The oldest surviving theater in central Ohio, the fin de siècle elegance of the Southern Theatre's jewel-box auditorium transports audiences back to the days of vaudeville antics and silver-screen spectacle. Built in 1896 to state-of-the-art standards, the theater's bandshellesque proscenium bucked architectural norms to funnel sound into the seats. Its 204 light bulbs required that the theater generate its own electricity for years, until scientists figured out that nobody needed to worry about that stuff.
Founded in 1963 at a local YMCA, the Cincinnati Ballet grew into a major regional company by adhering to its mission to express the human experience through dance. Today, it continues upholding that vision by housing resident artists who entertain audiences with dance performances of both classic and original work. Beyond supporting local audiences and their right to clap, the Cincinnati Ballet also seeks to nurture artists through the Otto M. Budig Academy. There, a professional faculty trains aspiring performers at all skill levels. These training opportunities are supplemented by outreach programs such as CincyDance!, which provides free training and dance attire to children.
Landmarks of standup for decades, Connxtions Comedy Clubs remain mainstays for up-and-coming comics and national stars, with a roster of past performers that includes Sinbad, Drew Carey, Tim Allen, D. L. Hughley, and Rob Schneider. Headlining comedians, many seen on national television, keep the venues teetering Thursday–Saturday nights, whereas Wednesday nights host improv spectacles and open mics where rookies can begin their ascent into stardom or descent into miming. While refueling chuckle tanks, duos and groups can split a savory appetizer, such as cheese bread or chicken wings, or enjoy a potent cocktail at the bar.
Helmed by Russian-trained ballet greats Inna Stabrova and Dmitriy Tuboltsev, the staff of talented and credentialed teachers helps students develop first-rate skills in the elegant art of ballet. Students may choose to hone the basic positions and movements of beginner coursework or challenge themselves with the impressive footwork and Kafkaesque swan metamorphoses of advanced courses. After training under the watchful eyes of these professional instructors, many alumni of the conservatory have moved on to enjoy rewarding and prestigious careers in dance companies and life-size music boxes throughout the country.
The DVIDA-certified instructors at Always Ballroom Dance Studio believe that dance can benefit anyone, and uphold a policy of total acceptance across experience levels. On the glossy scape of blond hardwood floors, they monitor shimmies in both private and group lessons, prepping couples for their wedding-dance debut or showcasing a stock of nightclub moves. Pupils needn't reserve a spot or have a partner to attend most group sessions—the studio provides everything down to airsickness bags for soaring spins, and accommodates diverse tastes with more than 20 dance styles on its syllabus. Special events such as lock-ins and Salsa Saturdays top off the swinging schedule.