A sprawling mandala design covers the floor of Plaza de Anaya's main dance studio, welcoming dancers in with warmth and beauty. Amid that artistic setting, seasoned instructors teach dance styles from around the world that include belly dancing, barefoot flamenco, and anaya tribal dancing. Cultural gatherings are an important part of the school's community, which is why the studio also schedules an array of monthly events and workshops that might be dance-based or include henna tattoos that dance when you pinch them.
The first Improv comedy club had virtually nothing to do with comedy. Broadway producer Budd Friedman founded the now legendary franchise in 1963 as an intimate spot where performers could eat, drink coffee, and sing along to piano ditties after their shows. Soon after, the club's first comedian, Dave Astor, tried out some new material on a whim. The stand-up set was a hit and led to the venue's eventual transformation into a full-blown comedy club. New York's hottest comedians would do nearly anything to be featured on the Improv stage; for instance, it's rumored that Lily Tomlin hijacked a parked limousine in order to make a stunning entrance when first meeting Budd.
Since 1988, Tempe Improv has lived up to the lofty reputation of its parent club by showcasing comedic heavyweights such as Kevin Nealon, Carlos Mencia, and Pablo Francisco. A diverse calendar draws instantly recognizable comics from the airwaves of the E! channel and Comedy Central, but it also opens up the stage to promising up-and-comers. A menu of bar food and drinks ensures audiences stay fueled and ready to laugh throughout the evening.
Mesa Arts Center curates artistic goings-on inside a sleek structure filled with four theaters, five art galleries, and 14 art studios. Graced by the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and Bill Cosby, the stages of the facility's theaters showcase a cultural cocktail of live music, Broadway, dance, and comedy performances. Grooming the next generation of artisans with the help of advanced equipment, seasoned instructors teach everything from acting and beading to woodworking and welding during art classes tailored to both kids and adults.
For inspiration, students and visitors can stroll through the galleries of the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum for glimpses at a revolving selection of contemporary art from international artists. Speckled with gardens, shapely architecture, and colorful lighting, the facility’s modern grounds welcome guests for everyday visits or annual events and festivals.
The Rockin' R Ranch transports vacationers exhausted by city stressors to a working Old West dude ranch nestled in the mountains of Utah. Visiting cowboys spend the night in the massive, barn-stylized lodge, which grants views of the countryside from a rustic common area decorated with a deer-antler chandelier and mounted moose. The Spartan rooms mirror the foresty feel of the lodge with simple décor, quilted beds, and private baths to wash up after a long day teaching yearlings how to tie their hooves.