It's a mild summer evening. As the reception hall buzzes with the relaxed camaraderie of post-wedding festivities, notes from a familiar song ring out above the crowd. The lights drop, and things get quiet. From a behind the dais, the bride and groom move slowly towards the center of the dance floor. Lit now by a single spotlight, they embrace, moving slowly, gracefully in time to the music that means the most to them. There will be more dances tonight, between fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, old friends and new, but the first dance rules them all. The instructors at Wild Child Dance Studio understand the affection and symbolism behind this memorable moment. That's why they devote much of their professional time preparing couples to skillfully glide through their first dances as man and wife. Before or after the big day, pairs can also hone their ballroom chops during group seminars, which unlock the secrets of timeless dance styles including the waltz, foxtrot, samba, and swing.
In addition to their wedding and ballroom classes, instructors train the next generation of Astaires with lessons for kids and teens. Youths can learn the secrets of beginning jazz moves, hip-hop choreography, and ballet stretches, or engage in old-timey elegance with tap lessons. Instructors also fill the schedule with adult versions of many of these classes, which join other grown-up lessons that cover belly dancing, nightclub essentials, and flirty, ladies-only chair dance routines that bolster confidence with sultry moves.
The Garden State Rollergirls, New Jersey's premiere all-female roller derby league, boasts a roster of over 40 skaters during their seventh season. Equipped with four-wheeled skates, the athletes crush competition during bouts of two 30-minute halves. While designated jammers—typically the fastest skaters—attempt to lap opposing rollers, blockers use a lethal combination of shoulder and hip checks.
Lincoln Cinemas's five screens host a range of Hollywood hits, including popular blockbusters as well as 3-D features. The movie house also keeps the concession bar stocked with fresh popcorn and other light bites such as hot dogs and nachos, all of which can be washed down with soda, coffee, or laughter.
The legend of Brighton Asylum says that the facility was once just a chain of warehouses. It was converted into a brutal asylum, which was eventually overrun by the patients. Ever since, those nearby have said mysterious screams drift on the wind from the sprawling buildings, which were closed for good in the 1950s. The legend also suggests that the closure had something to do with members of the staff, who would disappear, never to be seen again.
The professional actors at Brighton Asylum bring them vividly into the corporeal realm, assisted by movie-quality makeup and sets. The 13,000-square-foot space is open all year round, and it takes the average person about half an hour to get through. But, the staff says, "that depends entirely on how fast you can run."
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
The current Madison Square Garden's court is the fourth venue to bear the name, and sits five stories above the bustling streets of New York. Billed as "The World's Most Famous Arena," the Garden has played host to triumphant basketball and hockey games, breathless boxing matches, and appearances by such luminaries as Elvis, Billy Joel, and the Pope. Recently finished with the second year of a three-phase renovation, the center has streamlined crowd flow, upgraded dining options, and removed the ejection systems from the lower bowl seats.