Oscar Ochoa's passion for salsa dancing sprouted at age 9, grew rapidly at age 18 when he began taking formal lessons, and blossomed at age 24 when he won first place at a salsa competition. Today, the founder of Miami Salsa Driven combines his dancing expertise with the physical discipline he's developed from years of practicing tae kwon do and Brazilian jujitsu to lead detail-oriented salsa lessons. His team puts a big emphasis on creating an environment in which beginners feel welcome and unintimidated by advanced dancers trying to show off complex moves, such as the iceless triple axel. Students have ranged from seasoned dancers to a first-timer police-department captain, who actually ended up joining a professional dance team. Located inside the Tempo Music and Dance Academy, Miami Salsa Driven's classes focus on improving students' self-confidence and fitness levels with hands-on instruction and practice. One of the studio's walls is completely covered in full-length mirrors, allowing dancers to adjust their posture to match the instructor's or enjoy uninterrupted eye contact with themselves.
Since 1969, Mario the Baker has regaled customers with the rich tastes of vodka sauce, baked eggplant, capicola subs, and cheesy pizzas. Since its inception, the restaurant has grown from a single storefront to a 14-location local fiefdom, built upon a foundation of crafting consistently delicious casual Italian cuisine, thin-crust New York–style pizzas, and traditional pasta dishes. Piping-hot garlic rolls accompany plates of shrimp scampi or chicken francese, and margherita pizzas and pineapple-topped hawaiian pies enliven celebrations of majestic T-ball-league triumphs and inconsequential T-ball-league defeats.
The members of PAN Performing Arts Network bring a range of backgrounds to their international collective: some are experienced musical composers, guitarists, and singers, while others are established teaching artists and actors. Their expertise allows them to gather all the arts under one roof with an annual performance season and more than 40 regular classes each week. These classes span instruction in dance styles such as ballet, modern, Afro-Haitian, and Irish step, as well as training in creative movement, acting, instrumental music, and voice. Instructors tailor their classes to the needs of beginner through advanced-level adults, children, and children disguised as adults. They also provide classes suited to senior citizens and students with special needs.
Calling on experience gleaned on stages from Broadway to Istanbul, the multicultural staff of CooLAM Dance Studio powers a diverse selection of dance and fitness classes. Like the secret ninth Ivy League school, CooLAM is literally open to anyone—its name is a derivative of the Hebrew word for "everybody." Whether dabbling in dance for fun or seeking intense pre-professional training, adults and children aged 3 and older can register for group or private classes covering 18 disciplines. Depending on which class they choose, students might entrust their feet with such instructors as Sonic, an Israeli-born hip-hop and break dancer who has worked with Rihanna and Kanye West, or SusiQ, a salsa instructor who discovered the dance style in Cuba and eventually taught it all over Europe. CooLAM also boasts an eclectic array of event services, which equip parties with basic DJ and décor services and extra entertainment that ranges from face-painting and pony rides to a mechanical bull and auctioneer karaoke.
Inside a meticulously decorated vintage cabaret tent, Orchid serves a veritable feast for the senses with a visual and musical spectacle melding burlesque, daring acrobatics, and circus acts. Amidst the production’s flirtatious costumes, hip-shaking choreography, and playful reimagining of pop songs, transfixed audiences witness the story of a reclusive gardener who creates the entrancing, anthropomorphic titular character. When Orchid comes to life, her beauty and sensuality mesmerize everyone she encounters as she meets the garden’s eclectic inhabitants, including Venus Mantrap and Honeysuckle Rose. Meanwhile, the devious Bee Keeper, a rabid collector of items that begin with the second letter of the alphabet, attempts to foil the gardener’s quest for happiness by destroying his perfect landscape. The production reaches electrifying heights with direction from William Baker, who previously worked with pop superstars Kylie Minogue, Rihanna, and Britney Spears.
From the moment guests step into its entryway and pass its showcase of Fabergé eggs, Tatiana Restaurant & Cabaret Show carefully choreographs a journey through the nobility and flair of Russia's history. Like an Eastern European palace, its opulence stretches through three levels and 10,500 square feet, adorned with grand-cathedral balconies, Murano glass fixtures, and an ornate ceiling hammered with 24-karat gold accents that took artists four months to complete. And yet, this splendor can be quickly eclipsed once dinner begins. From à la carte and prix fixe menus, up to 600 guests dine on traditional Russian cuisine that includes a cold beet borscht, but is not limited to it. When a Miami.com reviewer visited Tatiana’s, she praised the vareniki—semicircle ravioli filled with potatoes, cheese, or sour cherries.
After the meal, Tatiana’s swaps bustling servers for a swarm of singers, dancers, and DJs. During shows that pay homage to Russian culture, Moulin Rouge, and Las Vegas–style cabarets, the performers twirl through smoke and light on and off a stage that can rise six feet in the air to aid performers in midshow slam dunks. The house band continues to wail after the smoke has cleared, opening up the dance floor for couples who can pas de deux into the wee morning hours.