The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, 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 Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
For Margie Garcia, owner of The Drunk Artist, the word drunk doesn't just refer to being inebriated: it also means being overcome by a strong feeling or emotion. During one of The Drunk Artist's painting classes, students can embrace this double meaning by creating an impassioned piece of art while sipping on BYO beverages. A local artist assists painters of all skill levels in re-creating a chosen masterpiece by demonstrating helpful techniques and doling out the necessary materials. After an evening or afternoon of eating complimentary snacks, pupils leave with a finished painting that can be mounted on the wall or sneaked into a museum in the middle of the night.
In its second event, Immortal Kombat Fighting's 11 scheduled fights bombard a hexagonal cage with its burgeoning brand of strikes, takedowns, and submissions. Both veteran fight fans and novices to mixed martial arts can arrive early to sit close enough to hear the thumps, wallops, and prog-rock lyrics the fighters produce from the cage. Headlining the extensive fight card, up-and-coming middleweight Larry Crowe battles Texas veteran Husam Mohamed. Sharing the top of the bill, Submission Boxing Academy's Justin Ledet looks to dodge the fierce headwinds blown by "Hurricane" Ike Villanueva, nicknamed after the U.S. president he most resembles.
Recently featured on the cover of North of the Border magazine, Southern Concert Group's "Conroe Country Music Jam" and "Rockin' with the Oldies" concerts hoist the flag for fun-inducing tunes with a host of current bands and tribute artists bent on compelling fans' feet into motion. The "Conroe Country Music Jam" show culls five honky-tonk-happy groups for 10 hours of slide guitars and soaring melodies—including the Scooter Brown Band and Sammy Kershaw—that provide an ideal soundtrack for swaying with a loved one or grabbing a bull by the horns and inviting him to line-dance.
Boy-band juggernaut and Nickelodeon sensation Big Time Rush shines like the sun’s sons as its hotly anticipated Big Time Summer Tour enraptures flocks of fans with pop bliss. The fab foursome, known as BTR to fans and preteen stenographers, first snatched the hearts of millions with its eponymous TV show, which is the most-watched live-action series in Nickelodeon’s history. On the group's choreographed carnival of a tour, expert hoofer and crooner Kendall Schmidt leads the affable cast of personalities, which includes James (the ladies' man), Carlos (the joker), and Logan (the smarty warty), through hits from its gold debut, BTR. Chart-topping sophomore album, Elevate, also sees its anthemic tunes represented, such as “Music Sounds Better With U” and “All Over Again.” Expect elastic dance moves from the dapper quadratic and possible numbers from the just-released Big Time Movie, in which BTR covers tunes by obscure boy band The Beatles. Australian wunderkind Cody Simpson starts the show with peppy rallies and aural morality plays about how love can be tough and why stealing your dad’s head to sneak into R-rated movies isn’t cool.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.