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.
In Radio & Juliet, artistic media and historical conventions cross-pollinate on stage as the themes of Shakespeare and the music of Radiohead coalesce into a stark framework for Ballet Maribor’s minimalist forms. Dancers exploit the sense of alienation that permeates singer Thom Yorke’s voice to full effect, spinning in counter-clockwise pirouettes to symbolize their defiance of the passage of time. In swapping the Bard’s dramatic romance for Blue Tooth shades of melancholy, the production taps into an expression of longing attraction that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called “white hot in a way that Shakespeare could never have imagined.” Main-floor seats in the lavish, gold-swathed Palace Theatre, which was designed in the 1930s to mimic the Palace of Versailles, open up unobstructed views of the action.
Formed in the glory days of heavy metal, Queensrÿche rocks audiences with songs that reveal the fierce polish of 30 years of evolving artistry. The band's distinctive mix of prog rock, metal, and subliminal messaging rocketed their Empire album up the charts, launching hits such as "Silent Lucidity," "Jet City Woman," and "Best I Can." Normally reserved only for members of Queensrÿche's fan club, a backstage meet-and-greet lets a small group of the devoted make personal connections with the four lords of loudness, shaking their lightning-fast hands and comparing headbanging techniques. With experience opening for Nickelback and Staind, opening band The Fifth's wailing guitars rally fist pumps and head thrashes as raging as a riverbed full of angry bulls.
The Maennerchor—which means "men's chorus" and is the shortest word in the German language—was established as a private German singing club in 1848 and hasn't changed a thing since, other than knocking down a poorly placed wall in 1989. Men, women, and children proud of their common heritage with Heidi Klum still gather to sing drinking songs from the fatherland, wear festive rawhide shorts, file paperwork, and dine on delicious German essen und trinken at Zum Rathskeller, the Maennerchor's traditional cellar restaurant, which was constructed by authentic German crafts-gnomes and exudes a cuckoo-clocked, Old World atmosphere. Der menu is packed with classic Deutscher dishes such as potato pancakes served with apple sauce ($6.90), schnitzel with potato salad ($12.90), and sauerbraten ($15.90), which comes with braised cabbage and pairs well with Warsteiner lager ($3.50 a glass, $9.75 a pitcher). And ask about the Rathskeller's wildly popular sauerkraut balls; they go really well with the bratwurst ($10.90), for some reason.
Belly dancing is an art form recognized for its health benefits no matter what the age, size, or shape of the dancer. Three lessons will teach newbies to incorporate their entire body in the dance and not just bob their head to the beat like an old desktop computer floating in a kiddie pool. Belly dancing strengthens, tones, provides a low-impact aerobic workout, and can relieve back pain. Even pregnant women are encouraged to take classes, as the dance has become an alternative Lamaze class, making baby deliveries and seducing the pool boy much easier.
Musician Matt Steidle wears many hats: composer, performer, and teacher. As the owner of Stylie Studio, he has the chance to exercise all three. As a composer, he creates tunes for commercials or helps others record and stylize their own songs. As a performer, Matt soundtracks everything from weddings to birthday parties with ballads dating as far back as the '60s all the way to today's hits. And as a teacher, he passes on his expertise in guitar, electric bass, piano, and music theory to the next generation of artists.