Whether training to become professional dancers or exploring ballet as a hobby, students at Huntsville Ballet School hone their craft under the guidance of seasoned dance experts. Artistic director Phillip Otto taught master classes in ballet at Yale and Vassar College, and school director Rachel Butler danced and taught across the world in places like China, Australia, and Turkey. The school operates in tandem with the Huntsville Ballet, giving dancers an opportunity to audition for performances alongside the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. Former students have gone on to study at prestigious dance schools across the nation, while others have become mirror models for bedroom danceoffs.
Deemed the "Best Night Out" in Chattanooga by US Travel and Attractions for two years in a row, Vaudeville Cafe is an entertainment chameleon. On some nights, the tables at the spacious dinner theater are packed with families savoring Italian feasts as they try to solve original murder mysteries. Weekend nights have a more adult slant as headlining standup comedians seen on HBO and Comedy Central garner guffaws while guests enjoy a full bar of cocktails, wine, and frozen specialty drinks. But regardless of the event, every evening brims with jolly vaudeville spirit, and every seat in the house offers stellar views of the stage and napping spotlight operator.
Chattanooga DanceSport's qualified instructors can assist dancers of all skill levels, from beginning two-step stompers to professional rug rippers. Private classes allow couples to learn together and solo-swingers to pair off with an instructor in any of the available dance styles, including Rumba, Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing, and California Raisin Shuffle. The main dance floor and its mirror-lined walls set the mood for group classes, which take place from 7–8 p.m. on select weekdays. During each class, a troupe of tyro trotters covers a specific style of body movin'—upcoming sessions include Rumba, Merengue, and the classic waltz.
Music Instruction Studio's university-educated teachers dispense harmonious how-tos during music lessons for students 6 years and older. Offering instruction in pop, jazz, and classical styles, the instructors equip vocalists with belting skills, teach pianists masterful ivory tickling, and inspiring guitarist. Music Instruction Studio stocks its interior with instruments as well as an entire library of sheet music that students can purchase at an additional cost; pupils may also rent out equipment for at-home practice. After stepping up their skills, students can draw on MIS's extensive music studio to showcase newfound abilities and hair-metal power slides during semiannual recitals at no additional charge.
Established in 1954 and having garnered the Birmingham magazine 2010 award for Best Dance Classes, Dale Serrano Dance Inc. and its troupe of talented instructors lead children of all skill levels, aged 2–18, in classes ranging from jazz and ballet to hip-hop, tap, and cheer. Budding ballerinas gracefully plié and gallivant about the class, and musical-theater mavens learn the ins and outs of stage performance. Dancers who commit to additional months of vigilant rehearsal and practice can showcase their talents at the year-end recital or opt for impromptu performances at nearby weddings and city-council investitures.
As part of the Alabama Symphony's Sounds for Summer series, both shows bring contemporary musical entertainment to the ornately gilded, classy venue. The Act of Congress and Three on a String show tickles tiny earhammers with modern bluegrass and genre-spanning hits. Or hear Country's Hit Makers: Behind the Hits, which packs a 15-song set with recent country billboard toppers such as "Cowboy Casanova" and "American Honey." Both shows are conducted by Christopher Confessore, the ASO's principal pops conductor.