On Friday nights at Crosby Whistle Stop dance hall, the floorboards heat up under the swinging steps of students, regulars, and teachers cutting a rug at Boston Swing’s Central’s weekly social dances. Sometimes it’s pre-recorded tunes and sometimes it’s a live band inspiring the boogiers, but either way, it’s a rollicking good time for all ages and skill levels and no partner is required.
The weekly party, which starts with a group class from 8-9 p.m. and then transforms into a free-for-all from 9 p.m. – 12 a.m., is the focal point of the non-profit dance organization. Boston Swing Central also offers classes and boot camps where dance instructors teach you how to do the east coast, lindy hop, and Charleston.
The low thrum of an electric bass. The clean jangle of an electric piano. At School of Groove, owner Christopher Vuk presides over instructors as they fill the space with music and help students through scales, rhythms, and eventually full pieces on a wide range of instruments. The teachers have played music alongside musicians including Herbie Hancock, John Mayer, and Paul Simon, and guest rock musicians occasionally lead sessions to impart their skills or explain why they think every smashable guitar is full of candy. In private lessons and group sessions, hands-on practice illuminates the processes of improvising, writing, and recording music. Students at the school can also join a band, where they'll write their own music, build teamwork skills, and perform at venues such as Hard Rock Cafe and Ryles Jazz Club.
Now celebrating 130 years of health, fitness, and community, YMCA remains true to its lasting mission of physical and social enrichment for men, women, and kids of all ages. Staff members uphold the YMCA’s core values of honesty, acceptance, and fairness as they invest in their community’s children and strengthen family bonds critically weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. They pump up adult-fitness regimens with aquatic fitness and boot-camp classes, personal training, and a full gymnasium outfitted with equipment for basketball, boxing, and rope-skipping. They’ve also filled their fitness center with free weights, cardio equipment, and rowing machines. When they’re not helping adults trim down waistlines during yoga, cycling, and aerobics classes, staff members are getting back in touch with their inner children. They stimulate imagination, mental development, and growth as they lead children’s day camps, after-school programs, and youth basketball.
Cultural development is also a priority at the Cambridge YMCA, fulfilled through operas and plays held in Durrell Hall, the center's historic Victorian theater. This YMCA outpost further strengthens and unites the Cambridge community through its Central House facility, a 128-unit, substance-free housing complex that shelters men in need.
Unlike the premium-cable version of Curious George, ComedySportz shows eschew racy material, going so far as to place a brown paper bag over the head of any performer who crosses the boundaries of good taste. The game-based comedy format pits two refereed teams of improvisers against each other, drawing from a repertoire of more than 100 improv scenes for their battleground. Over the course of 7 to 12 games, the red- and blue-clad teams may perform in Shakespearean verse or rapidly fast-forward and reverse a scene at the referee's whim. The audience, meanwhile, is tasked with generating suggestions, choosing the winners at evening's end, and gently consoling the losing team with made-up aspirational quotes.
This formula has proved successful since 1984, when the first ComedySportz flung open its curtains. Now, the franchise has expanded to major comedy hubs including Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. The latest addition to the fold, ComedySportz Boston, lassos the same spirit and off-the-cuff hilarity as its predecessors, dazzling onlookers with its teamwork, clean but uproarious humor, and ability to turn an audience suggestion into a fully fleshed out scene.
Salsa y Control's instructors—who have performed and taught across the nation—welcome students for a variety of salsa classes. Beginner salsa courses help dancers develop basic steps, techniques, and etiquette, and more advanced courses delve into refining footwork and working with partners. Salsa y Control also offers intermediate classes, along with classes on bachata, burlesque, and cha cha.
Though Central Square Theater dates back only to 2008, its resident troupes, The Nora Theatre Company and the Underground Railway Theater, predate the building by 20 and 30 years respectively. With two large, diversely talented companies, the theater is able to produce something for all ages, from playful puppet shows for little ones to challenging works for grown-ups, such as Car Talk: The Musical!