Joyce Willett School of Dance nurtures young dancers in an emotionally, intellectually, and socially safe space. Instructors encourage students to embrace their creative instincts, exploring music through the movement of their body while developing fine and gross motor skills in a supportive environment. Teachers integrate multiple dance styles into classes, from the precise gestures of ballet to the less-structured movements of hip-hop and jazz. The school's theater-arts preschool program cultivates young performers through theater games and role-play that emphasize socialization. Students learn to not only read picture books but to act out their stories and ultimately leverage their adorable dimples into a two-picture deal plus a cut of merchandising.
Chi Chi Randolph has choreographed routines for hip-hop artists including Nelly and the Black Eyed Peas. Kari Lehman has 15 years of ballet training experience. Viviane Bressan turned her love of belly dance into a career, traversing the globe while teaching and performing the ancient art. At Dance Austin Studio, these three number among more than a dozen dance instructors whose dazzlingly diverse backgrounds enable an array of classes for everyone from preschoolers to grownups and fitness buffs to serious students of dance.
Zumba combines fast-paced cardio choreography with dynamic Latin rhythms, and the 18-and-older Sexy Stiletto Fit class uses high heels to tone calves and build confidence. Students can choose to learn fundamental positions, steps, and vocabulary during structured ballet, lyrical, and jazz programs, or they can develop video-ready swagger during hip-hop classes. The studio’s sense of fun occasionally spills out into the community—it recently teamed up with the city’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to spark a flash mob at city hall, held to raise awareness of emergency preparedness and help officials practice what to do if invaded by dancing aliens.
Black Grace fuses contemporary dance with Pacific and Maori styles—forging a new form of movement at once tribal, thundering, energetic, and suffused with raw spirit. Having toured their homeland to sell-out crowds, the dance troupe has also wowed dance fanatics at many of the world's top dance festivals, including the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Mexico’s Cervantino Festival, and the Aichi World Expo. During their Austin performance, Black Grace will perform a three-part program of the best selections from their repertoire. The show begins with Minoi, a fusion of Samoan and western contemporary dance, followed by excerpts from Surface, a full-length piece centered around Samoan tattooing, before closing with choreographer Neil Ieremia's latest full-length opus, Gathering Clouds.
Dance Zone's scrappy, experienced instructors don't take "I can't, my leg is broken" for an answer. With patience, flair, and commitment to stylishly aerobic fun, they'll lay down the laws of dynamic self-expression, helping you build balance, fitness, and grace. Choose any of Dance Zone's intense, inventive classes. L.A. Street Jazz, Ballet Next, and Cardio Strip-Hop all remix classic disciplines with modern stylings, while Xtreme Abs transforms your stomach into an emergency cheese grater by removing unnecessary uses of the letter "e." Dance Zone also offers Hip-Hop (both intro and intermediate), Contemporary, Breakin', and more. As an added bonus, the Zone's instructors will teach you how to break through your self-consciousness and risk everything for love, despite the objections of your father, Jerry Orbach.
Although Esther's Follies' variety show of music, magic, and comedy recalls the vaudevillian entertainment of yesteryear (albeit with a more acerbic modern bent), the nostalgia goes beyond just the performances. The longstanding venue and comedy troupe was named after Esther Williams, the Golden Age starlet whose career as a professional swimmer led to numerous iconic MGM films. Posters for several of these pictures are plastered throughout the space, and an undersea mural bustling with brightly-hued coral, kaleidoscopic marine life, and even a Loch Ness monster further contributes to Esther's otherworldly, aquatic theme. The magical environment, along with the shows themselves, have wowed audiences and Austin Chronicle critics alike.
On the production end, Esther's Follies busts guts in record speed with satirical quips on current events; relevant parodies; and high-stepping, fast-paced comedy sketches. Resident magician Ray Anderson keeps things light with levitation illusions known to dazzle crowds. As the Follies cast ignites into choral skewerings of front-page newsmakers, audiences will laugh so hard that giggles come out their noses.
Adapted from the popular 1988 film, this vibrant and crowd-pleasing musical follows two con men, Lawrence and Freddy, as they battle over the affections and bank account of Christine Colgate, a beautiful young heiress. Featuring Austin favorite Andrew Cannata as Freddy and an award-winning cast including Joe Penrod, Patty Rowell, and Michelle Cheney, the musical follows the two peddlers as they traipse through the French Riviera, outdueling each other for love of money and the right to pay for the popcorn.
The Dinner Detective eschews campy costumes and plots for an exciting evening of food-accompanied mystery and paranoia, where actors hide among the diners, playing innocent and making everyone a potential suspect. To solve the crime, guests freely interrogate one another, chivvying out clues about the murderer and determining who has a bloodthirsty look in their eyes. Between dramatic deaths and simulated police involvement, guests dig into four-course meals, washed down with bottomless iced tea and drinks from the cash bar. The diner who comes closest to solving the mystery through their snooping goes home with a prize basket to show off to their friends or split with the murderer as per their shadowy conspiracy.