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 cha-cha. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and foxtrot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba.
Originally opened in 1927, the Genesee Theatre slowly deteriorated over the course of the century until its closing in 1989. But starting in 2001, a $23 million cash infusion from the city allowed 120 volunteers to restore the theater to its Gilded Age splendor. Its elegant trappings include authentic wall fabrics, an exact replica of the original marquee, and a 2,200-pound chandelier that gently spotlights the grand lobby and every audience member passing underneath to show how everyone is a star if you really think about it.
The Springfield Armor thrills hometown hoops fans by laying siege to Developmental League opponents with a fully loaded roster of potential NBA stars. Led by head coach Bob MacKinnon Jr., the Armor tips off a fresh season against conference rival Maine Red Claws, returning up to six players from last year's roster. Slam-dunk champion LD Williams dazzles crowds by sinking alley-oops and opposing mascots through the hoop, and points-machine JamesOn Curry, the franchise's all-time leading scorer, seeks to build on 2010's strong performance. As the D-League affiliate of the New Jersey Nets, the Armor grants b-ball enthusiasts the chance to watch future NBA players before they pick-and-roll into the national spotlight or sign million-dollar contracts to join an experimental league inside the heads of Mount Rushmore. Although not included with today's Groupon, MassMutual Center surrounds guests with a variety of attractions, including the Center Grille Restaurant, Breakaway Bar, and a gift shop.
Harlem Globetrotters Playing Three-on-Five
Since forming in the 1920s, the Harlem Globetrotters have continued to entertain millions of parents, children, and general basketball admirers with a trademark blend of athletic precision and razzle-dazzle showmanship. For the team's 2014 tour, a rotating [roster](http://gr.pn/PHdb6w) of Globetrotter favorites?including three female players?takes to the hardwood each game. Spectators might spot veteran guard [TNT](http://gr.pn/rOe0P4) sharing a behind-the-back pass with dunker [Quake](http://gr.pn/QTIGVh), whose high jump once cleared 7 feet, cruelly dashing his dreams of working in a ceiling-fan store. The Globetrotters might also present a study in contrasts with 5-foot-2 [Too Tall](http://gr.pn/PHdmPh) and 7-foot-4 [Stretch](http://gr.pn/1dYrbUt), the team?s tallest member. During each Globetrotters game, youngsters laugh along and witness the jovial jocks performing classic routines of unconventional passing and sudden transmutations of water into confetti. To infuse their visits with an extra shot of unpredictability, the Globetrotters also let fans in each city vote on special rules for every game; past rules have included the use of a four-point shot and the installation of a penalty box. Over the years, similar antics have followed the Globetrotters around the world, including to 122 countries and territories and all six continents on which basketballs grow naturally. The Globetrotters? extensive travels haven?t gone unnoticed: they?re one of the few teams to earn a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as ambassadors of the sport.
Each summer, as stars glitter in the sky, Hampshire Shakespeare Company illuminates the crowd below with open-air renditions of the Bard's greatest hits. As showgoers lounge on their blankets, chairs, or elephants, the company stages interpretations of Shakespeare's plays that prize intelligibility and entertainment. In addition to its main-stage shows, the Hampshire Shakespeare Company also puts on a youth theater production each year to give youngsters a taste of the stage, and buoys playwrights from throughout the Valley with workshops and readings.