Whether they're leading three-year-olds in creative movement, or coaching teenage ballet stars, the instructors at Motion Dance Studio have two priorities: building skill and building confidence. They've been tutoring dance students for 24 years, and their curriculum encompasses styles such as jazz, tap, hip-hop, and musical theater. Throughout the year, their dancers aren't only mastering steps?they're also performing them at the studio's annual June recital, as well as during community and holiday shows.
Boasting one of the largest venues in the Triad, and blessed by the muses since 1934, Twin City Stage gives the Winston-Salem community a place to both experience live theater and perform in it. Mitch Albom’s comedy, Duck Hunter Shoots Angel, follows a couple of cockamamie duck hunters who believe they’ve shot an angel and are relentlessly pursued by a cynical tabloid journalist and his reluctant photographer—but everything changes when they stumble upon a pair of wings and a tiara. Like most Thanksgiving dinners, the production wittily intertwines a love story, garish media, cultural stereotypes, and a character that is half alligator and half man.
On Stage's seasoned dance instructors provide bodily instruction to a range of students interested in learning the art of dance, from toddlers wishing to perfect their pirouettes to adults desiring to learn jazz, tap, or hip-hop struts. A smorgasbord of classes spans the age gamut, sending burgeoning boogiers ages 2–11 cavorting through basic moves and techniques that encompass tumbling, ballet, jazz, and tap. Or enroll sprouts in the Musical Theatre class, a session that fuses the art of dance with vocal training to give them the skills necessary to melodically showcase talents and properly choreograph foot-stomping temper tantrums. Older dancers and adults can choose from lyrical, ballet, tap, and jazz, or shake hips with the more mainstream dance moves of hip-hop. Each class combines the enjoyment of dance with a full-body workout that's more fun than chasing donuts inside an oversize gerbil wheel.
Many dance companies approach ballet from a modern angle. Caroline Calouche prefers a more perpendicular one. When the stage is not enough space for her visions of macabre masquerade balls or surreal dreamscapes, she takes to the air above it, outfitted with a cirque's worth of aerial harnesses and accouterments. Her dancers are just as likely to pirouette down a 20-foot skein of golden silk as across a hardwood floor. Pairs of lovers might hang precariously from the frame of a hollow cube or perform a gravity-defying pas de deux on the double lyra—their suspension above the earth either an expression of freedom or a prison of their own making. Like identifying an elderly smoker's gender over the phone, the airborne element leaves plenty of room for interpretation.
By marrying the storytelling ability of floor-bound choreography with the gravity-defying tricks of circus arts, Caroline Calouche & Co. unleashes the full potential of aerial dance. The company's productions are free to venture to strange new places. For example, in past shows, women have risen from their graves to haunt their murderous husbands. Likewise, the sounds of Moby and Blue Man Group are more likely to be heard than Debussy.
Audience members who want to plqy the ropes and silks for themselves can learn to do so during the dance company's aerial-dance classes, along with a tight curriculum of ballet, contemporary, and stretching and strengthening courses. For all its global influences and aerial showmanship, Caroline Calouche & Co. keeps its feet rooted in the local community with outreach programs for all ages, ethnicities, and social groups.
• For $44, you get two upper-balcony (balcony rows LL–WW) tickets (a $68 value before fees, or up to an $86.30 value online, including all ticketing fees). • For $60, you get two lower-balcony (mezzanine rows AA–KK) tickets (a $97 value before fees, or up to a $116.20 value online, including all ticketing fees).