Students of all skill levels learn to shimmy with grace during Pittsburgh Bellydance Academy's comprehensive bellydance classes. Beneath the pressed-tin ceilings of a renovated theater-turned-studio, experienced instructors lead dancers in beautiful movements that can also help tighten and tone the body. Besides combinations, choreography, and head-to-toe technique, many sessions include flexibility and strength training. Others enhance the aesthetic experience with props such as the single and double veil, zills, canes, and fan veils. Students also receive training in musicality, interpretation, improvisation, and performance skills, helping prepare them for biannual showcase performances where they can show off their new moves.
The proud and pliable recipient of a yoga mat's worth of accolades, Amazing Yoga spreads its limber arms to embrace all practitioners, welcoming stretching sophomores and savants alike. Talented, passionate instructors lead an array of classes over a flexible schedule at each of Amazing Yoga's four studios. Clients can frequent the studio of their choice and stack their chakras in classes such as the Basics, a beginner's power-yoga class that emphasizes foundation postures, helping practitioners build up a strong foundation to withstand floods, high winds, and tickling attacks. Amazing Yoga recommends bringing your own water bottle and a mat to classes, though rental mats are available for $2 per class.
The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater is an intimate, 350-seat multiple-use performance venue. With a commitment to support the burgeoning arts community in the city of Pittsburgh, the theater serves as an ideal place for emerging local artists, regional artists and arts organizations to take risks and present new work.
Music director Betsy Burleigh has steered The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh's 120 vocalists to appearances with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and at the Library of Congress, venturing beyond their patron composer to other choral treasures. Mozart composed the soaring strains of his unfinished Great Mass in C Minor as an expression of thanks for the recovery from illness of his wife, who then sang the starring first-soprano part at its premiere. The work's occasional lightness of tone and operatic trills may come as a surprise to those with more solemn conceptions of liturgical music, though the opening Kyrie sets a tumultuous storm brewing with its use of the full chorus and solo for strobe light.
Owner and chef Omar Mediouni imbues La Casa Tapas and Wine Bar's menu of traditional Spanish and Moroccan small plates and entrees with local ingredients and an appetite for culinary fusion that, according to Pittsburgh City Paper, "combines sophistication and comfort, authenticity and simplicity." Flagpole-addicted tongues warm up with a choice of 16 hot tapas, including the chorizo catalan's spicy sautéed sausage and spinach in a red-wine reduction ($10), and tomatoes, sweet pepper, and eggplant form the base of a duo of Moroccan dips ($8 each). Larger entrees ($16–$28) sneak garbanzo beans, chicken, lamb, and eggplant into piles of couscous or saffron paella rice like parents tucking Easter eggs into an egg carton.
Nestled within a brick house along a neighborhood street in Shadyside, La Casa Tapas and Wine Bar greets springtime by opening its patio to warm breezes and showers of cupid arrows. Inside, a hanging Spanish guitar, lanterns lit by candles, and the wide grin of a bright red hearth contribute to a cozy, eclectic spirit.
Beginning with traditional American flavors, Toast! kitchen & wine bar's chefs elevate those dishes to new heights and create refined versions of familiar favorites. Habanero-spiced cheddar adds a piquant kick to servings of shrimp and organic corn grits, and flatbreads feature hearty toppings such as roasted mushrooms, brie, and white truffle oil. True to its name, Toast! also curates a selection of international wines available in tasting portions, glasses, or full bottles so the whole table can enjoy reading the label aloud.
Crimson walls, dark wooden rafters, and suede banquettes contribute to the space's calming and lounge-like ambiance. That quiet, cozy atmosphere inspired CBS Pittsburgh to place the wine bar on its 2013 list of the Best Bars For A Blind Date In Pittsburgh. As if to encourage refined conversation, framed artwork surrounds the dining room, lit by sconces and pendant lamps dangling above the bar.