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Many dance companies approach ballet from a modern angle. Caroline Calouche prefers a more perpendicular one. When the stage is not enough space for her visions of macabre masquerade balls or surreal dreamscapes, she takes to the air above it, outfitted with a cirque's worth of aerial harnesses and accouterments. Her dancers are just as likely to pirouette down a 20-foot skein of golden silk as across a hardwood floor. Pairs of lovers might hang precariously from the frame of a hollow cube or perform a gravity-defying pas de deux on the double lyra—their suspension above the earth either an expression of freedom or a prison of their own making. Like identifying an elderly smoker's gender over the phone, the airborne element leaves plenty of room for interpretation.

By marrying the storytelling ability of floor-bound choreography with the gravity-defying tricks of circus arts, Caroline Calouche & Co. unleashes the full potential of aerial dance. The company's productions are free to venture to strange new places. For example, in past shows, women have risen from their graves to haunt their murderous husbands. Likewise, the sounds of Moby and Blue Man Group are more likely to be heard than Debussy.

Audience members who want to plqy the ropes and silks for themselves can learn to do so during the dance company's aerial-dance classes, along with a tight curriculum of ballet, contemporary, and stretching and strengthening courses. For all its global influences and aerial showmanship, Caroline Calouche & Co. keeps its feet rooted in the local community with outreach programs for all ages, ethnicities, and social groups.

9129 Monroe Road
Charlotte,
NC
US

Charlotte Comedy Theater's founder, Keli Semelsberger, studied with Amy Poehler and other luminaries of laughter in Chicago before bringing the exhilaration of living in the moment to Charlotte stages. Voted 2012's best improv- or sketch-comedy group by readers of Charlotte magazine, the company's cadre of off-the-cuff funny people delights audiences with interactive short-form shows. Drawing from games and exercises similar to those used on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, R-rated evenings teem with uproarious, impromptu scenes, where the cast takes suggestions from seat-bound participants and tries to ignore the bartender's ceaseless suggestions of "whoopee cushion." Charlotte Comedy Theater doubles as a school where aspiring improvisers learn the tricks of the trade during six-week improv classes, and where beginners can wire their brains to think off the cuff in monthly Improv for Everyone workshops. Charlotte Comedy Theater’s customizable team-building programs encourage small groups to trust their instincts and one another throughout fun, interactive exercises, which sometimes incorporate zip-line and rafting excursions.

900 SEABOARD ST
CHARLOTTE,
NC
US

Hershey Theatre

The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.

707 Pavilion Blvd.
Charlotte,
NC
US

Though Charlotte Checkers history dates back nearly a half-century, today's Checkers made their AHL debut just recently in 2010. As the AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes, the team breeds young talent capable of performing in a professional environment while withstanding gale-force winds. Fans at Time Warner Cable Arena lend their support by drawing up backwards plays on the fogged-up glass, and mascot Chubby entertains the crowd by dancing and riding four-wheelers on the ice at intermission.

333 E Trade St
Charlotte,
NC
US

Carolina Nightlife is a guide to the region?s hottest clubs, restaurants, and bars. The party resource provides useful information as to which spots are the most popular on a given night, and they also include hours, directions, specials, and onsite photo albums so prospective attendees can check out the crowd. The page teems with recommendations on where to go and what to do, with activities that range from speed dating and live music to ping-pong tournaments and Victoria?s Secret Fashion Show viewings.

9005 J M Keynes Drive
Charlotte,
NC
US

The Charlotte 49ers have made seven postseason appearances in the last 11 seasons and are looking to dunk their way into another winning year under the guidance of a new coach. Alan Major helms the ship with 14 years of coaching experience, half of which he coached using only his left hand just to see if he could. Shooting hoops in the electrifying Halton Arena, the 49ers dish out exciting, family-friendly sports entertainment.

9201 University City Boulevard
Charlotte,
NC
US