Although the 24- to 28-member Houston Chamber Choir resists categorization, there may be one thing that defines the group: flexibility. Equally comfortable performing Bach's B minor mass with period instruments or singing along with Dave Brubeck and his quartet for an evening of choral jazz, it's no wonder Everett Evans of the Houston Chronicle dubbed the choir "one of the jewels of the city's cultural scene." And together they're a jewel that shares its sparkle with the world. The choir's concerts have spanned from the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City all the way to Wales while taking special care to promote the music of Texas composers.
Dancers, black belts, and trained yoga gurus, the instructors at The Synergy Studios come from all walks of life. They each bring a different approach to overall wellness to the school. Classes take place in the historic Pearl brewery in studios with soaring cathedral ceilings and honey-hued hardwood floors.
Zumba sessions fill the room with the rumble of moving feet and quick breaths. Contented sighs drift out during meditation and yoga courses, which balance physical fitness and relaxation and help contribute to overall wellbeing. Some sessions are designed for particular groups, such as athletes, expecting mothers, and groups who always have to stick together because of what they saw in a mysterious cave.
When Dancing With the Stars' contestants Emmitt Smith, Mark Cuban, Michael Irvin, and Jake Pavelka needed a place to sharpen their rug-cutting capabilities, Cheryl Burke told them to look no further than Studio 22. Studio 22's talented instructors even performed on Dancing With the Stars in October of 2012. Founded by internationally ranked Latin dancing couple Sergey Korshunov and Michelle Hafle, the studio lassos a stable of instructors handpicked from the highest levels of professional competition. Their group classes and private lessons give beginners and seasoned dancers alike the opportunity to polish their performance in styles as diverse as Argentine tango, salsa, ballroom, swing, and country and western.
The 6,200-square-foot studio accommodates classes of every size with its rich wooden floors, wall-length mirrors, and plush leather seating with which to rest feet between exercises and build forts whenever the instructor leaves the room. Studio 22 also hosts weekly dance parties that give students a chance to take new partners for a twirl in convivial, BYOB soirées.
Although Stewart Yaros has performed with numerous elite companies, including the Boston Ballet and the Basel Ballet in Switzerland, his true passion is teaching dance. Teaching allowed the University of Massachusetts and Martha Mahr School of Ballet alumnus to combine his finely honed dance expertise and his zeal for communicating with others via the "common language" of dance in particular and the arts in general.
That theme of unity and togetherness dates back to the early days of Dance International, circa 1991, when the now bustling center for dance tutoring consisted of three students, their devoted teacher, and an old player piano that played Chopsticks. Today, the organization has swelled into a hub for upbeat, accessible instruction from professional-level teachers and is well-known for organizing the Austin Ballroom Festival.
Part of the guiding vision for Dance International is a focus on community service, as well as promoting the arts by introducing music and visual forms into the dance milieu. True to its multidisciplinary ambitions, the Dance International empire recently achieved 501(c)3 national nonprofit status and will soon add art and music classes.
Dedicated operateers and burgeoning aria appreciators congregate within Amarillo Opera's modernly appointed amphitheater to satisfy their theatrical cravings. On April 2, a gaggle of talented rafter shakers present The Italian Straw Hat, a frolicsome farce from Nino Rota, the composer of The Godfather's solemn soundtrack and rollicking baptismal tap-dance number. The harmony-heavy performance relays the tale of a hapless husband-to-be who finds himself contending with a lady and her beau after his horse devours her enticing straw hat.
It seems every week unearths another homicide to solve at the Murder by Chocolate secret passage-filled mansion. Fortunately, the theater is regularly full of amateur sleuths eager to unravel the truth. Its interactive performances usually include dinner catered from Carrabba's Italian Grill, a dessert buffet, and non-alcoholic drinks. Example shows include their weekly family friendly Comedy Magic Show and the mysterious Tea and Murder show, which takes place every week in the coffee shop.