Arlene Santos’s love of dance has been a constant her entire life, starting as a childhood curiosity and transforming into a lifestyle. Since founding Lumina Academy of Dance in 2003, Santos has created a salsa curriculum that leads small groups through basic steps to advanced, performance-ready moves, all with an emphasis on salsa as a social dance. At her studio, she invites dancers to come with or without a partner and start at any experience level before she turns them loose at parties. Her classes emphasize lead-and-follow techniques, and she encourages her students to rotate partners so they can practice with various statures, experience levels, and numbers of feet. To complement the grace and rhythm of her dance classes, Ms. Santos also offers exercise-based classes such as yoga and hip-hop boot camp, which combines sweat-inducing moves with invigorating music.
At Actors Youth Academy, working-actor instructors follow the Michael Chekhov method, which emphasizes imagination, concentration, and straightforward guidance as the most effective way to learn the ropes of acting in film and television. Classes are divided into three levels: beginner, advanced, and professional, and students are placed based on their ability. Beginner acting classes cater to kids or adults who want to dip a toe into the drama pool, advanced sessions are for actors preparing for an agent, and professional classes welcome those who have already booked a job or audition and need some extra guidance. All classes focus on preparing youths for a career in the film and television industry.
The talented Brian McKnight ignites the night in sweltering waves of soul as his Just Me tour caresses the community ambiance of Memorial Park. With a voice buttery enough to push a baby elephant through a mouse hole, Brian’s nearly 20-year career has consistently coated the adult-contemporary R & B charts in smooth, spreadable hits. A noted songwriter, producer, talk-show host, and flugelhorn virtuoso, Brian supplants modern braggadocio for mellow honeydew in support of his new double album, Just Me. For this special benefit, which aids the Levitt Pavilion Pasadena’s Free Concert Series in spreading music education, fans may hear hits such as “Anytime” and “Back at One” from Brian’s come-hither catalog interspersed with silky tracks from Just Me that play like the world’s most danceable marriage counseling. Prior to McKnight's performance, DJs from Hot 92.3 will spin old-school jams to loosen knees and unbuckle belts for an evening of sweet swaying and sultry, involuntary square dancing.
At JayVee Dance Center, children learn more than the techniques to impress audiences. As they master ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop moves, they also gain life-long values, such as self-esteem, discipline, and a sense of responsibility. The youth classes—catering to kids as young as age 2—include the staple sessions, but also branch out into unexpected disciplines such as Tahitian hula and break dance, which boldly breaks all the rules of the Hokey Pokey. The adult schedule is just as diverse, covering fitness-oriented areas such as Zumba, pole fitness, and [Streetease], which is a saucy combination of pole fitness, burlesque, and hip-hop.
In 1971, Gary Berman and Adam Malin, then just two teenage sci-fi fans, founded Creation Entertainment. Throughout the '70s and '80s, they helped develop and promote local comic-book conventions, but by the '90s their interests had turned to genre films and TV. It was smart timing: at the peak of Star Trek's popularity, the duo were running upward of three Trek-related events per weekend.
These days, throughout the US, Canada, and Great Britain, Creation Entertainment hosts conventions and events for various sci-fi and horror franchises, including Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, and Xena: Warrior Princess. A who's who of Hollywood luminaries have all made past appearances, including actor Jack Nicholson, author Ray Bradbury, and George Lucas, the famous director of the Indiana Jones: Space Cowboy movies. Along with its events, Creation Entertainment manufactures merchandise ranging from pictures signed by Lord of the Rings actors to water bottles emblazoned with the Supernatural logo.
“Dance has altered every aspect of our lives in the most positive ways,” declares Sergio Leal, lead instructor and owner of Latin Dance Pro, on his bio page. Through his Latin dance classes, such as salsa and cha-cha, he hopes to instill that positivity in his students. In beginners' classes, he teaches up to 70 pupils at a time, creating a vibrant social setting for people to learn the sensual hip swings and intimate eyebrow flexes of the bachata. Whether strutting the Argentine tango or twirling dance partners during the cumbia and merengue, Sergio and his team of dancers, which includes Armen Way from Dancing with the Stars, bring humility to the environment that allows for a unintimidating, casual atmosphere where everyone can enjoy learning new moves at their own pace. Aside from group lessons, they also provide professional choreography, private lessons, and entertainment. Additionally, Sergio has his own line of dance apparel.