Mary Lee's encouraging pop-and-lock experts instill the passion of rhythm and dance in students ages 5 to adult through weekly hip-hop classes. Each 45-minute lesson begins with warm-up exercises that stretch out limbs to prevent participants from pulling muscles. Dancing protégés then take to the floor and glean tips on performing modern hip-hop maneuvers such as the glide, the harlem shake, and the properly grounded electric slide. Students must come appropriately dressed in clean sneakers—no street shoes—and comfortable dance clothes devoid of zippers and buckles. Class times vary depending on the dancer's age, so check Mary Lee's class schedule to find the most convenient class.
Atlas Improv Company shows, which rely on audience participation and judging, draw everybody in the house into a night of innovative, unpredictable theater. Launched six years ago when the performers at Comedysportz Madison broke off to form a new company, Atlas is dedicated to exploring the boundaries of improv and then colonizing everything beyond those boundaries. The group's approach emphasizes storytelling over traditional improv rules and time limits, resulting in richer narratives, deeper character development, and a unique blend of traditional theater and modern improv, like a pizza topped with iPhones.
When it originally opened in 1929, the Raue Center For The Arts was dubbed "El Tovar," though no one knew what that meant?it was jut a term overheard by one of the venue's founders on a trip to the west coast. Regardless of its meaning (or lack of one), the name seemed to accurately define the theater's elegance, from the star-filled sky of its ceiling to the facades of Spanish buildings lining its walls.
El Tovar drifted into deterioration over the years, undergoing several different monikers as it switched from owner to owner. Luckily, a generous bequest from Crystal Lake resident Lucile Raue led to a much-needed restoration. A two-year renovation left the theater looking as glamorous as it did when it was El Tovar?seats were reupholstered, and every android usher received an oil change.
For the students of To The Pointe Performing Arts, no dance step is just a dance step. Because the school follows a holistic approach to learning dance, every step comes with a bounty of knowledge—its place in the style, its cultural origin, the muscle movements it requires, and the discipline required to master it. Whether they're 6-year-olds encountering their first tap shoes or high-school students refining their skills in Russian ballet technique, the team of experienced dance instructors make it their business to forge not only great dancers but educated citizens of the world. In addition to youth classes, the studio also offers DanceFit and tap classes for adult students.
In 1947, on New York City's Park Avenue, the first Fred Astaire Dance Studio—cofounded by the eponymous toe tapper himself—opened its doors to the public. More than six decades later, now boasting schools across North America, the dancing institution still adheres to the legendary Mr. Astaire's curriculum and instruction techniques.
Specializing in social ballroom and competitive dances, the schools' current consortium of professional instructors shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through dance lessons that span from classic ballroom and foxtrot romps to the modern steps of salsa, swing, or mambo. In addition to classes, the studio hosts social practice parties where up to 40 students hone newly acquired rug-cutting capabilities. As foot-charming music blares from the speakers, instructors work to cultivate a lively social setting where each guest can dance, mingle, and surgically correct their second left foot without fear of embarrassment.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction and demonstrations.