The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, 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.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
SCREENS Restaurant & Sports Lounge captivates casual moviegoers and cinephiles alike with its array of daily scheduled films and private group screenings in three high-definition theaters. In addition to a variety of cult and foreign flicks, towering high-definition screens broadcast the latest NFL Sunday Ticket games, X-Box and Playstation 3 tournaments, and national flossing championships to viewers nestled in comfy lounge chairs. Servers bustle from room to room, placing the menu's selection of gourmet pizzas, pasta dinners, and burgers on tables flanked by portraits of iconic Hollywood stars.
The theater at The Screening Room Cinema Cafe bears more of a resemblance to an intimate club than a multiplex, seating its guests at small tables so they can sip on beer and wine during films. The floor-level screen flashes with arthouse cinema, including new indie flicks and cult favorites, as well as classics from cinematic giants such as Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg. In addition to its usual screenings, the café also hosts poetry nights, film festivals, and high-definition broadcasts of sports games recorded by a mascot with a giant camera for a head.
Though he was a successful touring comedian, opening for acts such as Tim Allen and Jim Carrey while headlining at nationally known venues and Las Vegas shows for 50 weeks a year, Rob Lederman felt something was missing. When The Pat Sajak Show was cancelled the day he was slated to appear as the guest comedian, Lederman took it as a sign and returned to his native Buffalo to open his own club. Drawing on his experiences in comedy rooms and slipping on banana peels around the nation, he created the Comix Café, which drew in top talent and garnered a mention in USA Today as one of the top standup spots in the country. Now in its second iteration, his club, Rob's Comedy Playhouse, hosts weekly evenings in which top-flight comedians tickle ribs like mischievous barbecue cooks.
A 1968 photograph of Joel Dombrowski shows him as a small boy, peering over a guardrail at Niagara Falls. Awestruck by the crashing waters, he looks as if he's trying to taste the mist. Exciting that sense of wonder in others would later become his profession. Today, Joel escorts first-timers through Niagara Falls State Park as a popular tour guide. He draws upon his training in journalism, experience as a standup comedian, and a lifetime obsession with history to share the story of the park with wit and elegance. For more than 10 years, his approach⎯merging stray historical facts with compelling anecdotes and comical accounts of waterfall lore⎯has made experiencing the Niagara landscape doubly memorable for his tour companions.