Before Bogdan and Gosia Wienc founded Magic Dance Club, they had already cast spells across Europe with their elegant footwork. Having conquered the floors of their native Poland as finalists in the Polish National Championships, the couple perfected their craft in England under the tutelage of some of Europe's most esteemed ballroom dance coaches. By the time they made it to Florida, the dancing duo was unstoppable. They were named one of the twelve best couples at the U.S. National Championships in the standard ballroom division and earned membership in the National Dance Council of America.
Now, they're "in the business of making people happy" at their own studio, Magic Dance Club, where students master an array of joyous dances, including the tango, foxtrot, mambo, swing, and the cha cha. All lessons take a three part approach, as students start in private sessions, graduate to group lessons, and then field test their skills during dance parties.
Having seen an upswing in interest in one of the world’s oldest dance styles, Johanna and Karen started a belly-dancing collective in 2004 as a way to create a community for both professionals and students and an audience for monthly showcases. They gave these enthusiasts a brick-and-mortar hangout in 2008 when they opened their first center for classes and events, which has since blossomed and moved into a new space nearly four times the size of the old studio.
Today, Hip Expressions offers drop-in and ongoing classes led by seasoned instructors. Classes focus on introducing newcomers to the art form’s fundamental isolation techniques that keep hips and waists from arguing over the remote. In addition to belly dancing, classes include a variety of other dances and fitness crazes such as Zumba, yoga for dancers, or active isolated stretching.
The consortium of professional instructors at Palm Harbor Dance Studio shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the cha-cha. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and foxtrot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba.
Gypsy Stage Repertory's troupe takes its name to heart. A traveling band of thespians, the company focuses on acting and directing, keeping the sets simple and mobile in order to travel from place to place without wasting time or having to reassemble a full-scale pyramid replica on each stage. The result is a collection of artists who draw the audience in with their concentrated performance, whether putting on a classic by Neil Simon, a new work from Amy and David Sedaris, or a piece by local writer and Gypsy artistic director Lil Barcaski.
As a local non-profit, the State Theatre has vivified the cultural landscape for nearly a century through applause-worthy performances and engaging community programs. Come February, Stomp will explode onto the stage with percussive rhythm and movement, and Glen Burtnik & Friends will honor John Lennon's 70th birthday by serenading a Fab Four-loving crowd with beloved hits such as “Strawberry Fields Forever” and lesser-known tunes such as "Tangerine Terrain Temporarily." Surrender your eardrums to the marching band musicality and show-stopping steppers of DrumLine Live, or treat a theater-craving youngster to the food-fueled metamorphosis of The Very Hungry Caterpillar for a black-lit puppet presentation of a childhood classic.