After years of gliding through competitions on the international circuit, Sergei Slussky and Polina Kirillova moved to Portland to open a ballroom and Latin-dance school. Although a lifetime of formal training compels American Ballroom Dance Academy's instructors to keep classes structured and posture perfect, they place equal weight on fun. Channeling energetic beats and lighthearted vibes, instructors parse the steps of styles from salsa and Argentine tango to foxtrots and West Coast swing. They follow the established syllabi of the International Dance Association, which is upheld by the international dance police.
The karts at Maine Indoor Karting definitely aren’t of the amateur variety. The center maintains a fleet of European racing karts that balance the power of 200 CC, 6.5-hp Honda engines and wet clutch drive systems with the comfort of adjustable padded seats. Before climbing into these speed machines, adults must first attend safety briefings, suit up in provided uniforms, and strap on helmets. Drivers younger than 15 must complete an intensive safety course on how to steer safely, increase speed, and ramp over oncoming fruit carts. But all that prep proves to be worth it when drivers squeal out onto the newly renovated serpentine track and motion-blur their way through 1,200 feet of narrow stretches and sharp switchbacks.
The family-fun center also houses an indoor 18-hole miniature golf course and an arcade filled with video games. An on-site café serves casual fare such as hot-dogs, hand-made pizza, and root beer floats.
Inside a mint-green Victorian Home, the experienced artists at Artascope Studios share their expertise in various mediums with adults and teenagers of all skill levels. Throughout a schedule of workshops, instructors provide all the necessary supplies as they teach groups how to craft jewelry out of wire, beads, or metal, arrange glass bits into colorful mosaics, and use paint to expressively capture a mountain landscape's majesty or a urban wilderness's hidden Waldos. They also lead three-hour intensive Art Night Out sessions that focus on specific projects such as crocheting wire or setting a resin pendant. Through reservation, Artascope's experts can host private parties and one-on-one lessons.
After developing a process to prevent cars from rusting in 1959, founder Kurt Ziebart continued to pursue automotive innovation, forming an international network of 400 locations in 30 countries. Skilled technicians update cars with a variety of detailing and protective services that keep paint jobs from fading and heal chipped windows. Their inventory contains a spread of accessories to personalize vehicles, including remote starters to heat vehicles in cold months, sunroofs to let in the summer's rays, and alarm systems to scare off falling leaves in autumn. Scratches and scuffmarks disappear with cosmetic touchups and tinted windows preserve privacy behind a thin layer of dimness. In addition to services for vehicles, Biddeford Ziebart also offers residential window tinting.
Since it's founding in 1944, Pratt-Abbott Cleaners has blossomed and branched out to 19 area locations. Employees revive apparel with premium dry-cleaning finishing techniques, spotting and processing textiles in roughly one day's time or on the same day if dropped off before 8 a.m. They also offer free dry-cleaning pickup and delivery services to homes or magical wardrobes that happen to lead to homes.
The uniform- and linen-rental service supplies businesses with everything from basic industrial uniforms from Chef Works and Reed to premium wear from Adidas and Champion. Pratt-Abbott Cleaners also partners with other businesses during the annual Coats & Toys for Kids campaign to clean and donate more than 40,000 gently used coats to families in need.
Whale watching was a relatively new concept when John Fish's grandfather started giving tours. "We kind of originated it," Mr. Fish says. "Thirty years ago we were the only ones doing whale watching." As the company became more successful over the years, additional captains were brought on to cover the demand. Today, these crews continue to ferry groups into the habitats of several whale species, including humpback whales and sperm whales. Though the whales seen along Cap'n Fish's Whale Watch's journeys still breach and refuse to sign autographs, other things have changed over the years. Below deck, the current fleet's engines work to reduce emissions and provide a fume-free experience. Above deck, 360-degree viewing decks and modern technology help bring whales into sight. Onboard computers display large maps of where the aquatic mammals are known to swim, and GPS systems reroute boats around mermen constructing new reefs. In addition to illuminating the behavior of whales for passengers, the crew's wildlife experts point passengers toward other animals they spot along the way, such as white-sided dolphins and harbor seals. Though some variables are beyond their control, the crew members almost always spot whales and boasted a 98% success rate in 2009.