The Ventura County Ballet Company ushers in the holiday season with a magical rendition of The Nutcracker, which is accompanied by the 52-piece Ventura College Symphony Orchestra, and features a star-filled cast of 115 local and international dancers. New staging and video effects sprinkle the classic production with modern flair, and a freshly installed snow scene dazzles crowds as characters pirouette through twinkling flurries and dance to Tchaikovsky's immortal score. Anchoring the cast, both Madeleine Riddle and Makenna Ortiz alternately slide into the slippers of Clara, Hawaii native Ryan Camou tackles the royal tights of The Prince, and California native and professional dancer, Season Winquest, captures the ethereal essence of "Dream Clara". To raise the curtains on a fantastical foot, an opening dance sequence spotlights local celebrities such as Bo Jaxon and Dedria Brunett, who was crowned Miss California International 2012.
The instructors at Airealistic Circus & Flying know a thing or two about gravity, having defied it on behalf of Cirque de Soleil, De La Guarda, and Franco Dragone productions. For example, program director Carmen Curtis uses a foundation in gymnastics to elevate her cirque routines, which she showcases as a member of Airealistic Theater Company. These experiences grant her the expertise to lead her aerial classes, which are taught alongside gymanstics and yoga classes. Whether teaching family circus or acroyoga classes, all staff members prioritize safety as they introduce kids and adults to aerial apparatuses.
In addition to gymnastics, booty bar, and Vinyasa yoga sessions, the trainers teach AIReal Yoga, Acro and Tumbling, Hatha yoga, Power Barre, Barre Fitness, Contemporary Dance, Pilates and Afro-Brazilian Dance, believing that one's choice of style reflects his or her own unique character. Their aerial and acro-yoga variations also encourage students to test their notions about human flight in a noncompetitive setting. Each class incorporates a fitness component into its exhilarating routine, and the schedule includes classes at all times of day.
At Java Joe's, guests sip freshly made coffee drinks and graze baked goods, rummage through a collection of eclectic clothing and merchandise, and tap toes to live tunes. Baristas blend aromatic shots of espresso with frothy milk riddled with chocolaty notes to create a 16- or 20-ounce café mocha ($3.85–$4.25). Utilitarian cups of joe ($1.95 for 16 oz.; $2.25 for 20 oz.) fill mugs for on-the-go sippers and bulk beans ($13.95/lb.) allow customers to bring robust flavors and caffeine-jolts home. Pluck a pastry from a bakery filled with treats, such as scones ($2.45), chocolate-filled croissants ($2.95), and cheesecakes ($3.75) that quench food cravings and hush grumbling tummies like a swallowed Paul Simon 8-track.
With a history stretching back more than 40 years, Circus Vargas wows audiences with dazzling acrobatics and rib-tickling clowns under a giant big-top tent. The show eschews animal performers for human-costumed spectacles, showcasing dazzling feats that only a few dexterous humans and short-circuited cyborgs are capable of. The circus's big top, hand-fashioned in Milan from 90,000 square feet of fabric, holds up to 1,500 show-goers in classic, blue-dyed elegance. Early-arriving guests can take part in an interactive preshow, jumping in the ring with ringmaster Jon Weiss as he leads audience members through tutorials that show how to perform stunts such as juggling, feather balancing, and balancing checkbooks with quill pens.
The Band Buffet concert series unveils a luminous stage that becomes a magnet for uproarious applause and fist pumps as Pink Floyd and The Cars tribute bands blast throwback tunes during an all-day jam fest that benefits philanthropic endeavors. LA-based Which One’s Pink? celebrates the psychedelic sounds of Pink Floyd with a performance of the landmark prog-rock album Dark Side of the Moon, noted for its extended solos written by a refracting prism. Candy-O captures The Cars' signature lovelorn lyrics and peppy synthesizer beats during a set fueled by '80s cue-card classic such as "Just What I Needed" and "My Best Friend's Girl." Local rocker Brion Shearer warms up the stage with catchy pop-rock tunes and a novelty-size Christmas sweater. Between sets, audience members can browse the exciting prizes at the raffle, which benefits charitable organizations such as Donate Life/ Signatures Across America and South Coast Fellowship’s Open Hands Ministry food pantry.
Every Thursday, Comedy Hideaway ushers in a lineup of HBO– and Comedy Central–anointed performers, its stage still echoing with the bygone riffs of such national acts as Zach Galifianakis and Whitney Cummings. The club's founder, Andrey Belikov, often hosts and performs at the evening's revues, spinning impressions of his Ukrainian father and detailing his foibles in American society. Between sets, guests avail themselves of Petrini’s menu of Italian fare, sip laugh-loosening drinks, and stand in line for autographs from nationally touring microphone stands.