Having blossomed into a professional theater company, Theatre Horizon provides opportunities to aspiring directors, actors, producers, and designers during a schedule of year-round productions, including seasonal shows that celebrate the spirit of the holidays. This December, the company provides an escape from blustery winds and pickpocketing snowmen with Voices of Christmas, which spotlights the works of song-crafting legends such as John Lennon, Patty Griffin, Ingrid Michaelson, and others. During each performance, some of Philadelphia's top talents assemble inside the intimate theater to tickle ears with musical nostalgia more comforting than a hug from a giant squid. As an added bonus, the December 11 show includes a post-performance Q & A session, affording guests the chance to stay and chat with the cast and creative team.
Certified boxing coach Alden Washington was born into a family of boxers. His father, in between teaching boxing classes in the US Army and Navy, began coaching him in the pugilistic arts at the age of 10. Alden took to the sport, winning boxing titles in Silver and Golden Gloves competitions, all while earning his black belt in bando, Chinese kenpo, and tae kwon do. In 1980, the consummate athlete began coaching students, conducting classes in kickboxing as well as sprinting and sports conditioning.
At Washington Boxing Academy, Alden combines his extensive title-taking and teaching experience to conduct kickboxing classes for all ages. Amid the professional heavy bags and cushioned floors of his studio, the certified coach infuses kickboxing routines with rounds of creative exercises, including jumping rope, shadowboxing while holding weights, and slamming massive tires with hammers. In personal sessions, he spurs on advanced boxers as they spar in the studio's full-size boxing ring. He also provides students with fundamental self-defense tips, such as how to a catch an oncoming fist mid-punch or halt a flung pie midair.
A mechanical bull bucks in Deuces Wild Buckin' Bull Saloon, Valley Forge Casino Resort's onsite rock-‘n’-roll and country bar. Revelers clad in cowboy boots strut through line dances with drinks in hand beneath the dance floor's green and blue lights. But unlike the Wild West, there's no blazing desert outside. Instead, there are 3,600 lush acres of national-park land, whose hiking trails hibernate beneath glinting winter snow. Inside the hotel, 600 slot machines and 50 tables of blackjack, craps, and roulette fill the casino. Seven onsite restaurants cater to different cravings: there's casual sushi at Asianoodle, and Pacific Prime's upscale atmosphere complements dishes such as maine lobster and loch duart scottish salmon.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
At Valley Forge Dance students learn dance techniques and skills during classes and workshops—but they'll also benefit from the extensive dance experience of owner Maria Jacobs. A lifelong dancer, Jacobs has performed in The Nutcracker more than 60 times and studied dance in London, Denmark, and Russia. At her interactive school, she leads fledgling ballerinas, tap dancers, and non-destructive break dancers through dynamic classes, helping them build confidence, strength, and agility.
The official school of Ballet 180, Studio 180 offers summer camps and classes to students of all ages, including those as young as two. Instructors aim to provide personalized attention, emphasizing individual growth. In addition to dance classes that range from hip hop to jazz to ballet, Studio 180 also offers yoga courses led by certified teachers.