As part of the Alabama Symphony's Sounds for Summer series, both shows bring contemporary musical entertainment to the ornately gilded, classy venue. The Act of Congress and Three on a String show tickles tiny earhammers with modern bluegrass and genre-spanning hits. Or hear Country's Hit Makers: Behind the Hits, which packs a 15-song set with recent country billboard toppers such as "Cowboy Casanova" and "American Honey." Both shows are conducted by Christopher Confessore, the ASO's principal pops conductor.
Birmingham Children's Theatre aims to mint pint-sized playwrights, actors, and audience members. It has pursued this goal since its inception in 1947, impacting more than 170,000 children and their 170,000 imaginary friends annually. The theater's kid-friendly programming not only introduces kids to the theater, but also initiates them into the production process. Since 1982, its New Voices Project has yielded upward of 50 original scripts, stories, musicals, and adaptations for young audiences, all while celebrating artistic experimentation and supporting promising new playwrights.
Established in 1954 and having garnered the Birmingham magazine 2010 award for Best Dance Classes, Dale Serrano Dance Inc. and its troupe of talented instructors lead children of all skill levels, aged 2–18, in classes ranging from jazz and ballet to hip-hop, tap, and cheer. Budding ballerinas gracefully plié and gallivant about the class, and musical-theater mavens learn the ins and outs of stage performance. Dancers who commit to additional months of vigilant rehearsal and practice can showcase their talents at the year-end recital or opt for impromptu performances at nearby weddings and city-council investitures.
Magic City Ballroom Dance Studio's experienced instructional feet ignite the dance floor with a variety of lessons that demystify the art of rhythmic motion for dancers of all skill levels. Dance styles such as the tango, mambo, and samba infuse hips with infectious Latin rhythms while the Viennese Waltz, the fox trot, and the lindy step add pizzazz to wedding dances or an expressive trip down the produce aisle. Not content to only host energetic classes, the studio also supports one-day dance competitions, inviting dancers to show off their hard work for a chance at prizes and statues of bronzed jazz hands.
Huntsville Ballet Company’s classic and contemporary productions are as much about enriching the local arts community as they are about entertaining the audience. Dedicated to outreach and education, the group invites students from Huntsville Ballet School to audition for performances with professional dancers and the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. When their soloists aren’t pirouetting through The Firebird or anthropomorphizing sugarplums in The Nutcracker, the company welcomes visitors such as Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre and the New York City Ballet.
When Mudtown Eat and Drink owner Dave Horn returned to Birmingham after a stint in Atlanta, he remarked to Bob Carlton of the Birmingham News that there was no place "where you can just get a burger." He decided to build exactly what he sought: The Ridge Eat & Drink, a casual, neighborhood eatery that serves classic pub fare such as 100% Hereford beef burgers and upscale dishes ranging from steaks to seafood. The menu’s Asian and southern influences emanate from starters such as grilled tuna tataki and fried green tomatoes. To make diners comfortable, the pub greets them with drink specials, flat-screen TVs, and daily dares scrawled on a chalkboard above the dark-wood bar.