Hartford Symphony Orchestra's St. Patrick's Day Celebration regales ears with classic Celtic tunes commemorating the feast of Ireland's patron saint. Visiting from his usual perch at the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, conductor Gerald Steichen leads an army of instruments as it elevates the shimmering tenor of veteran singer Robert White, who has been nourishing auditory synapses since his radio debut in 1948. White fills listeners with Irish pride until they burst with clover leaves by belting out such distinctly Hibernian tunes as "Danny Boy," a slow, anthemic composition that resonates in the hearts of Irish emigrants. Renowned Irish fiddler Jeanne Freeman also fuels high-octane jigs with skills gleaned from County Donegal native P.V. O'Donnell.
Floor-to-ceiling mirrors reflect 2,700 square feet of glossy, hardwood floors ringing with the staccato of dancing high heels. Brass poles sprout from the floor, supporting whirling women as they learn sensual routines and build upper-body strength by suspending themselves skyward.
Pole Control Studios' owner, a seasoned performer with a BA in sports science, designs programs that scale up in difficulty while centering around fitness. The studio inducts exercisers in the flirtatious art with an introductory class, where each dancer learns correct posture, transition work, and how to use high heels to tap out Morse code. From there, guests foray into more than 75 types of empowering fitness classes that build on the basics, imparting techniques for climbing, controlled spins, or inversions. Pole Fit and Sensual Stretch supplement pole-dancing prowess with intense cardio, squats, lunges, and body-elongating posework.
An octopus graphic greets visitors at the doorway of Downtown Yoga Studios. It's an appropriate image: the mollusk holds a meditative quality as its eight arms flow outward with a strong yet relaxed energy. Downtown's instructors help guests attain a similar state of serenity and fitness with multiple styles and levels of yoga, such as Go with the Flow, Relax and Renew, and Power Yoga. They also lead fitness classes that include cycling, boxing, and chicken chasing.
Co-founders Alana La Fleur and Vanessa Jennings put the mission of VAz Media right in the name: V stands for "Vanessa," A for "Alana," and Z represents "everything for women, from A to Z." The duo established their event-planning company to give women a place to relax and socialize in a supportive environment, free of stress or the incessant pandering for their votes from mayoral candidates. La Fleur and Jennings also partner each event with a charity, raising funds for organizations such as the Connecticut chapter of the National MS Society and CT Women’s Education and Legal Fund.
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.
A former cubicle dweller, studio director Natasha Roggi knew she needed something that could rejuvenate her tired mind and stiff limbs. Though she emerged from her first Bikram class feeling sweaty and somewhat shell shocked, she began to feel her body grow stronger and her mind become sharper with each subsequent class. Before long, she found herself headed to Palm Desert, California to become certified through Bikram Choudhury's nine-week program and forge a new, healthier path through life. Today, she shares her downtown studio with a staff of other instructors, all of whom stretched and persevered through Bikram's rigorous teacher-training process. While the classroom's stifling temperatures may sound too intense for some students, the practice caters to guests of all experience levels, as the heat helps even the stiffest muscles and arthritic snowmen melt into the deep, detoxifying stretches. To keep things comfortable, Natasha and her staff have bottled water and electrolyte drinks available for sale, and have equipped the studio with spa-like changing rooms, complete with men's and women's showers and comfortable beauty vanities.