Students at the Stevan Grebel Center for Dance become metaphorical cousins of such legends as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev. That's because Stevan Grebel, like those shining stars, was taught by none other Alexander Pushkin, the headmaster of the Leningrad Choreographic School from the 1940s through the 1960s. But Grebel goes beyond the ancient dance form—and even beyond the stage itself. Students ages 3 and older can sign up not only for jazz, tap, lyrical, and hip-hop dance classes, but also for supplementary programs that cover forms of creative motion such as ice skating, cheering, gymnastics, and yoga. Classes are grounded in the Vaganova ballet technique, a melding of the graceful French style and the more athletic Italian school.
Magic City Ballroom Dance Studio's experienced instructional feet ignite the dance floor with a variety of lessons that demystify the art of rhythmic motion for dancers of all skill levels. Dance styles such as the tango, mambo, and samba infuse hips with infectious Latin rhythms while the Viennese Waltz, the fox trot, and the lindy step add pizzazz to wedding dances or an expressive trip down the produce aisle. Not content to only host energetic classes, the studio also supports one-day dance competitions, inviting dancers to show off their hard work for a chance at prizes and statues of bronzed jazz hands.
Northern Alabama’s only professional, regional opera company, Opera Birmingham showcases some of the freshest young talent from all over the world, singing classic operatic pieces. Its Home for the Holidays show ushers eardrums into the season of eggnog and electric reindeer with a sonic slate of holiday favorites, led by four soloists. Those who opt to become subscribers will get side front orchestra seats to four shows bursting forth from surround-sound vocal chords throughout the 2010–2011 season. In addition to Home for the Holidays, other shows are Faust, Lucia di Lammermoor, and The Great Wagner Concert. Season subscribers also receive invitations to exclusive events, such as the annual subscriber brunch. Forgo another year of listening to alley cats perform a Bach oratorio and instead hit up Opera Birmingham for easy-to-digest ear candy.
As part of the Alabama Symphony's Sounds for Summer series, both shows bring contemporary musical entertainment to the ornately gilded, classy venue. The Act of Congress and Three on a String show tickles tiny earhammers with modern bluegrass and genre-spanning hits. Or hear Country's Hit Makers: Behind the Hits, which packs a 15-song set with recent country billboard toppers such as "Cowboy Casanova" and "American Honey." Both shows are conducted by Christopher Confessore, the ASO's principal pops conductor.
Birmingham Children's Theatre aims to mint pint-sized playwrights, actors, and audience members. It has pursued this goal since its inception in 1947, impacting more than 170,000 children and their 170,000 imaginary friends annually. The theater's kid-friendly programming not only introduces kids to the theater, but also initiates them into the production process. Since 1982, its New Voices Project has yielded upward of 50 original scripts, stories, musicals, and adaptations for young audiences, all while celebrating artistic experimentation and supporting promising new playwrights.
This rendition of the J.M. Barrie–penned childhood classic stars Sarah Litzsinger, the longest-running Belle in the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast, and features well-known songs such as "I Won't Grow Up," "I'm Flying," and "Pirate Song." A source of nostalgia for adults and an early introduction to magic, wonder, and spandex tights for the young, Peter Pan is exciting and engaging for all ages. Watch as Pan leads his wily pack of Lost Boys away from grown-up responsibilities such as showering or tax returns, all while the villainous Captain Hook seeks five-fingered revenge on the Neverland hero. And if the play's the thing, the theater itself is the other star of the show. The complex, constructed of more than one million bricks, is set in a scenic 250-acre park featuring English-style grounds, a lake, and an authentic invisible Loch Ness monster.