Dina Innominato firmly believes that "everybody knows how to dance, even if they think they can't." To prove this assertion, she opened up a neighborhood dance haven with her friend and fellow dance enthusiast Barb Duff in 2003. Over the course of eight years, the passionate duo has taught more than 4,700 classes and seen more than 75,000 students aged 7 to 70 walk through their intimate, mirror-lined studio, previously named Nia Underground. Since opening, they've acquired a team of instructors to help broaden the spread of classes, which now includes hoop sculpting and strength-training courses. Whether they're teaching students in the studio's signature More than Dance class—created and trademarked by both Innominato and Duff—or in the globally-inspired Zumba class, they work to cultivate a supportive and noncompetitive space where people with and without previous dance experience can let loose, shed pounds, and learn new ways to ceremoniously lacerate rugs.
After descending the stairs to the subterranean dance space bathed in soft, red LED lights, students leave their differences at the door. According to a glowing feature in the Capitol Hill Times, all participants, regardless of age, build, or experience level, "move together…hooting and hollering" as they joyously shake, rattle, and electric-slide across the hardwood floor.
Working from the founder's family recipe, Seattle Fudge's confectioners begin each batch by boiling ingredients—including chocolate, dairy cream, and nuts—in a copper kettle. After cooling the fudge on a marble table—a process that often sends the confection flying through the air—they form 25-pound loaves by hand. The whole process is on display at Seattle Fudge's red-and-white open kitchen, where onlookers can track every ingredient's journey from the kettle to trays of free samples. The store's 11 flavors include almond toffee crunch, chocolate amaretto, and minty, Oreo-specked vanilla fudge called Grasshopper, named in honor of the insect with an Oreo-only diet.
Along with the signature treat, Seattle Fudge's candy makers whip up saltwater taffy, showcasing old-fashioned taffy pullers and cutters. Available in blue raspberry and pink vanilla, cotton candy is also spun fresh onsite. Tubs of regular and caramel popcorn offer salty alternatives to sweet snacks. In addition to Seattle Center, where the fudge shop has been a fixture since 1981, Seattle Fudge's sweets are sold at local fairs and festivals throughout the year.
Savor Seattle's founder, Angela Shen, heads a knowledgeable staff of devout gourmands, who pilot culinary walking excursions that have earned abundant accolades from the likes of Bon Appetit, USA Today, and Sunset magazine. The guides brandish Savor Seattle's signature pink umbrella during the informative tours, which grant anywhere from 12 to 16 pedestrians access to tastings of fresh, seasonal, and organic fare at up to nine local eateries. Neighborhood outings allow tour-goers to sample the flavors of favorite spots, such as Capitol Hill and Pike Place Market, without the hassle of going door-to-door asking for samples of homeowners' dinners. Themed jaunts spotlight specific culinary heavy hitters, such as gourmet restaurants and chocolatiers. At every pit stop, chefs and restaurateurs divulge behind-the-scenes stories and recipes, and can modify samples to fit dietary restrictions.
The jazz standard ?Flying Home? brought Savoy Swing Club?s founders together in 1993 at a dance camp, after which the group of friends began meeting regularly to keep the choreography fresh in their minds. The troupe?s dedication to the lindy hop and other jazz-era dances gradually blossomed into the club?s current calendar of professionally staffed classes, workshops, and dance events. Classes grouped by skill level progressively transform students with two left feet or three right toes into fleet-footed hoofers, imparting classic moves that help nurture a sense of rhythm and speed. Each week, students of all levels can take part in Savoy Mondays, a decade-long tradition, as DJs and a single trumpeting swan provide background music for dancers to sharpen their moves. And on the first and third Fridays of every month, the basement of the local Bagel Deli becomes the Blues Underground, where a free introductory blues lesson is followed by a late night of dancing.
The Queen of Seattle was built in the early 1980s—about a century after the era after which she's styled. For many years the vessel transported sightseers across the Sacramento River, under the name Elizabeth Louise. She briefly relocated to Alaska before finding her home in Seattle, where she has ferried private, public, and charter passengers across Lake Union and Lake Washington Ship Canal waters. Her tours are known for blending historical narration with on-board cabaret-style entertainment.
The 275-passenger ship is a unique sight on Seattle's waterways, fully evoking the late 1800s with steam-powered rear paddles and a staff that dons period costumes. Below deck, a viewing area unveils the ancient secrets behind the boat's actual 1884 reciprocating steam engines, allowing guests to watch the mighty pistons whistle while they work or take occasional smoke breaks.
When Photo Center NW was originally founded in the early 1980s it was known as the Exposure School of Photography. Since then it has undergone numerous transformations, some of which included becoming a nonprofit organization and an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Now standing as a mecca for students and creators in the Pacific Northwest art community, the center hosts regular exhibitions in addition to a robust curriculum of classes and workshops. Their faculty conducts 53-credit certification programs and 10-week courses within the facility’s four labs devoted to black-and-white and digital photography. The building also houses an immense reference library and plans to add a daylight studio and a playground for the cameras to relax in the very near future.