At Lauridsen Ballet Centre, the well-timed tinkling of piano keys accompanies each leap and plié. Live musical accompaniment is just one of the ways in which the school's professional instructors, led by artistic director Diane Lauridsen, preserve the classical traditions of their art. They maintain a careful balance between encouraging attitudes and rigorous lessons, cultivating physical poise at the same time as mental focus.
Classes for ages three and up accommodate all skill levels, from beginner to pre-professional, and performances through the non-profit South Bay Ballet company showcase students' skills. Though they consider much of their choreography timeless, the staff does not neglect advances in the science of dance—they incorporate current discoveries in the fields of anatomy and movement to enhance both children's and adult classes. Their summer camp intensive also helps attendees to achieve new levels of grace and balance.
A Broadway-style extravaganza set aboard a replicated 18th-century Spanish galleon, Pirate's Dinner Adventure is one of the only theater performances to require a 250,000-gallon water tank outside of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Manatees. While the dastardly Captain Sebastian the Black lords over his feasting crew of rapscallions, guests get to dine from the deck of one of the six ships surrounding the galleon—and cheer on the plucky pirate representing their vessel in the show. What unfolds is a swashbuckling spectacle of stunts, songs, magic, and acrobatics punctuated with as many fired cannons as belly laughs. Pirates dangle precariously from silk off the 40-foot mast. Treasure chests overflow with booty. Heroes rise from the ranks—and select members of the audience might even be invited by Captain Sebastian to come aboard the stage.
If you're all dressed up in chainmail with no place to go, today's deal is an excuse to wear grandma's mail hood and mittens out of the house. Today's Groupon to Medieval Times gets you a sensuous four-course feast and live show, featuring horse-mounted combat, falconry, and mace-wielding professionals, for $39, a $64.75 value for adults, including tax. Call Medieval Times to schedule your outing soon, as this Groupon expires on January 31, 2010, the centennial of the Blue Knight's battle against Chaucer's time-travelling sword. An expansive stone castle bedecked in flags awaits you in Shaumburg, where you can satisfy your New Year's resolution to spend more time with the other family you've secretly been keeping in Shaumburg.
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. 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.
Since its maiden voyage in 1936, The Queen Mary has cultivated a colorful history by transporting iconic figures from Winston Churchill to Fred Astaire across the ocean blue, as well as serving as troop transport in a world war. Today, passengers board the famous ocean liner to tour historical and haunted areas amidships or stay overnight in an onboard hotel. Visitors rub elbows at seasonal soirees and dive into historical exhibits, fueling up at restaurants, bars, and cafés for a literal taste of The Queen Mary's brand of luxury.
Under the tutelage of melodious maestro Andreas Mitisek, the Long Beach Opera's toughened tunesmiths bang out praiseworthy performances of works by an international array of composers. The opera's stage-bound songbirds tackle questions of morality, power, and faith during their performance of Philip Glass's Akhnaten, the third in the composer's Portrait Trilogy. Making its West Coast debut, Akhnaten follows the rise and fall of the titular pharaoh, a leader known for bringing monotheism to Egypt and owning an expansive collection of ceramic kittens. True to Glass's reputation as an avant-garde artist, Akhnaten features vocal performances in historically accurate languages—including Egyptian, Akkadian, Hebrew, and Klingon—translated into eye-catching English supertitles projected for instant understanding. The cast is led by a covey of Long Beach Opera rookies, including international songsters such as Jochen Kowalski, Oxana Senina, and Ralph Cato.