Boasting more than 85 years of combined dance experience, Dance Elite Dance Club's friendly instructors fine-tune students' footwork with traditional ballroom, Latin, and swing dance styles across a spacious, hardwood floor. Thirty-minute private lessons give pupils one-on-one time with danceficiandos to polish techniques and learn any style of dance the studio offers. During 60-minute group classes, students can take a spin through the exposed-brick enclosed space, pairing up with a partner of any level to learn the graceful glides of the rumba, the quick twirls of a two-step, or how to win a staring contest during close tango embraces. Further fostering social encounters, the practice party invites Dance Elite students to boogie down for 90 minutes while brushing up on proper toe points and making new fleet-footed friends. Check the calendar for current class times and click here to see Dance Elite’s own shaking to the beat.
Jackrabbits, one of Jacksonville’s primary downtown live music venues, is an intimate home for local and national bands like The Hives, Slightly Stoopid, Incubus and many others. The newly renovated bar area serves beer and wine only – though the selection, while focused, features many otherwise hard-to-find craft brews. Though this venue can get quite crowded depending on the act, tickets are reasonably priced and guests can always get an up close and personal experience, thanks to the limited floor space. The nondescript entrance can be hard to spot, as it’s little more than a gray door with the name Jack Rabbits scrawled across. The décor is typical dive bar, dark and grayish with sturdy seating, while most of the focus is on the stage, where lighting and sound are top-notch.
The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1949, and currently plays at the 1,800 seat Robert E. Jacoby Symphony Hall in the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts downtown. Over the years, the orchestra has hosted renowned artists such as Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Luciano Pavarotti. It’s currently led by Music Director and Principal Conductor Fabio Mechetti, who has been in the position since 1999. He will be stepping down in May, but not until helming productions of The Marriage of Figaro and Verdi’s Requiem in the spring. The Jacksonville Symphony also partners with Duval County and three other public school systems to provide some 84,000 children the opportunity to both listen to and participate in youth-oriented symphony events. The orchestra’s charitable works, world-class facility and enduring star power have helped keep Jacksonville culture on the map for decades.
Six days a week you can find owner and chef Sam Hassan doing the same thing he’s done since 1976: crafting homemade italian pastas, pizzas, and sandwiches within Casa Dora’s homey kitchen. Sam’s lifelong dedication to edible hospitality shines through during lunch and dinner, filling the dining room’s wooden tables with cheese-stuffed calzones, hand-tossed pizzas, and well-sauced pastas that pair well with refreshing sips of wine or low-calorie gulps of air.
Located on Jacksonville’s south side, The Comedy Zone has been hosting some of the nation’s finest standup comedians for decades. Tucked away inside the Ramada Conference Center and Hotel, the Comedy Zone is a quaint, dim, charming nightclub venue filled with cozy tables and chairs. The thick carpet underfoot cushions the space further and keeps noisy shoes and squeaky chairs to a minimum. The small, gleaming wood stage is back-dropped by a large brick wall, reminiscent of so many other famous comedy clubs. Over the years, the stage has played host to a variety of national touring comedians and lots of local Florida talent. A full bar and a variety of burgers, sandwiches and appetizers are available to order, and can count toward the room’s industry-standard one drink or item minimum. Of course, that means comedy fans must be at least 21 years of age to enter the Zone.
Kaluby's Dance Club takes the same simple approach to teaching that the club used when it opened in 1983. Before playing a note, the instructors take the time to break down popular dances into their most basic patterns. This way, when the music starts, dancers of all skill levels are able to master the steps quickly so that they can focus on having fun so instead of whose toes they're stepping on. The studio shares their secrets in group and private lessons, both taught in a ballroom where members are also welcome to practice during any open studio hours. In children's classes, kids practice basic dance moves while also making new friends, exercising, and learning how to behave at charity galas. During club dance parties, members get the chance to show off their new dance skills in special themed events or dressy-casual gatherings.