In 1947, on New York City's Park Avenue, the first Fred Astaire Dance Studio—cofounded by the eponymous toe tapper himself—opened its doors to the public. More than six decades later, now boasting schools across North America, the dancing institution still adheres to the legendary Mr. Astaire's curriculum and instruction techniques.
Specializing in social ballroom and competitive dances, the schools' current consortium of professional instructors shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through dance lessons that span from classic ballroom and foxtrot romps to the modern steps of salsa, swing, or mambo. In addition to classes, the studio hosts social practice parties where up to 40 students hone newly acquired rug-cutting capabilities. As foot-charming music blares from the speakers, instructors work to cultivate a lively social setting where each guest can dance, mingle, and surgically correct their second left foot without fear of embarrassment.
Founded in 1987, First Stage Children's Theater has grown into a nationally acclaimed company drawing annual audiences of more than 135,000 people. With a season including six mainstage plays and two First Steps shows, First Stage has become one of the largest family theaters in the country.
Until science allows customized breezes to play concertos through trees and tuned blades of grass, people must fetch their concertos from live musicians. Today's Groupon sings to the ears with premium orchestra-seat tickets to Ohlsson Plays Chopin by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra for $20, a $57 value. In two performance dates at the stunning Uihlein Hall on Friday, April 2, and Saturday, April 3, at 8 p.m., pianist Garrick Ohlsson will capture and tame Frédéric Chopin's famous Piano Concerto No. 2 and two other solo piano pieces in celebration of Chopin's 200th birthday.
For the students of To The Pointe Performing Arts, no dance step is just a dance step. Because the school follows a holistic approach to learning dance, every step comes with a bounty of knowledge—its place in the style, its cultural origin, the muscle movements it requires, and the discipline required to master it. Whether they're 6-year-olds encountering their first tap shoes or high-school students refining their skills in Russian ballet technique, the team of experienced dance instructors make it their business to forge not only great dancers but educated citizens of the world. In addition to youth classes, the studio also offers DanceFit and tap classes for adult students.
In the 1930s, big bands and lauded musicians played a famous bar called Weilers and would one day become Memories Dinner Theater. The music bounced off the very same 2,500-square-foot maple dance floor, tamarack log ceiling, and twin stone fireplaces that remain today, though Memories has since expanded its entertainment options beyond song and dance.
As guests feast on three-course meals, the theater's roster of top-notch actors tackle dramas, musicals, audience-interactive murder mysteries, and comedies. The laughs continue on Chicken Comedy nights, when funnyman Rob Haswell hosts renowned comedians whose jokes keep diners chortling in between bites not of rubber, but of roasted chicken and food from an unlimited buffet.