For almost 50 years, Virginia Ballet Company and School has borrowed from the rich, centuries-old traditions of Russian ballet to mold fledgling tip-toers into strong, agile, and graceful dancers. Following the expertly adapted choreography of the studio's late co-founding artistic director, Tania Rousseau, a cast of professional dancers prepares students ages three and up to participate in school-run classical productions, granting them the opportunity to twirl into important roles such as The Nutcracker or The Helicopter Propeller. The company hosts classes of varying difficulties in a studio with raised, spring-loaded floors that reduce injury, fixed and portable handrails, and wall-length mirrors for checking and correcting posture.
Inside the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall & Arts Center, works of art grow like flowers in a greenhouse. Amid the Mary Collier Baker Theater’s rich wood paneling and burgundy upholstery, symphony concerts burst to life, fed by stunning acoustics. The Margaret W. and Joseph L. Fisher Art Gallery, on the other hand, lets the work hanging on the walls do the talking, trumpeting the skills of local visionaries as they explore the bounds of aesthetic media.
An old-fashioned ambiance reigns in The Carlyle Club, expressed in an art-deco design scheme, frequent visits from respected jazz musicians, and guests’ predilections for saying “horse feathers.” Tall palm fronds back cushy leather booths and elegant marble tables loiter near the bar, all within sight of the intimate, blue-curtained stage. A bow-tied wait staff completes the back-in-time vibe, as do vintage posters and the intricately patterned wallpaper.
The 2nd Annual Art, Wine & All That Jazz Festival promises a day of world-class jazz and the chance to sample an array of palate-delighting wines. This year's line-up includes soulful jazzy vocalist Ericka Ovette, Maryland blues 'n' boogie musician Deanna Bogart, and jazzy axe-shredding group the Dan Leonard Trio. Fermentation fans can smell, taste, and fill squirt-guns with the wares of regional wineries such as Lexington Valley Vineyard, Philip Carter Winery of Virginia, and more. More than 125 artists will be on-hand and eager to issue high-fives, do demonstrations, and chat about their work. Lectures covering art and wine will take place in the performance tent throughout the day.
The former Metropolitan Fine Arts Center founded more than 14 years ago has recently joined forces with the Metropolitan School of The Arts. This multidisciplinary performing-arts organization fosters choreographed skills and creates performance opportunities in dance, music, and theater for a diverse population of students of all ages and abilities. Its students have gone to perform on Broadway, at The Juilliard School, and in highly esteemed companies, such as the Mark Morris Dance Company, The Washington Ballet, and Microsoft. Youth programs include musical-theater and fine-arts workshops, as well as ballet and other half-day dance camps for children as young as 3. Adult classes range from basic to advanced, including ballet, jazz, and tap lessons, plus yoga and ballet-barre fitness workouts.