Roshelle “Rocky” Wilder, NYC Dance Arts’ founding director, began dancing and choreographing dance pieces when she was still in high school. She has performed with underground hip-hop artists such as Denzil Porter, Deena Jones, and The Future, and her students at NYC Dance Arts have performed on Broadway, earning mention from ExpertsColumn.com.. With a team of teachers, Wilder guides students through the steps of contemporary hip-hop, classical ballet, heart-healthy Zumba, and other dance-centric classes.
Ballet classes boost students’ balance, concentration, and coordination while strengthening core muscles. Modern/contemporary dance rebels against the traditional aesthetic of classical ballet with abstract, emotive movements—or by cutting class, sneaking out, and taking the works of Jean-Paul Sartre very seriously. Break dance 101 introduces students to urban street dance, focusing on inspiration and creativity. Yoga fitness classes combine a cardio workout with deep-breathing exercises and yoga poses. In addition to regular classes, NYC Dance Arts offers special workshops with visiting choreographers and professional dancers, and organizes dance flash mobs—groups of dancers who meet in a public place to perform a dance routine.
A rare outlet for commercially sanctioned laughter in downtown Los Angeles, Garrett Morris’ Downtown Blues and Comedy Club helps visitors escape the stresses of the workweek with a rotating stable of top-tier standup talent every Friday and Saturday. Comic legend Garrett Morris, now seen as Earl on CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, hosts showcases of comic talent with charming wit and tales of how he outlived the original cast of Saturday Night Live. The bill remains consistently loaded with fresh-faced and seasoned funny folk, with past luminaries including George Lopez, Margaret Cho, and Wayne Brady, along with aspiring stars in the twilight before their first mismatched-marriage sitcom.
Keeping true to its name and Morris’ roots in the New Orleans music scene, the venue often punctuates its comedy shows with performances from top blues artists—including Morris himself, who has lent his soulful pipes to the Harry Belafonte Singers—that add melody to the mirth. While weekend shows feature Garrett’s hosting and harmonies along with the headlining acts, the Thursday Night Experience allows youthful burgeoning comics and musicians to hog the spotlight.
With work that has drawn accolades from such notable publications as the New York Times, the Paul Taylor Dance Company has expressed the trials and tribulations of mankind with elegant beauty and fierce honesty since 1954. Dancing doyens mold a full show from a series of short performances, gifting the audience all the variety and brevity of an audio mash-up of the decade's best shampoo commercials.
Though they hail from Brunei, Cuba, and the United States, the instructors at Bellyqueen are united by their passion for belly dance. Their dedication to the Middle Eastern art—and their eagerness to educate others about the empowering, often misunderstood dance form—led co-founder Kaeshi Chai to established their own bellydancing company and school in the East Village. Kaeshi's enthusiasm has caught on—since opening in 1998, Bellyqueen has gained acclaim for its unconventional workouts welcoming participants of all sizes and skill levels.
Today, the bustling studio continues to teach traditional bellydancing techniques while incorporating world-fusion styles. Experienced instructors guide guests through the sensual movements, encouraging them as they practice footwork, breath, and presentation. When they aren’t fine-tuning their routines to eyeball-enticing perfection, students can watch Bellyqueen’s professional dancers perform at special events.
Barbecue ribs with a smoky rauchbier. A melon salad with a dark doppelbock. The folks behind Get Real Presents specialize in pairings like these, sharing the joys of craft beer and delicious, locally-sourced foods. In this spirit, its team of foodies and beer aficionados hosts festivals featuring more than 80 brews, as well as restaurant events that pair craft beer with regional foods. As unique as it sounds, they admit this isn't exactly a new idea—they take a page from other countries, such as Belgium, who actually anchor much of their cuisine around the effervescent beverage. Following this "cuisine a la biere" model, they aim to highlight all of the great things a freshly crafted brew can do to enhance an evening out on the town, such as highlighting the flavors of a complementary dish, spicing up a local chef's stew, or softening your dad to the idea of paying off all of your student loans.
Imagination Movers bring their unique style of kid-friendly pop rock to New York City, and to Disney Junior. Based in New Orleans, friends Rich Collins, Scott Durbin, Dave Poche and Scott “Smitty” Smith decided to put together a band and build a children’s television show. The program offers catchy, upbeat songs with lyrics that speak to young children, and contemporary beats that keep everyone else interested. As a result, Imagination Movers has become a national sensation for children of all ages, selling more than 250,000 CDs and DVDs and appearing on national daytime shows like The View and Good Morning America. They even grabbed a Daytime Emmy Award for outstanding original song on a children’s show. Since then, the group has played shows at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square, as well as sold out shows domestically and in Canada.