At Lauridsen Ballet Centre, the well-timed tinkling of piano keys accompanies each leap and plié. Live musical accompaniment is just one of the ways in which the school's professional instructors, led by artistic director Diane Lauridsen, preserve the classical traditions of their art. They maintain a careful balance between encouraging attitudes and rigorous lessons, cultivating physical poise at the same time as mental focus.
Classes for ages three and up accommodate all skill levels, from beginner to pre-professional, and performances through the non-profit South Bay Ballet company showcase students' skills. Though they consider much of their choreography timeless, the staff does not neglect advances in the science of dance—they incorporate current discoveries in the fields of anatomy and movement to enhance both children's and adult classes. Their summer camp intensive also helps attendees to achieve new levels of grace and balance.
Experienced trapeze artist Ray Pierce began his circus training on the tightrope in 1976. More than 30 years later, he and his highly trained staff at his company, Hollywood Aerial Arts, devote their time to every aspect of the art form, from choreographing their own aerial acts to designing custom rigs to teaching the next generation of artists how to maneuver through the air. They reference their collective backgrounds in the circus, Pilates, stunt work, and dance to teach group workshops inside their 10,000 square-foot facility. All of the classes supply students with safely lines and a spotting belt, and the majority of the classes focus on a specific apparatus. These include the aerial bungee, aerial hammock, spanish web, tightrope, tissu, or flying trapeze, which is performed on the facility's 32-foot-high outdoor trapeze equipped with a safety system and animatronic clown cheerleaders.
The Dinner Detective eschews campy costumes and plots for an exciting evening of food-accompanied mystery and paranoia, where actors hide among the diners, playing innocent and making everyone a potential suspect. To solve the crime, guests freely interrogate one another, chivvying out clues about the murderer and determining who has a bloodthirsty look in their eyes. Between dramatic deaths and simulated police involvement, guests dig into three-course meals, washed down with bottomless iced tea, coffee, and drinks from the cash bar. The diner who comes closest to solving the mystery through their snooping goes home with a prize basket to show off to their friends or split with the murderer as per their shadowy conspiracy. Prop guns and gunshot sound effects may be used during the performance.
Although it’s named after a screen legend and housed in a restored movie house, the Kirk Douglas Theatre is all about the stage. The 317-seat venue hosts intimate showings of plays and musicals selected by artistic director Michael Ritchie, who strives to feature productions scribed by local playwrights.
Designed to resemble a turn-of-the-century town square, the four-day Broadway in the Park festival showcases hit musicals amid Victorian-era popcorn lights and meandering barbershop quartets. A preshow showcases local artistic talent before the full-scale choreography and marching-band finale of The Music Man delights guests with family-friendly tales woven through beautifully belted tunes. Hear the musical's classic tunes, including "Till There Was You," "Wells Fargo Wagon," and "Seventy-Six Trombones," sung by a sizable ensemble with full-scale choreography. Spectators should bring lounge chairs, blankets, or modular living-room sets from home to sit on while feasting on personal picnic sets or purchased snacks. Because ushers arrange guests depending on what type of seating arrangements they bring, families should plan to coordinate blanket-fort dwellings in order to be seated together and not lose grandpa in the section of those sitting on their old washing machines.