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, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
At Valley Forge Dance students learn dance techniques and skills during classes and workshops—but they'll also benefit from the extensive dance experience of owner Maria Jacobs. A lifelong dancer, Jacobs has performed in The Nutcracker more than 60 times and studied dance in London, Denmark, and Russia. At her interactive school, she leads fledgling ballerinas, tap dancers, and non-destructive break dancers through dynamic classes, helping them build confidence, strength, and agility.
The official school of Ballet 180, Studio 180 offers summer camps and classes to students of all ages, including those as young as two. Instructors aim to provide personalized attention, emphasizing individual growth. In addition to dance classes that range from hip hop to jazz to ballet, Studio 180 also offers yoga courses led by certified teachers.
Having blossomed into a professional theater company, Theatre Horizon provides opportunities to aspiring directors, actors, producers, and designers during a schedule of year-round productions, including seasonal shows that celebrate the spirit of the holidays. This December, the company provides an escape from blustery winds and pickpocketing snowmen with Voices of Christmas, which spotlights the works of song-crafting legends such as John Lennon, Patty Griffin, Ingrid Michaelson, and others. During each performance, some of Philadelphia's top talents assemble inside the intimate theater to tickle ears with musical nostalgia more comforting than a hug from a giant squid. As an added bonus, the December 11 show includes a post-performance Q & A session, affording guests the chance to stay and chat with the cast and creative team.
Deep within the Granite Run Mall, a 20-foot-long relative of the stegosaurus battles its nemesis, the monolophosaurus, while onlookers stand back, aghast and enthralled. What sounds like a deleted scene from Jurassic Park⎯a film series that proprietor "Dino" Don Lessem advised using his dino expertise⎯is really one of many sights to behold at the 6,500-square-foot Dino Don's Dinosaurium. Don harnesses his extensive expertise, which includes more than 50 books written on dinosaurs and natural history, to craft the family-friendly museum, which educates visitors through engaging, interactive exhibits. For his scholarly endeavors and incessant stalk-chewing habit, he even has an Argentine plant eater⎯the Lessemsaurus⎯named after him. Museumgoers can excavate fossils from the dig pit, aim a nerf gun at Jurassic Park dinosaurs in the shooting gallery, or learn reasons for dino extinction by spinning the Wheel of Dinosaur Misfortune. Students and teachers can continue making dino discoveries by touching real fossils, meeting visiting paleontologists, and learning how to roar dinner orders. Unlike the extinct species that the museum celebrates, Don assured CBS Philly that Dino Don's Dinosaurium will supply guests with new experiences by changing exhibits every three months.
Najia has inspired audiences with her sensual Middle Eastern dance in Egypt and Jordan, as well as in restaurants, nightclubs, and Pearl Jam?s preshow. Building her diverse dancing resum?, she pilgrimages to the Middle East for two or three months each year to continue researching dances, garner inspiration for her Philadelphia Bellydance company, and make her passport more colorful. She calls upon all of her twirling know-how to lead series of four weekly classes, in which students learn to shimmy, hip drop, and send veils fluttering through the air or weave together basic moves for complex choreography. On the fifth week after class sessions, students meet for a confidence-inspiring Goddess Night that awakens inner beauty through dance workshops, vegan treats, and performances as guests mingle bedecked in veils, gems, and outer adornment.