Thomas and Friends Live! stars the beloved characters of Thomas, Percy, Diesel, and all their friends in a fun-filled theatrical extravaganza. The latest production, Thomas Saves the Day, follows the gaggle of anthropomorphic trains as they prepare for the annual Magic Lantern Festival on the island of Sodor. As the engines work together to repair the lighthouse that guides visitors to the island, children will learn important lessons in discovery, friendship, cooperation, and how to slip loose from a giant octopus while scuba diving. The 90-minute musical's brand-new songs will have tots clamoring in adulation for an encore and throwing gummy bears onto the stage, the highest form of pre-K praise.
With students featured in spotlight-grabbing settings such as America’s Thanksgiving Parade and Detroit Pistons halftime shows, Deborah’s Stage Door’s Deborah Agrusa and her award-winning staff hone twirls, taps, notes, and general razzmatazz for preschoolers through adults. Young toes yearning for terpsichorean know-how learn the ropes in Deborah Stage Door’s preschool rhythm class, as preschoolers romp their way through a combination of tap and ballet, learning balance and coordination along the way. More experienced dancers increase skills and decrease the chances of losing a street fight to the Sharks with a smorgasbord of ballet, jazz, tap, or hip-hop strutting courses taught in both the summer and fall. In addition to dance, Deborah Stage Door’s college of musical knowledge nurtures budding songbirds with performing-arts classes including show choir and acting.
The Avon Players have transported audiences to alternate worlds with full-scale, community-sourced theatrical productions since 1947. Tony Award–winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (January 13–28) spins an uproarious tale of a group of adolescent misfits competing for first place in the titular bee, and Mixed Nuts (March 2–17) sets the perspective of a Midwest transplant and aspiring writer against a zany New York apartment complex. Secret Garden recreates Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic children's novel on the stage, wringing sniffles from even the happiest of comedy masks and sending haunting music emanating from the enchanting Yorkshire estate where the story unfolds. The theater's dramatic double A-frame building stands out against a scrim of trees and forces tardy, helicopter-bound guests to land in the parking lot like everyone else.
Eisenhower Dance Center gives bodies a jolt of electricity––that extra burst of energy that brings dance to life. Its dance classes train dancers of all ages how to perform the precise techniques of ballet, contemporary, jazz, hip hop, and tap so that they can express themselves in the most beautiful way possible. Summer camps incorporate the basics of creative movement into themed princess and pirate sessions for younger kids and decades or international themes for older kids. As students progress from beginner to advanced to professional, they can move into the touring professional dance company and perform choreographies alongside their instructors at shows around the world.
As part of Meadow Brook Theatre's fourth annual children's series, the World Music Tour with Guy Louis embarks on a high-energy waltz around the globe. Without leaving the intimate, 500-seat theater, music fans journey from continent to continent alongside riff guru Guy Louis, whose instrumental prowess and vast knowledge of foreign tax codes help celebrate a variety of worldly cultures. Fast fretting draws out the differences and shared traits between European lutes, Indian sitars and tambouras, and modern electric guitars, and infectious beats take over in explorations of Native American and African percussion. Louis' animated performing style pulls young audiences into the action and motivates even the most bashful shadows to twist and shout.
When two practiced athletes engage one another in the Brazilian art of capoeira, it’s a sight to behold. At first blush, the practice seems to be some sort of nonviolent martial art with aerial kicks and backflips, though with closer inspection, its underlying influences of acrobatics, dance, and rhythmic problem-solving become obvious, as the two capoeiraistas lock minds in a state of fluid improvisation, rather than competition. The history of the medium intertwines with hundreds of years of Brazilian culture, originating with slaves that were brought from Africa to harvest sugar and tobacco and blossoming into an outlet for cultural expression and political protest.
Baz Michaeli founded The Michigan Center for Capoeira in February of 2007 as a way to introduce the sport to his community and preserve its cultural traditions, garnering attention from press outlets such as the Farmington Observer and Jewish News. Baz is certified as a capoeira instructor as well as a ACSM personal trainer, and challenges newcomers of every ability level to improve their flexibility, endurance, and mental strategizing by participating in a class. The center assembles at the Franklin Athletic Club and Troy Dance Studio, and interested participants should take a look at the calendar for an idea of upcoming class times and locations.