Located on Jacksonville’s south side, The Comedy Zone has been hosting some of the nation’s finest standup comedians for decades. Tucked away inside the Ramada Conference Center and Hotel, the Comedy Zone is a quaint, dim, charming nightclub venue filled with cozy tables and chairs. The thick carpet underfoot cushions the space further and keeps noisy shoes and squeaky chairs to a minimum. The small, gleaming wood stage is back-dropped by a large brick wall, reminiscent of so many other famous comedy clubs. Over the years, the stage has played host to a variety of national touring comedians and lots of local Florida talent. A full bar and a variety of burgers, sandwiches and appetizers are available to order, and can count toward the room’s industry-standard one drink or item minimum. Of course, that means comedy fans must be at least 21 years of age to enter the Zone.
Professional belly dancers bring the ancient art form to the masses in Florida. Belly dancing uses natural body movements to create a low-impact, weight-bearing exercise that tones muscles, improves flexibility, and relieves stress. Class options are geared toward beginners through experts, and use props such as veils and finger cymbals.
Boasting more than 85 years of combined dance experience, Dance Elite Dance Club's friendly instructors fine-tune students' footwork with traditional ballroom, Latin, and swing dance styles across a spacious, hardwood floor. Thirty-minute private lessons give pupils one-on-one time with danceficiandos to polish techniques and learn any style of dance the studio offers. During 60-minute group classes, students can take a spin through the exposed-brick enclosed space, pairing up with a partner of any level to learn the graceful glides of the rumba, the quick twirls of a two-step, or how to win a staring contest during close tango embraces. Further fostering social encounters, the practice party invites Dance Elite students to boogie down for 90 minutes while brushing up on proper toe points and making new fleet-footed friends. Check the calendar for current class times and click here to see Dance Elite’s own shaking to the beat.
The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1949, and currently plays at the 1,800 seat Robert E. Jacoby Symphony Hall in the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts downtown. Over the years, the orchestra has hosted renowned artists such as Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Luciano Pavarotti. It’s currently led by Music Director and Principal Conductor Fabio Mechetti, who has been in the position since 1999. He will be stepping down in May, but not until helming productions of The Marriage of Figaro and Verdi’s Requiem in the spring. The Jacksonville Symphony also partners with Duval County and three other public school systems to provide some 84,000 children the opportunity to both listen to and participate in youth-oriented symphony events. The orchestra’s charitable works, world-class facility and enduring star power have helped keep Jacksonville culture on the map for decades.
Kaluby's Dance Club takes the same simple approach to teaching that the club used when it opened in 1983. Before playing a note, the instructors take the time to break down popular dances into their most basic patterns. This way, when the music starts, dancers of all skill levels are able to master the steps quickly so that they can focus on having fun so instead of whose toes they're stepping on. The studio shares their secrets in group and private lessons, both taught in a ballroom where members are also welcome to practice during any open studio hours. In children's classes, kids practice basic dance moves while also making new friends, exercising, and learning how to behave at charity galas. During club dance parties, members get the chance to show off their new dance skills in special themed events or dressy-casual gatherings.
The red and black ship cuts through the waters of Matanzas Bay, its sails waving in the wind. On deck, members of a pirate crew call one another by names such as Oly Mackarel, Jaybird, Anastasia, Clipper, and Dirty James as they cavort between bow and stern, dazzling their audiences. Their ship, the Black Raven, was designed as a floating live performance theater—and accommodates more than 120 passengers as a crew of performers in full buccaneer dress produce interactive and dynamic plays in the spotlight. The actors work the crowd with a variety of rehearsed but unscripted skits, geared toward audiences of all ages, and may change their performance to engage specific audience members.