Regular attendees of improv shows are likely to be familiar with some facets of Bring Your Own Improv's interactive set?the cast asks viewers to applaud for outstanding scenes, for instance, and to shout out suggestions. But they may be surprised to find that anyone in the crowd can become a member of the troupe, taking the stage to act out impromptu sketches. Besides skits directly involving onlookers, the regular cast plays their way through games which may require the actors to come up with elaborate excuses to trick a fictional boss, or to perform a hoedown song with nary an inspirational barn in sight.
Opened in 1924, Park Theatre was a major hub of Cranston's cultural scene for nearly 80 years. But in 2002, the projectors were shut off, the doors were locked, and the silver screens were melted down for cutlery. That closure was not to last, however. In 2009, Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung oversaw the grand re-opening, which introduced brand-new features such as a deeper stage, nearly 1,000 plush red seats, and the Stage Door Restaurant and Lounge.
It’s the making of a hit movie. Young Jeff Allen of Providence—untrained in the world of movement, but driven by desire—starts attending social dances. It's there he learns dances such as the jitterbug, cha-cha, and lindy, and develops a taste for competition. Soon, he's winning every dance contest he enters, whether the genre is disco, ballroom, or argentine tango.
Channeling his penchant for victory into a teaching career, the self-taught hoofer transformed into an acclaimed teacher and coach, racking up more than 30 National Dance Council of America Top Teacher Awards, and holding membership credentials with the North American Dance Teachers Association. At his studio, he keeps a packed schedule, teaching west coast swing dancing, mambo, and even Dancing Dirty–style moves. For those who can't make their ways to Cranston, Jeff has produced a slew of instructional books and DVDs, including The Complete Idiots' Guide to Ballroom Dancing and The Complete Guide to Slow Dancing.
Instead of using dance as a means to feed competitive spirits, Busy Bodies Studio teaches students of all ages and skill levels how to use movement-based arts as a means of self-expression and self-improvement. The instructors lead lessons for children, teenagers, or adults that explore a range of dance styles, including everything from ballet and ballroom to hip-hop and tap. Regardless of the particular style that each class covers, every lesson shares the common goal of creating an inviting, non-competitive atmosphere for attendees and any ghosts just observing. This atmosphere helps put students at ease, allowing them to enjoy their experience while they become more physically fit and develop a greater appreciation for dance in general.
During dance lessons as a child, Jean DeLuca took notes. While most students just memorized the choreography, DeLuca also memorized the style of her instructors. She noticed their teaching methods stayed the same no matter who they interacted with. DeLuca takes a different approach at her studio, Jean DeLuca Dance Studio. She and her staff believe that everyone learns a different way, so they take the time to get to know each student in order to make their lessons both effective and fun. Children as young as 2 years old learn dance steps in beginning ballet and tap classes, and older students educate their feet in combination classes that cover jazz, hip-hop, and other disciplines.
In 2006, friends Mike and Courtney—independent researcher for the historical society and ghost tour guide, respectively—drew up a unique business plan to spook Providence locals and tourists alike with fact-based ghost tours. Their combined interests in the paranormal and knack for research led them to pillage the minds of staff members and records at the Providence Historical Society, the public library, and the Rhode Island State Archives for accounts of abnormal and violent events. They dug through old files and microforms of oft-forgotten morbid events—including murders, suicides, and fires—gathering facts to present objective stories about real people. Once they’d crammed their skeptical minds with grim and gloomy facts, the tours were ready to begin. Today, these truthful and skeptical accounts of paranormal activity chill the spines of tourists and terrified library books as guides lead walking tours, lit by lantern, through centuries-old Providence streets. Since its inception, Providence Ghost Tour has been counted among TripAdvisor's top 10 ghost tours in America, and was featured on an overnight paranormal investigation with Syfy's Ghost Hunters frontmen, Brian Harnois and Keith Johnson.