Edie Ollwerther grew up a touring dancer, with television and teaching credits to her name. When she married, she took a break—but it wasn't long before neighborhood parents knew of her history in dance. They encouraged her to begin giving lessons to their children, and Edie obliged by transforming her basement into a studio space.
That was in the 1970s. Today, Edie and her fellow instructors—some of whom are former students, now grown—act as the heads of a continually growing family of dancers. Their curriculum encompasses tap, jazz, ballet, and musical theater, as well as vocal coaching and hip-hop routines. Some of their pupils learn to shimmy as a hobby, and others aim to join the competition team, whose performances have taken them to Disney World and aboard a Carnival Cruise ship.
The Garden State Rollergirls, New Jersey's premiere all-female roller derby league, boasts a roster of over 40 skaters during their seventh season. Equipped with four-wheeled skates, the athletes crush competition during bouts of two 30-minute halves. While designated jammers—typically the fastest skaters—attempt to lap opposing rollers, blockers use a lethal combination of shoulder and hip checks.
Since opening with a Frank Sinatra performance in 1990, the stadium now known as Times Union Center has seen more than 15 million guests pass through its turnstiles. That’s only slightly smaller than the population of the Netherlands and roughly equal to the number of people worldwide who enjoy candy corn. Besides attracting such entertainment titans as the Rolling Stones, U2, Disney’s “On Ice” series, and the Harlem Globetrotters, the multifunction arena is also home to the AHL’s Albany Devils and college basketball’s Siena Saints.
Now in their 86th season, the Harlem Globetrotters continue to entertain millions of parents, children, and general basketball admirers with a trademark blend of athletic precision and razzle-dazzle showmanship. For their 2012 world tour, a rotating roster of Globetrotter favourites takes to the hardwood each game, so spectators might spot Special K Daley sharing a behind-the-back pass with newcomer Jacob “Hops” Tucker, the 2011 College Slam Dunk champion whose 50-inch vertical leap cruelly dashed his dreams of working in a ceiling-fan store. The Globetrotters might also present a study in contrasts with five-foot-two Too Tall Hall and seven-foot-eight Paul "Tiny" Sturgess, the world's tallest professional basketball player.
The current Madison Square Garden's court is the fourth venue to bear the name, and sits five stories above the bustling streets of New York. Billed as "The World's Most Famous Arena," the Garden has played host to triumphant basketball and hockey games, breathless boxing matches, and appearances by such luminaries as Elvis, Billy Joel, and the Pope. Recently finished with the second year of a three-phase renovation, the center has streamlined crowd flow, upgraded dining options, and removed the ejection systems from the lower bowl seats.