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.
Endorsed by the Parents Television Council and featured on Lifetime Television, Family Values Cinema scours libraries and cutting rooms for family-friendly, G- and PG-rated movies and delivers them to busy parents. A discerning squad of moms prescreens each film, selecting only those with clean language, minimal violence, and a lack of scary clowns for the Family Values Cinema library. Kin clans then receive the moms' latest picks in the mail, such as Kayla, about a boy who discovers a sled dog in the wilderness, and The Last Brickmaker in America, in which a widower, played by Academy Award–winner Sidney Poitier, rekindles his spirit by mentoring a troubled teen. Groupon-holding families receive one Family Values Movie Night package (valued at $10.90) containing a total of four movies, plus a discussion guide and family activity that go with each film. Hungry critics-in-training can also enjoy movie-themed foods prepared from the enclosed recipe cards, while the package's trio of films about firefighters, police officers, and rescue workers (a $15.90 value) gets kids extinguishing fake fires, resuscitating cat-maimed Barbies, and chasing imaginary identity thieves.
The independently owned Roxy Stadium 11 regales patrons with the flickering pictures and digital sounds of the latest blockbusters and the sizable snack bar. A colorful lobby greets guests as they meander past towering pillars that stretch toward an arched ceiling swathed in neon lights and bold swaths of royal blue. Aisles of cushioned auditorium seats allow moviegoers to choose the spot closest to the screen or furthest from the person sobbing emphatically during coming attractions. High-tech projectors digitally unspool films in each theater, with RealD 3-D technology transmitting some flicks in three vibrant dimensions. To silence distracting mid-movie hunger pangs, staffers in the concessions area whip up fresh batches of Orville Redenbacher popcorn and Nathan's hot dogs alongside other traditional theater fare.
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.