Having spent many years in the dance and fitness industries, Vanessa Berry knew precisely what to look for in her staff members when she opened Kick Dance Studios more than 10 years ago. Today, staffers include those who have trained at distinguished organizations including the School of American Ballet, Joffrey Ballet School, and Broadway Dance Center.
But as proud as she is of her team, Berry is doubly so of her students, including her award-winning dance team. Her facility's two studios constantly bustle with the moves and grooves of highly organized dance classes, which include ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, contemporary, musical theater, and acrobatics.
Studio owner and award-winning dancer Dianna “D” Dray calls ballroom dance “therapy for the soul.” With her fellow instructors, she hosts these unorthodox therapy sessions, basing the lessons on the philosophy that “anyone can learn.” On Latin Days (Mondays and Thursdays), the teachers lead salsa, rumba, cha-cha, and samba classes. Other days feature ballroom dances such as the foxtrot and the tango (Tuesdays), and freewheeling swing and hustle classes (Wednesdays). D also leads classes specifically for brides- and grooms-to-be, teaching them the steps to gracefully handle their first dance as a married couple, whether it’s a tactful waltz or a classy hokey pokey.
Upon entering the Count Basie Theatre, guests might feel as though they’ve slipped through a crack in time and ended up in the early 1900s. Opulent marble staircases and gold details grab the eyes of visitors, recalling the decadence of Hollywood’s history and gently pulling them to the auditorium. There, the acoustically pleasing construction wins out as sound spreads and funnels through a sunburst dome embellished with a dangling chandelier. Since opening in 1926, the Count Basie has earned numerous accolades, including a nod from Pollstar magazine, who listed it as one of the Top 100 Worldwide Theatre Venues.
In the kitchen of The Chubby Pickle, cooks whip up homemade specials and prepares Angus short rib patties to serve between brioche buns. As they consume jumbo party wings, patrons can cheer on athletes in football games or pay-per-view UFC fights shown on high-definition TVs mounted on the pickle-green walls. Behind the full bar, staff members fill pint glasses with domestic and imported brews and shake up cocktails against a musical backdrop of karaoke or live music. On mild evenings, the outdoor patio?which has its own set of flat-screen TVs?plays host to themed events and parties.