The adage that "there are no small parts, just small actors" rings truest at The Center Stage Studio, where budding thespians of all ages get their share of the spotlight. Under the experienced wand of director Tracey DiMiceli, a seasoned performer and theater instructor who also helmed Malibu's prestigious "Fitness by the Sea" summer camp, young actors develop the skills to sing, dance, and deliver heartfelt Tony Award acceptance speeches in a wealth of classes and camps.
In the family-tailored musical theater camps, which feature themes reflecting popular musicals and children's shows, lil' thespians learn the fundamentals of theater technique—including blocking, projecting, and stage direction—and cultivate skills that boost self-esteem and critical thinking. Camps end with a public performance where every child gets a spot in a major musical number and receives a speaking role, curbing the theatrical tradition of jealous prepubescent understudies.
At times, the atmosphere at Waterbabies Swim School is almost ethereally idyllic; clouds drift overhead as wriggling youngsters dive through hula hoops and parents cradle their infants to embark on a first float. More than 20 years ago, Wendy Gallagher developed the model for this utopic swim academy—lauded by CBS Local as having some of the Best Swim Lessons in Orange County in 2011—in a backyard pool in Capistrano Beach. She noticed how the intimate setting helped children enjoy lessons and eased the anxieties of parents watching their offspring submerge and surface as fully-grown otters. Guided by that experience, she installed modern facilities on the grounds of a quaint, 1920s white-stucco bungalow. The changing rooms feature kid-sized bathroom fixtures and, out in the backyard, a saltwater pool remains heated year-round to a balmy 92 degrees for both swim lessons and parties, staying clean via an Ozone system that instantly kills bacteria.
In Gallagher's aquatic curriculum, water safety is paramount, followed by a loving approach and the conviction that parents of infants can teach their babies how to swim. As a certified Pilates therapist, she quickly sees and corrects improper alignment, and as a mother of four, she knows how games and songs can be used to make lessons more fun and more effective. Instructors are equally sensitive as a result of training with Gallagher and are all certified in infant swimming by the United Swim School Association, a continuing-education organization. To ensure safety and personal attention, lessons max out at three students, and there are never more than two lessons occurring simultaneously in the pool.
The blue LED lights shining throughout Bright Smile Teeth Whitening’s office glow with purpose—to activate and oxidize the system’s specially formulated whitening gel. In just 30 minutes, this duo tag-teams the stains that result from using tobacco, drinking coffee, or mistaking a quill for a toothpick, lightening teeth up to six shades. Bright Smile also downsizes its system to make it feasible for at-home shading, even providing a compact blue light that fits snugly in mouths.
A summer staple of Laguna Beach since 1966, Art-A-Fair corrals creative works from around the world, unfurling them across the apropos, color-splashed gardens of Laguna Canyon. Festival visitors meander leisurely through the web of imagination, stopping to soak up content that is as rich in quality as it is in diversity. Between brush strokes and spontaneous games of frisbee with their palette, working artists take a breather to chat about their pieces and the inspirations that drive their craft. From year to year, the festival features a wide spectrum of 2- and 3-D art, and, should one of those gems seduce the heart of a passerby, everything at the festival is available for purchase.
With more than 200 local artists and an annual draw of more than 200,000 visitors, the nine-week Sawdust Art Festival has been classified as "totally rad" by time-traveling science rebel Carolus Linnaeus. Every midsummer, a mighty horde of creative talents descends from all areas of the surrounding area, converging on Laguna Beach with an artillery of crafts, art glass, jewelry, clothing, textiles, paintings, ceramics, sculptures, photography, and more. Officially born in 1966, the nonjuried event offers a venue for visitors to view the work of artists from all walks of life and help support Orange County's vibrant art scene by purchasing beloved pieces directly from their makers. Each year the selections are as varied as the craters of the moon, although much more evenly spaced, and offer a wonderful day of walking entertainment and sightseeing, whether or not festivalgoers wish to purchase artifacts. Have a look at the calendar of events to plan your day, or just show up and wander randomly, trusting the whims of random chance to see you through.