Devoted exclusively to performing and recording new orchestral music, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project aims to rebuild the aural bridge between audiences and composers with passionate concert experiences. On January 27, BMOP showcases the works of five different composers, amassing a talented quintet of revered, modern-day soloists to mesmerize ears with incongruous sounds. The world premier of Eric Chasalow's horn concerto bares the brassy measures of French hornist Bruno Schneider, and Air: Concerto for Theremin uncannily mimics human voices with an electronic instrument that refuses to pause for breaths or answer text messages in between verses.
On Friday nights at Extreme Dancesport, the floorboards heat up under the swinging steps of students, regulars, and teachers cutting a rug at Boston Swing?s Central?s weekly social dances. Sometimes it?s pre-recorded tunes and sometimes it?s a live band inspiring the boogiers, but either way, it?s a rollicking good time for all ages and skill levels and no partner is required.
The weekly party, which starts with a group class from 8-9 p.m. and then transforms into a free-for-all from 9 p.m. ? 12 a.m., is the focal point of the non-profit dance organization. Boston Swing Central also offers classes and boot camps where dance instructors teach you how to do the east coast, lindy hop, and Charleston.
Unlike the premium-cable version of Curious George, ComedySportz shows eschew racy material, going so far as to place a brown paper bag over the head of any performer who crosses the boundaries of good taste. The game-based comedy format pits two refereed teams of improvisers against each other, drawing from a repertoire of more than 100 improv scenes for their battleground. Over the course of 7 to 12 games, the red- and blue-clad teams may perform in Shakespearean verse or rapidly fast-forward and reverse a scene at the referee's whim. The audience, meanwhile, is tasked with generating suggestions, choosing the winners at evening's end, and gently consoling the losing team with made-up aspirational quotes.
This formula has proved successful since 1984, when the first ComedySportz flung open its curtains. Now, the franchise has expanded to major comedy hubs including Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. The latest addition to the fold, ComedySportz Boston, lassos the same spirit and off-the-cuff hilarity as its predecessors, dazzling onlookers with its teamwork, clean but uproarious humor, and ability to turn an audience suggestion into a fully fleshed out scene.
Influenced by dance trends from Europe to Latin America, the staff at SuperShag Dance Studios splits its time between three Boston-area spaces filled with dancing poles, yoga mats, and custom sound systems. Founder Chris Johnston—who won several amateur Latin dance championships as a kid in Ireland and was named a World Class adjudicator by the National Dance Council of America—carefully amassed his talented troupe of teachers from dance schools around the world and from Fred Astaire’s botched attempts to clone himself. During private and group lessons, they spice up Latin-, ballroom-, and pole-dance numbers with an urban twist heavily influenced by British Dancesport, and ready students for competitions.
The low thrum of an electric bass. The clean jangle of an electric piano. At School of Groove, owner Christopher Vuk presides over instructors as they fill the space with music and help students through scales, rhythms, and eventually full pieces on a wide range of instruments. The teachers have played music alongside musicians including Herbie Hancock, John Mayer, and Paul Simon, and guest rock musicians occasionally lead sessions to impart their skills or explain why they think every smashable guitar is full of candy. In private lessons and group sessions, hands-on practice illuminates the processes of improvising, writing, and recording music. Students at the school can also join a band, where they'll write their own music, build teamwork skills, and perform at venues such as Hard Rock Cafe and Ryles Jazz Club.
The rich wooden floors at New England Tango & Yoga Academy support students as they twirl rhythmically during tango lessons or flow through poses during yoga sessions. Expert teachers such as Armando Orzuza—who helped choreograph the movie Evita and appeared as a principal dancer in the movie Assassination Tango—lead the beginning-tango program, ensuring newbies start with solid foundations in the art form. From there, students can proceed to regular classes such as advanced beginner, club style, and tango waltz. Instructors also hold salsa classes, as well as TangoFlow exercise classes that sculpt bodies using moves based on the argentine tango.
Under the same roof, expert yogi Victoria Garcia Drago leads private and group yoga classes designed to help the mind focus, unlike a riddle spoken in iambic pentameter, which destroys the mind. She specializes in slow-flow yoga and also leads workshops, master classes, core yoga, and Zumba.