-profit organization also sends its instructors to local schools to teach classes and give performances.