Many dance companies approach ballet from a modern angle. Caroline Calouche prefers a more perpendicular one. When the stage is not enough space for her visions of macabre masquerade balls or surreal dreamscapes, she takes to the air above it, outfitted with a cirque's worth of aerial harnesses and accouterments. Her dancers are just as likely to pirouette down a 20-foot skein of golden silk as across a hardwood floor. Pairs of lovers might hang precariously from the frame of a hollow cube or perform a gravity-defying pas de deux on the double lyra—their suspension above the earth either an expression of freedom or a prison of their own making. Like identifying an elderly smoker's gender over the phone, the airborne element leaves plenty of room for interpretation.
By marrying the storytelling ability of floor-bound choreography with the gravity-defying tricks of circus arts, Caroline Calouche & Co. unleashes the full potential of aerial dance. The company's productions are free to venture to strange new places. For example, in past shows, women have risen from their graves to haunt their murderous husbands. Likewise, the sounds of Moby and Blue Man Group are more likely to be heard than Debussy.
Audience members who want to plqy the ropes and silks for themselves can learn to do so during the dance company's aerial-dance classes, along with a tight curriculum of ballet, contemporary, and stretching and strengthening courses. For all its global influences and aerial showmanship, Caroline Calouche & Co. keeps its feet rooted in the local community with outreach programs for all ages, ethnicities, and social groups.
From the very first tee shot over a lake to the pond protecting the left side of the 18th green, the course at River Ridge Golf Club pits players against the physical and psychological challenges brought by omnipresent water hazards, including the Neuse River that intersects the course on several holes.
Architect Chuck Smith’s 1997 design weaves course play through a 6,740-yard gauntlet furnished with a plush carpet of bermuda-grass fairways and rough that gives way to fast-moving G-6 bent-grass greens. The course's signature 5th hole rewards golfers who keep their tee shots on the fairway with a short-iron approach that must clear a large pond and any caddies sunbathing in the large greenside bunker.
As a semiprivate club, membership at River Ridge unlocks a slew of benefits not available to the general public. Though the practice area—composed of a driving range and putting and chipping greens—is open to everyone, only members may make use of the locker rooms, club storage, and handicap program provided at the clubhouse. Additionally, members are granted access to special events, tournaments, and PGA pro Tim Cockrell’s lessons, which help players calibrate putting strokes and find their swing after a long time away from the game to search for their favorite golf ball that got lost in the Neuse River.
Course at a Glance:
BounceU transports kids to an inflatable, climate-controlled playground, in which they can bounce from side to side in a safe, secure environment. During open-bounce sessions, kids can imagine they're synchronized leapers in Michael Flatley's Riverbounce as they carom around the inflatable stadium, expending energy with every leap. Cosmic Bounce sessions give jouncing juniors a much-deserved break from earthly leaping, allowing them to play under the violet glow of black lights and special-effect lights moving in coordination with fun music. Each cosmic bouncer receives a complimentary glow necklace upon entrance, which can be used to light the way in a dark tunnel or light half the face to recreate Colonel Kurtz's monologue from Apocalypse Now. When a cause for celebration arises, parents snag party rooms and private bouncing rooms for their buoyant revelers. During Kids' Night Out events, kids pair their bounce-based brand of performance arts with imaginative crafts while parents leave them under supervised care and enjoy their own night out.
The attentive BounceU staff monitor the rebounding facilities at all times, ensuring the inflatable playground is kept safe, clean, and free of spiky objects such as mohawks and sea urchins. Call ahead or check the calendar for available open-bounce times. Frolicking children must be supervised by a parent and must wear socks to play. Though not included in this Groupon, parents of children older than 4 years are welcome to join the vivacious youngsters in the playground.
Old Salem Museums & Gardens whisks visitors to the cozy streets of a reconstructed 18th-century Moravian town that encompasses 100 restored and reclaimed buildings and expansive, pristine gardens. As they stroll through the 90-acre homage to early Americana, visitors can interact with hands-on activities, such as the German paper-cutting art of Scherenschnitte or the colonial tradition of libeling a governor with accusations of actually governing. Old Salem's horticultural marvels include the Miksch Garden—a living illustration of Moravian subsistence farming—and the Family Gardens of Salt Street, which demonstrate the innovative practice of seed saving. In addition to year-round attractions, special exhibits rotate through town, celebrating momentous occasions, notable people, and game-changing presidential pets. After traversing the grounds, visitors can peruse souvenirs at a number of gift shops or sidle into Winkler’s Bakery for a piece of renowned Moravian sugar cake.
Erica Dixon recognizes that not everyone is a professional dancer, including herself. During her Zumba classes, she motivates students to break a sweat with aerobic choreography that dancers of all levels can catch on to quickly, leaving the pro moves to the tiny ballerinas trapped in jewelry boxes. In addition to Latin styles such as salsa, merengue, and samba, she infuses routines with moves from some of her favorite styles, including hip-hop, African dance, and belly dance.
Erica's passion for helping others get a handle on their health is inspired by her own life. Though she'd always been active, when she started working at a fast-food joint before her senior year of high school, she packed on 25 pounds. Despite knowing that if she didn't get fit she was at risk for developing type 2 diabetes—like her father did—, she continued to gain weight until she saw him injecting insulin into his stomach. Terrified by the thought of having to use needles, she became dedicated to new habits: eating fruits and vegetables, walking laps around the track, and counting calories. She left college 10 sizes smaller than when she enrolled.
To continue pursuing fitness, Erica convinced a local gym manager to give her a membership in exchange for cleaning treadmills for three hours a week. She reveled in the fit-centric atmosphere and realized she wanted to make helping others get into shape her career, so she signed up to be a Military Recreation intern in Sicily. When she returned home, she earned six gold medals at the USA Jump Rope Nationals and helmed her own fitness center for two years. She's now the director of campus recreation and wellness at her alma mater, North Carolina Central University, and inspires students to shimmy off pounds in her Zumba classes in addition to training other instructors as a Zumba choreography specialist.
For a few centuries, Carver’s Falls was closed to the public, and it's easy to see how much the area benefited from that solitude. The natural beauty of its forests and the waterfall at its heart have flourished. But today, the tree canopy has been transformed into an aerial playground. Wires cross the sky, connecting tree to tree. Every day, ZipQuest's guides lead birds-eye tours of the pristine landscape on their expansive zipline network or via the Swing Shot that pendulums vertiginously above Carver's Creek.
Whether the lighting comes from the sun or helmet-mounted lamps, no fewer than two experienced guides lead guests through Carver's Falls' 2.5-hour course. Adventurers fly down eight ziplines—each designed for a long, leisurely glide or an adrenaline-pumping plunge—while pointing out local flora and fauna. Groups pause only to disembark on high platforms anchored to centuries-old trees. Floating spiral staircases and sky bridges, the longest of which stretches 210 feet, interconnect the platforms. A suspension bridge carries explorers over the falls to a penultimate zipline that runs parallel to its creek. At the end of the run, guests catch their breath while looking through the pictures their camera-wielding guide took.
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