Ornate railings flank the steps to one of BlueBallRoom Dance Studio’s two spacious dance floors, whose hardwood-maple surfaces mask springy, joint-cushioning subfloors. The studio's team of talented teachers leads classes in a monthly rotation of social dances ranging from Argentine tango and various ballroom styles to intermediate touchdown dancing. Group classes encompass these styles as well as cardio-centric Zumba, famed for its easy-to-follow steps and driving Latin beats. Private-lesson subscribers, meanwhile, get closer attention and a chance to hone their footwork at regularly held free dance parties.
Deep within the Granite Run Mall, a 20-foot-long relative of the stegosaurus battles its nemesis, the monolophosaurus, while onlookers stand back, aghast and enthralled. What sounds like a deleted scene from Jurassic Park⎯a film series that proprietor "Dino" Don Lessem advised using his dino expertise⎯is really one of many sights to behold at the 6,500-square-foot Dino Don's Dinosaurium. Don harnesses his extensive expertise, which includes more than 50 books written on dinosaurs and natural history, to craft the family-friendly museum, which educates visitors through engaging, interactive exhibits. For his scholarly endeavors and incessant stalk-chewing habit, he even has an Argentine plant eater⎯the Lessemsaurus⎯named after him. Museumgoers can excavate fossils from the dig pit, aim a nerf gun at Jurassic Park dinosaurs in the shooting gallery, or learn reasons for dino extinction by spinning the Wheel of Dinosaur Misfortune. Students and teachers can continue making dino discoveries by touching real fossils, meeting visiting paleontologists, and learning how to roar dinner orders. Unlike the extinct species that the museum celebrates, Don assured CBS Philly that Dino Don's Dinosaurium will supply guests with new experiences by changing exhibits every three months.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
Najia has inspired audiences with her sensual Middle Eastern dance in Egypt and Jordan, as well as in restaurants, nightclubs, and Pearl Jam’s preshow. Building her diverse dancing resumé, she pilgrimages to the Middle East for two or three months each year to continue researching dances, garner inspiration for her Philadelphia Bellydance company, and make her passport more colorful. She calls upon all of her twirling know-how to lead series of four weekly classes, in which students learn to shimmy, hip drop, and send veils fluttering through the air or weave together basic moves for complex choreography. On the fifth week after class sessions, students meet for a confidence-inspiring Goddess Night that awakens inner beauty through dance workshops, vegan treats, and performances as guests mingle bedecked in veils, gems, and outer adornment.
If there is a major dance competition out there, Scott Lazarov has probably placed in it. Along with gracing the cover of Philadelphia Magazine and performing at the Academy of Music, the founder of DanceSport Academy has won four US and World Pro-Am championships and was named champion of US Salsa, Rising Star, and Grand National championships. At DanceSport, Scott and his fellow instructors teach dance as both a social outlet and a competitive art form, and break down complicated styles into simple steps. Private and group classes teach a foundation of balance, posture, and timing that can then be mapped onto styles as varied as mambo, swing, merengue, or the Viennese waltz. Serious students can also gear up for competitions through a comprehensive training approach that addresses choreography, costuming, and production of the oversized foam fingers given out to the judges.