Portland Opera has always set its collective eyes on the horizon. Since filling the gaps left by touring troupes and sporadically performing local companies in 1964, it has endeavored to expand the art form on the stage and beyond. Twenty years after its inception, it became just the second company in the US to project English translations of foreign lyrics above the stage, enabling audiences to leave their Italian dictionaries at home. The company also pushes the boundaries of the shows themselves, staging world premiers of classic stories such as Wuthering Heights, commissioning the work Lucy's Lapses, and producing the West Coast premiere of Philip Glass's Orphée. Not to be contained within one performance space, it also established Portland Opera To Go, a touring division that performs works such as Cinderella and La Bohème at schools and community centers.
Beloved boy bands New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys rev the engines of adoration among droves of fans with their poptastic summer tour. New Kids on the Block has been plucking heartstrings and handcrafting harmonies since 1986, combining a collection of international hits such as "Hangin' Tough" and "Step by Step" with five-part choreography and fashionable duds. Following in their footsteps, the Backstreet Boys began blowing up charts in the '90s, producing a songbook replete with favorites such as "I Want It That Way," "All I Have to Give," and "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)." The NKOTBSB Tour brings both acts together for a songful extravaganza, forming the more perfect union prophesied nearly 50 years ago by the Constitution. The May 25 concert also includes the vocal virtuosity of special guest and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, adding to an ear-pleasing stew of dulcet melodies sure to soothe the most savage beast or most irascible mail carrier.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
After several years of suffering through classes filled with tweens, or missing sessions because of rigid scheduling, Evie Graham started her own dance studio. At Vega Dance Lab, everyone from people who have never strapped on groove shoes to seasoned students aged 16 and older can school their left feet or untalented dancing bears in nine dances on a drop-in basis. Shuffle-savvy instructors school pupils in proper ballet technique, burlesque-inspired choreography, and hip-hop cabaret, where dancers perform hip-hop moves with a cabaret-inspired flair.
Teachers also integrate dance into intensive workouts such as Cardio Funk, an exercise regimen set to hip-hop music, or Tease & Tone, a session divided between 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of dance. Lessons kick off six days a week in Vega Dance Lab?s spacious, graffiti-decorated warehouse where students can test their latest moves by dancing out of the way of oncoming forklifts.
Four Horsemen Haunted Attractions spooks its guests twice over with two connected haunted houses spanning more than 18,000 square feet. The gut-wrenching walkthroughs kick off with Primus, where scientists have uncovered strange organisms that showcase advances in science and medicine. But what they uncovered is not at benign as it seemed, causing horrific mutations of the most ancient kind. Four Horsemen's actors elicit screams through dialogue and shocking reveals, elevating the genre beyond cheap-and-dirty scare tactics that usually include dressing up like each guest’s high-school gym teacher. In the connected Hellhouse, guests follow in the footsteps of a film crew hoping to find the mysterious place where a band of serial killers kept their victims. Scripted live-action sequences and seamlessly integrated video back up roving monsters, creating a uniquely immersive haunted experience.
Eschewing the over-the-top costumes and writing that typify many other murder-mystery dinners, The Dinner Detectives’ cast of improvisational actors blends in with audiences, holding secrets tight to their chests while steering each night’s tension-filled storyline. After a diner is found murdered, a resident detective helps lead the investigation, allowing guests to interrogate one another with Tickle Monster tactics to distinguish the culprit among the crowd of fellow diners and dissembling thespians. Multicourse meals keep bodies well fueled during spurts of crime-solving intuition, and a prize basket awaits the gumshoe who comes closest to solving the case.